How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

by Louise Penny

Hardcover, 2013

Call number

MYST PEN

Collection

Genres

Publication

Minotaur Books (2013), Edition: 1st, 405 pages

Description

In Three Pines Chief Inspector Armand Gamache investigates the disappearance of a woman who was once one of the most famous people in the world and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jnwelch
[How the Light Gets In] by [Louise Penny] is an exciting crescendo to a lot of story threads that have been carrying through the first eight books of this exceptional series. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his sideman Jean-Guy Beauvoir have become estranged by events, at a time when one woman has committed suicide for no apparent reason and another has been murdered, also without any logical basis. At the same time, those events seem connected to larger concerns, and Gamache is being pressured by his Machiavellian boss to leave the Surete.

Discussing this, a colleague says, "I have my pension in place, and so do you. If my bosses wanted me out that badly, I'd be gone like a shot."

"If your bosses wanted you out that badly," said Gamache, "don't you think you'd wonder why?"

For those who have missed the idyllic and secluded village of [Three Pines], existing like a Brigadoon somewhere in the woods east of Montreal, much of this entry is spent there, and its inhabitants are critical to the outcome of Gamache's digging, and to his psyche.

"Three Pines, he knew, was not immune to dreadful loss. To sorrow and pain. What Three Pines had wasn't immunity but a rare ability to heal. And that's what they offered him, and the Brunels. Space and time to heal."

As usual, there are literary and historical references to learn from. I didn't previously know of Julian of Norwich, a woman and 14th century Christian mystic, who is the originator of the saying, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well", which appears in T.S. Eliot's "Little Giddings" poem. Will all be well in this Gamache/Three Pines tale? He is up against formidable opponents, who know him and mean him no good.

"Armand Gamache had always held unfashionable beliefs. He believed that light would banish the shadows. That kindness was more powerful than cruelty, and that goodness existed, even in the most desperate places. He believed that evil had its limits. But looking at the young men and women staring at him now, who'd seen something terrible about to happen and had done nothing, Chief Inspector Gamache wondered if he could have been wrong all this time.

Maybe the darkness sometimes won. Maybe evil had no limits."

The stakes are that high in this one, with the clash of good and evil riveting, and the reader breathlessly following Gamache as he relentlessly shines light into the dark corners of a massive scheme. He can't do it alone, and he gets help from old Three Pines favorites like cantankerous poet Ruth, burningly insightful artist Clara, bookshop owner Myrna, and the B &B owning couple Gabri and Olivier. Inside the Sûreté, his disciple Inspector LaCoste helps him, as do more unlikely others. This is Penny's crowning achievement so far, a pulse-pounder that also engages the intellect. It draws together and resolves many threads, some heartbreaking, from the previous novels. The night I finished it, I got home late, because I got off the train and had to sit there at the El platform, reading until I was done. This one should burnish her reputation, and attract even more fans to the series.
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LibraryThing member tututhefirst
Louise Penny is so good that I now get scared when she publishes a new book in this series. I find myself worrying that at last she may have stumbled and, as is the case with so many writers of series, she might be losing her touch. FEAR NOT. The latest installment of the exciting, fascinating, and spectacular Chief Inspector Gamache series, How the Light Gets in, is every bit as good as any of the early entries. In fact, in my humble opinion, it's the best one yet. Penny just keeps getting better.

At the end of the previous book The Beautiful Mystery, the reader could be excused for thinking that poor Armand was probably on his way out. Certainly, the carefully built relationships with his team were in shreds, his family devastated, his reputation crumbling. How the Light Gets In picks right up with those issues and expands them. Gamache is actually questioning his own abilities. Has he become impotent against the evil forces at large in his world? Can he no longer be sure that his homicide unit is the best in the country? Do his friends and family still respect him? Will he ever find the answers to the current mystery?

Called to the village of Three Pines to help friends cope with a mysterious death, Armand Gamache soon finds himself involved in another of Penny's twisted plots. Along the way, he continues to act as if none of his troubles exist: he is polite, urbane, studious, thoughtful, and ever the gentleman, all the while he is grieving for his lost friend Jean Guy Beauvoir, his lost reputation, and his unit's lost agents (who have been sent elsewhere in the bureaucracy of the Surète and force fed a story of his demise and degradation.) Gamache is introspective, respectful of everyone he investigates, and takes his time carefully putting all the puzzle pieces together, always aware of when a piece is missing.

