By Louise Penny
Minotaur Books, 2017, 391 pages, Mystery
When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious, then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead. From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. When the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.
Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache's own conscience is standing in judgment.
Louise Penny has won numerous awards for her writing, and after reading this latest book in her popular detective series, I can see why. I liked that this book had the appeal of a cozy mystery (it’s set in a small town in Quebec populated with quirky side characters), but it deals with current issues ripped from the headlines. I also liked how the story started from the end, and went backwards gradually while still never giving away who the guilty parties were.
I listened to the audio version of this book, and I thought the narrator did an excellent job of distinguishing each character. This is a pretty solid mystery with a few twists and turns on the genre. Louise Penny reads like a modern-day Agatha Christie or P.D. James, and she shouldn’t be missed!