Published: August 26, 2014
Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. “There is a balm in Gilead,” his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, “to make the wounded whole.”
While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. “There’s power enough in Heaven,” he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, “to cure a sin-sick soul.” And then he gets up. And joins her.
Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.
I thought as I read this installment of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I would rate it four stars but that all changes within the last ten to fifteen minutes of the story. I had the audio version and it allows me to see how much of a chapter I have listened to or how much is left, it’s just one of the Audible apps’ features that I love.
Within the last minutes of the book a character from the village of Three Pines died, a character that I never really liked that much or became invested in, but when he died I cried, like big tears rolling down my face cried. It was a heart-wrenching moment and it will affect the entire village and especially the spouse, whose character I love. I applaud the author, Louise Penny, for her decision to kill off a person of the beloved village to make the series grow and expand.