Penny does an exquisite job of contrasting goodness with evil, black with white, dark with light and hope with despair. Just when the reader is ready to dissolve into overwhelming grief at the end of a beloved character or the dashing of a hope, Penny takes a turn in the road to lead the story down another path.

This is storytelling at its best.

These are characters so real one expects to walk into a bar or library and find them waiting to share a story or a drink.

Three Pines is a village so well described that when the MMA rail company's runaway trains crashed, exploded and burned the town of Lac-Meguntic in the eastern suburbs of Quebec last month, I immediately saw in those headlines the village of Three Pines going up in flames.

How the Light Gets In is so well written that I had to force myself to hide the book when I finished so I didn't immediately turn back to the beginning to start reading it again. And I will read it again, and again.
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LibraryThing member lit_chick
Talk about saving the best for the last! Louise Penny cements her reputation as master storyteller in this conclusion to her Three Pines series.

When the elderly Constance Pineault, who had planned to spend Christmas in Three Pines, is found murdered in her Montreal home, it is Myrna Landers who discloses to a stunned Chief Inspector Armand Gamache that Constance was the last of the Ouellet Quintuplets. The Sûreté’s investigation meanders meticulously through the history of the Quints: their early years; separation from their parents; exploitation by their doctor; and profiteering by a government which has millions of reasons to commercialize the lives of the little girls. Running parallel to the murder investigation, is the riveting tale of the longstanding enmity surrounding Gamache and his superiors at the Sûreté, among them Chief Superintendent Sylvan Francoeur. Gamache has long suspected corruption at the Sûreté, but what will he discover in this final installment? More to the point, what will he be able to prove? And what does a woman falling to her death from a Montreal bridge have to do with the gross misconduct of public officials? The Chief Inspector’s Homicide Department has all but been destroyed by Francoeur: Jean-Guy Beauvoir is about to fall off the edge, and Agent Nichol has been relegated to a dusty basement. Can the team survive?

I’m going to miss this series: I love idyllic little villages, good writing, good mystery, and characters I can invest in. How the Light Gets In is especially endeared to me because I think it the best of the nine. Fabulously done, Louise Penny. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member brenzi
Well then…series over I guess. All the loose ends are tied up. Nothing left to do or places to go I presume. Ahh, that Louise Penny is such a sly one, isn’t she? Leading us to believe that was the end of the road for the Chief Inspector, Isabelle Lacoste, Jean Guy, and the whole gang from Three Pines? Giving us just a slight glimmer of hope at the end.

This latest volume is the best yet in what has been an excellent series. All our favorite characters make an appearance and there are actually two mysteries to solve. The first involves a famous set of Canadian quintuplets (no not that set). The last surviving quint has been found dead and Gamasche has been asked to look into the suspicious circumstances. The bigger mystery has been one that has developed through the last few books and it’s a doozy involving Gamasche’s nemesis Sylvain Francoeur, head of the Surete and the bad guys he’s surrounded himself with.

But the real star here is Penny’s pen, writing that is so superior to what I’ve come to expect from a mystery series. She’s always good, but this volume is exceptional, with tight prose and a last hundred pages of such relentless suspense that I found my heart racing as the pages virtually turned themselves. Fans have already lined up for it and I’m sure this will be another award winner. Now the wait begins…for the next volume which, if she adheres to past habit, will be out next August. And I will be impatiently waiting to find out what the next chapter in Gamasche’s life will be.
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LibraryThing member mckait
How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny is the most recent offering in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series. It takes place in the well loved village of Three Pines, that extraordinary village that appears on no map, and can only be found by those who are meant to be there. Of course the reasons for arriving in Three Pines are not always good, and sometimes, the visits end badly. This just adds to its charm.

We meet most the usual characters once again in How The Light Gets In, including Rosa. The village is, as we so often find it filled with snow and cold, and this time the season of Christmas has nearly arrived. Of course holidays mean nothing to most criminals, and so it is again. We are, as always, drawn into the story softly and gently and by the time we near the end of this story we become breathless. But isn't that usually the way it is in Three Pines?

There isn't much I am willing to share, as this is an advanced copy and most won't have it in their hands for a little while yet. My purpose is to assure you that this is in my opinion the very best of the books, so far. I have said that before, but I mean it each and every time. You will not be disappointed. The twists and turns and magic of Three Pines have once again woven a tale worth telling, and one well worth reading.

