The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #10) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

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.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

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.

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A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #7) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: August 30, 3011

“Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

Review – 

Another crime has been committed in Three Pines and the body winds up in the garden of Clara Morrow, no less.

It happens at a reception held at Clara’s house the evening after the solo showing of her art work. The dead woman is someone from Clara’s long ago past, a best friend who was really a jealous vindictive person. Clara is never under serious suspicion because there are too many other people who had more motive to get rid of the victim.

Along side of the murder story, we learn that Inspector Beauvoir is leaning heavily on pain killers to function while his body still heals from the shooting six months earlier. We also find out that he is resentful of the Chief Inspector for leaving him during the gun fight at the vacant warehouse. If he was thinking clearly he would realize that the Chief Inspector saved his life and then went on to capture one of the terrorists and then get shot too. Beauvoir has also separated/divorced his wife and now is wanting to approach Annie, the Chief Inspector’s daughter, because he has had a crush on her for years.

The crime is solved and all is well. The Chief Inspector orders Beauvoir to get counseling and at the end of the story Beauvoir calls Annie, but we are left with our imaginations as to their conservation. (I forgot to mention that Annie and her husband, David, are having trouble and are separating)

Five stars *****

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Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: September 28, 2010

It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society— where an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?

Although he is supposed to be on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smouldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he is receiving disquieting letters from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. ‘It doesn’t make sense,’ Olivier’s partner writes every day. ‘He didn’t do it, you know.’ As past and present collide in this novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead.

 

Review –

There are actually three story lines going on in this installment of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and make for a roller coaster of a ride.

The Chief Inspector is in Quebec City on leave recuperating from a horrific event where agents he knew were killed, including one that we met in The Brutal Telling, Agent Moran. He was young, engaged, red-headed and could play the fiddle and Gamache left very closed to him. The author uses flashbacks in order for us to see how the kidnapping and murders occurred and it is heart wrenching. (I cried, of course).

The second story line is the murder in the  basement of the Literary and Historical Society of a man obsessed with finding the body of the Father of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain. 

And the final story line is a revisit to the murder in Three Pines that was told in The Brutal Telling. Gamache  is receiving disquieting letters from the Gabri in the  village of Three Pines where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. “It doesn’t make sense,” Olivier’s partner writes every day. “He didn’t do it, you know.”

As past and present collide in this astonishing novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead.

All I can say is that this is the best of the series so far and if I could give it 10 stars, I would. It is a phenomenal piece of writing.

Five Stars *****

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The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #5) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: September 22, 2009

Chaos is coming, old son.
With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.
No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?
As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures— from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it—lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.
Review –
The plot is a complex blend of mystery, history, greed, art, and lies, yet even with all its complexity, its never overly complicated. It’s quite cleverly constructed, and though some reviewers compare Penny to Agatha Christie, with all due respect to Ms. Christie, and I do love her books, Penny’s books reach further than Christie’s. Penny’s books explore so much more than just the solving of a murder. The Brutal Telling, especially, explores the broader themes that give rise to a violent and desperate act like murder.
 I wondered how long it would take the author, Louise Penny, to have a villager from Three Pines, accused and convicted of a murder and that’s exactly what she did in The Brutal Telling.
We discover that one of the owners and caretakers of the Bistro and Bed and Breakfast is not as good a person from what shows on the outside. He has been greedy most of his life and has lied to everyone, even his partner.
We never find out the name of the hermit or how he came to be in the cabin full of treasures in the woods, or where the treasures came from. There are too many unanswered questions.  I believe the author will tell us in another installment of this series the answers t those and other questions, like-did Chief Inspector Armand Gamache put the right man behind bars.  I think not.
Five stars *****
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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: May 1, 2007

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces–and this series–with power, ingenuity, and charm.

Review- 

 I stumbled upon this series one day when the most recent book was offered as a choice of the day on one site that I follow. It sounded like something I’d like but I thought maybe I should start at the beginning of the series so I did.

The village of Three Pines  in Quebec is the  quaint picturesque  home to people who have been there for generators as well as newcomers. There is a Commons area, a small business district and shop keepers, bakers,bistro owners and a B&B that serves brunch.

Jane Neal was an elderly retired school teacher who hadn’t an enemy in the world, or so everyone in the village thought. She was a warm generous person who also liked to paint (like an artist) but had never shown anyone her work until one day when she decided to enter one painting into a competition. At first everyone thought is was horrible and childish but the more they  studied it the more they came to like it.  Any way long story short, it’s because of this painting that she is killed, although we don’t know that at first.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is in his mid 50’s. Married to Reine-Marie Gamache. They have a daughter named Annie and a son named Daniel. He is  called in from Montreal and with help from the towns people the mystery is solved. He has a reputation for being kind and always doing the right thing and it’s that very fact that hurt his career the most. We don’t know the whole story but we know that he will go no higher in rank because of a past case. His co-workers, for the most part, idolize him.

I truly loved this story and it’s characters and I was blessed to have the audio version so I didn’t have to stumble across all the French names. The narrator does a fantastic job and I can’t wait to chase down the next book in the series.

If you can’t find an audio version and read a print or e-book form, there is a pronunciation guide that can be found at http://www.louisepenny.com/

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