Thursday, December 23, 2010
"A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise...where to plant vines." Frank Lloyd Wright
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is recovering from injuries from a prior case, the specifics are not fully described as the story begins. He's currently spending time in Quebec City, where he's doing research at one of his favorite spots, the Literary and Historical Society.
As he walks his dog and approaches the society on a frigid winter morning, he finds police investigating the murder of Augustin Renaud. We later learn that Renaud has for years, spent most of his time looking for the burial spot of Quebec's founder, Champlain.
Gamache is asked to help in the investigation and prevent possible tensions from arising between the English and French speaking communities.
At the same time, he's getting messages from the community of "Three Pines" where he helped prove that his friend, Oliver, was guilty of murder. Oliver's partner doesn't believe that Oliver is guilty and Gamache sends Jean-Guy Beauvoir to reconstruct the murder investigation and see what he finds.
As the story continues, Gamache has flashbacks to his case that went wrong. One of his men, and friends, Agent Paul Morin, was abducted and there were questions about who abducted him and what their intentions were. This portion of the novel is sometimes confusing because there is no delineation between the other parts of the story and if the reader isn't careful they can miss that Gamache is now thinking about past events.
Louise Penny is a multiple award winner and has great talent. In this work she has written a literary novel with a unique plot. Her characters stand out in their actions, their thoughts and beliefs. Gamache is the modern Hercule Poirot.
Readers will again enjoy her story and the history of Quebec that is intermingled within the novel's action.
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