I highly recommend this to readers of mysteries and readers who love good characters, and touching stories. In fact, I recommend Louise Penny and all of her books to all of my friends and patrons who visit the library where I work. I now recommend that you order this right away, you won't want to miss it. If you haven't read Any of the other Chief Inspector Gamache Novels, now is a good time to start!
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LibraryThing member bell7
At the end of the last book, Jean Guy Beauvoir walked away from Inspector Gamache to follow after his addictions and Chief Superintendent Sylvain Francour. As the Christmas season gets closer, Gamache's department has been completely decimated and only Isabel Lacoste is left standing with him. Meanwhile, Myrna Landers calls from Three Pines when a friend of hers goes missing.

I finished this book two days ago, but just couldn't bring myself to review it right away. This was partly because I didn't want to "finish" the book and move on like I sometimes do, and partly because I just couldn't think of a way to share my reactions without spoilers. Now, I think I'm ready to try to do both. This series has been incredible in the way I've come to know and care about these characters almost as much as friends. The end of The Beautiful Mystery left me incredibly unsettled (should books be getting these reactions out of me?), and I couldn't wait to pick this up and find out what would happen next. Many of the storylines that have been threaded through previous books come to a head in this one, in a way I found incredibly satisfying. After reading only three books this month, I was a little afraid my book funk would make me overly critical of one of my favorite series, but I needn't have worried. I gobbled it up in three days, became invested even when I'd already figured out part of the solution, and found myself swinging from emotional extremes of fear and joy. I wasn't sure she could top Bury Your Dead for my all-time favorite in the series, but I do believe Louise Penny has done it with this one.
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LibraryThing member SharonR53
I would give this book 10 stars or more if I could. When I was approved for the egalley, being the mature professional librarian that I am, I went up to one of my coworkers who also reads the series and basically said “Nya! Nya! I got to read the book early”. That is the level of devotion that this entire series inspires in its readers.
After the emotional ending of the previous book, I was prepared for this one to be heavy duty but I had no idea how much this emotion this book would evoke. I literally sat on my couch for hours barely able to take a breath because I was so caught up into the story. Looking back at the previous books, one can see all of the clues leading up to the finish of this book but it is absolutely stunning to see how they all come together.
When this book begins, Gamache is seemingly hanging on by a thread. His agents have been scattered all through the department and he has a group of disrespectful yahoos working for him. But his enemies haven't won the war, only the first skirmish. Gamache still has some fight left in him and he has friends in powerful places. As in all of Ms. Penny's books, there are side stories that seem to have no reflection on the main plot but everything, I mean everything is important!
Inspector Gamache gets involved in the disappearance of a woman who had visited Three Pines and planned to return but never showed up. As he digs deeper into her life, he discovers facts about her life that will surprise all who knew her. Readers over a certain age will remember the actual situation that inspired this story line and what a huge story it was in its day.
Anyone who has followed this series will be crazy while reading this book, so just leave them alone and be prepared for a lot of emotion after they are done. While one part of Gamache’s life is resolved, the ending opens up a lot of questions about what the future holds for Gamache and all of us loyal readers!
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LibraryThing member dianaleez
There's a good reason that Louise Penny has a legion of devoted readers – she creates likeable characters and she has even created an idyllic village to house these paragons. But Penny's success comes, not from the perfection of her creations, but rather, from their imperfections.

Three Pines is a tiny village lost in the wilds of Quebec, difficult if not impossible to find by map. It offers an outstanding bistro, a B&B, a new/used bookstore, an abandoned school; its magic lies in the fact that it's inhabited by the requisite Penny villagers. They can be kind and loving, gentle and nourishing; they can also be venial and cruel, selfish and even dangerous.

And it was to Three Pines that Armand Gamache, head of the famed Surete du Quebec, was called to investigate a murder in the initial book of the series. This reader has come to know and sometimes like the residents; and to wish at times that the village could be located by GPS. But it is the clever, kind, and oh-so-human Gamache that lies at the heart of the novels. Simply put, Gamache believes in and battles evil. There was that pesky snake in Eden and Gamache, who is quick to appreciate the goodness of others, is also quick to discover their fault lines.

Through the course of the novels, Gamache is often called to Three Pines to ferret out evil doers. But the greatest threat he and his carefully selected team face comes from outside the village boundaries. Members of his team are killed in the line of duty, Gamache and his closest confederate are injured and morale is on a downward spiral.
This thread of threat runs through the last several books. Gamache continues to stand for all that is fair and good and reasonable. But he is threatened by a nearby corruption.

