Tuesday, November 20, 2012
In a departure of the Armand Gamache mysteries, this novel doesn't take place in the area of Three Pines where most of his mysteries are centered. Instead, the monastery is in a wilderness area of Quebec.
One of the monks has been murdered and a complication is that the monks have taken a vow of silence, except for when they do their chanting. This chanting has been recorded and brought a welcome income to the monastery.
Armand and Jean-Guy meet the leader of the community and he shows them the body. It's a good example of a locked room mystery where all of the suspects are in this wilderness area and one of them must be the killer.
Two other stories are interwoven into the mystery. Jean-Guy is in love with Armand's daughter, Annie and plans on asking Armand for her hand. Also Chief Superintendent Francoeur arrives at the scene. He is a rival of Gamache and seems intent on causing harm to Gamache's career.
Much of the story after Francoeur's arrival comes from his antagonism for Gamache and Jean-Guy's defense of his future father-in-law.
This novel is very well done and one of the few books I've read where loyalty and brotherhood take such a role. The cast of characters are well developed and the author does a fine job describing the monastic life and how that was changed when the public learned of the monk's Gregorian chants.