After the horrendous shoot-out that nearly destroyed Armand, Jean-Guy and Isabelle, which resulted in Armand’s politically motivated demotion, this book tells a more straightforward story. A young pregnant wife has gone missing. Her frantic father blames her abusive husband. With the high drama of catastrophic winter weather as a backdrop, the young woman’s body is eventually found. It seems like a slam dunk but the trial judge reluctantly disallows evidence, allowing the repulsive husband to walk. This sets in motion a chain of events that introduce other potential perpetrators and in classic whodunnit style the real perp turns out to be the person you least expect (or almost, because astute readers will have a bit of an inkling). The wisdom and humanity of Gamache is again on display as well as the rudeness of Ruth, the mad poet who walks around with her equally rude duck. The bane that is Twitter gets a run (funny scene in bistro where 2 Three Piners are tweeting each other, thus becoming twats). Our resident painter gets bad crits for her latest work and is also tweeted at ...etc. All our favourite stuff. Much as I love Louise Penny I do wish she would use fewer staccato sentences. They can become irritating. The new boss mamma of the Surete seems to be a bad political animal, but - no. No spoilers. May Gamache live forever.
In waiting for the latest offering of Louise Penny, I wondered if I would be still taken by the method, the style, the characters ... it didn’t take long to discover this story would offer so much more.
I confess, I was greedy in reading. I wanted to arrive at the end to see how everything would end, I missed clues, I skimmed the short phrases, and then had to retrace my steps.
Louise Penny, thank you. There are some beautiful turn of phrases ... ‘he curled around his heart’ ... the plot doesn’t have twists and turn as much as it stands on a wide field, surrounded by a stream and flora and fauna, and focusses our attention on all that is before us. Everything comes to life, with unexpected vividness. Invites patience and observance of how the light glints on, off, through everything.
This story arc has continued from Still Life and I’m not sure how it will continue; does it matter? They are worth an extensive gaze, a gentle re-read, more pleasure in this path through the fields.
As always Louise Penny has written a perfect murder mystery and continued the compelling story of Gamache and Three Pines. I love every word she writes and wait impatiently for another one next year. Sigh...