This is the book that follows, A Long Way Home, in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series. This book is based in the fictional town of Three Pines, which has no place on a map and only found by those who stumble upon it. The town, especially in this novel, is just as much a character as the people in the story.
It starts with Laurent LePage, a 9 year old boy who is frequently crying wolf, barging into the Bistro to tell everyone that there is a gun as big as the building in the forest. He then proceeds to try to get Gamache to come and see it. Gamache then listens to his story, and drives him home to his parents. Unknown to Gamache, that this time Laurent was actually telling the truth. And the town forest, as in some of the novels prior, is harbouring a BIG secret.
A separate key element to this story is the play that the town people are going to be performing, which unbeknownst to the people involved, was written by a notorious serial killer. When this fact is exposed, Gamache and the plethora of people involved are upset. With people dropping out of the play, the director Antoinette, is not a happy camper!
This novel takes a sharp curve when Laurent LePage was found dead in a ditch with his bike, close to his family home. It appears that Laurent’s death was purely an accident… But it wasn’t. This is where the wild chase starts.
What I loved about this novel compared to the others was it was an absolute adrenaline rush to the end. It involved multiple murders, CSIS agents, and mass destruction weapons. The last 40-50 pages of it I had no idea how it was going to resolve.
The great thing about Louise Penny is she knows how to make a mystery appeal to many people. The blend of art, food, AND a murder investigation is not something you would typically call beautiful. But her work is supremely beautiful storytelling.
I also feel the need to mention in this novel that my favourite character in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series is Ruth. In this novel, we learn more about her, and her past life in Three Pines. Ruth Zardo being a world renowned poet, is the snarkiest and spunkiest of the characters. Her one-liners are absolutely unforgettable and she has a pet duck.
Here’s an example of her snark when being questioned by Gamache in this novel:
“You must have suspected.”
“That they were building the biggest goddamned missile launcher this side of the River Jordan? Even I’m not that nuts. Who thinks that?”
“What did you think?” he asked.
She exhaled heavily, but did speak.
Gamache got up, and walked away.
“Where’re you going, shithead?”
Anywho, as par for the course, this post doesn’t contain any spoilers. Just a pre-amble to hopefully convince you that this book was worth reading!
I’m currently reading Jane Eyre for the first time and discussing that next. Happy reading friends!