Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Chief Inspector Gamache of the Surete is asked to come to Three Pines. His friend, Myrna, tells him that a friend was supposed to return to her home in Three Pines but hasn't showed up. Since her friend, Constance, is elderly, Myrna asks for Gamache's help.

Gamache finds the woman, murdered at her home in Montreal.

So far, this is a basic mystery story but Louise Penny separates herself from most other mystery writers with her intricate plotting, vivid character portrayals and intense suspense.

Gamache's rival in the Surete is Chief Superintendent Francoeur who is plotting something against Gamache. He dismantled Gamache's well thought of homicide squad and Gamache knows that Francoeur is planning something illegal.  Gamache must solve Constance's murder and stop Francoeur in whatever plot he's concating.

Constance's murder takes on a much larger importance when we learn that she is one of the famous Oulette Quintuplets. She was the last living Quint and kept her identity a secret. We learn more of the history and fame of the Qulette Quints as Gamache searches for a motive for Constance's murder.

The theme of good vs. evil is well detailed as we see the kindness and generosity of Gamache. He shows a fatherly love for a man he has mentored, Jean-Guy Beauvoir.  On the other side of the coin is Chief Superintendent Francoeur who seems to want nothing more than supreme power and riches. On top of that, he wants to have Gamache blamed for whatever crime he's hatched.

The town of Three Pines is filled with love and good camaraderie. It reminded me of Brigadoon in that Three Pines is separated from the rest of the world by high mountains and has no internet access.

As I read this excellent story, I nodded my head at the intelligence of the Edgar Award nominating committee who selected this book as a nominee for the 2013 Edgar Award for best mystery novel of the year.

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