And thus Penny sets up the battle between Good and Evil that is addressed in 'How the Light Gets In.' Once more Gamache is called to Three Pines; he's asked to help locate the missing friend of the bookstore owner. Her identity and possible demise provide one thread of the novel. The other thread is the climax of the battle that Gamache has so long been facing – the forces who would harm Gamache and those he has sworn to protect are once again on the prowl.

This is the novel that Penny's faithful have been awaiting. It can be read as an independent offering, but it will have far more power and authority if read as part of the series.

(A review copy was provided by the publisher.))
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LibraryThing member cathyskye
As an enthusiast of Louise Penny's writing since her first book, Still Life, I love her continuing story of characters I have grown to know and love like they are my own family. As in real life, these books are not neatly tied up by the last page. One person's story may be woven into a narrative and then not be spoken of until two or three books later. I can see how this would frustrate some readers, but I love the world and the characters Penny has created so much that I am willing to follow wherever she leads. I have come to consider this series as a thousand-page (plus) novel with each book as a chapter. Seen in that light, it is easy to see why I recommend anyone who wants to read these books to read them in order. Read out of sequence, too much context and texture is lost. Would you read a book by choosing chapters at random?

The mystery concerning Myrna's missing friend is a highlight of the book, and I enjoyed how Penny wove a very important part of Canadian history into that story line. However, as much as I love How the Light Gets In, I did feel that there were a couple of holes in the plot. The logistics of setting up highly sophisticated computer terminals in Three Pines didn't quite ring true, and the plot Gamache uncovers concerning some highly placed government officials had my suspension bridge of disbelief strained almost to the point of collapse. Fortunately, I don't read these books for their unwavering technical exactitude. I read them for the luminous quality of Penny's writing, of the multi-faceted characters she has created, and for all the emotions her stories and her characters evoke within me.

If you're the type of reader who does not believe that-- deep down in the very heart of things-- good exists in the world and within the hearts of humankind, you may not enjoy these books. (There's absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way because there certainly seems to be more proof to the contrary.) How the Light Gets In-- and every other book in this marvelous series-- is about a very eclectic group of people who are at one and the same time the very worst and the very best that they can be. Throughout this series, readers get to watch as each character works at conquering his demons, and it is a process which is both wonderful to read and ultimately life affirming. I eagerly await Louise Penny's next book.
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LibraryThing member cbl_tn
When Myrna Landers' friend fails to arrive in Three Pines for Christmas as expected, Myrna naturally turns to another friend for assistance – Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté. Gamache's homicide department is barely functioning since, except for Isabelle Lacoste, his trusted personnel have been transferred to other departments. Corruption is spreading inside the Sûreté, and Gamache knows that a confrontation with those at its source is imminent. Nevertheless, he agrees to look for Myrna's missing friend even though the case, if there is one, is outside his jurisdiction. It's fitting that these events take place as the winter solstice approaches, when the days are at their shortest and the darkness of night is at its longest.

Louise Penny's novels are not typical whodunnits or police procedurals. They're a study of good and evil, light and dark, kindness and cruelty. Gamache explores the darkest parts of the human soul in his daily routine, yet he is able to keep the darkness from infesting his own soul by respecting life, keeping his loved ones close, and treating others with kindness.

Since the last book in the series was set away from Three Pines, it felt like a homecoming to be back among its familiar characters, homes, and businesses. Even though (or perhaps because) many of the residents have been suspects in previous cases, the bond of friendship formed between Gamache and the villagers is real and deep. The village gives him the strength to face the events that are coming to a head.

Three Pines, he knew, was not immune to dreadful loss. To sorrow and pain. What Three Pines had wasn't immunity but a rare ability to heal. And that's what they offered him... Space and time to heal.

And comfort.

But, like peace, comfort didn't come from hiding away or running away. Comfort first demanded courage.


This is a book long-time fans have been waiting for. However, it's not a stand-alone. While each book in the series has a self-contained criminal investigation, each book also contributes to a larger story arc that Penny has plotted as carefully as each individual novel. The series needs to be read in order to get its full benefit.
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LibraryThing member porch_reader
This is the 9th book in the Three Pines/Inspector Gamache series, and Louise Penny is at her finest. She takes us back to Three Pines and all of our favorite characters there. (Ruth, especially, is at her sarcastic best in this book.) Gamache is called to solve the murder of one of Myrna's friends, Constance, who turns out to be someone other than she appeared. This part of the book is interesting and well done, but Gamache is also dealing with the larger issue of corruption in the Surete, and Penny deftly weaves together threads from previous books as this mystery comes to a head as well. Penny continues to provide a tight plot, excellent writing, and characters that I feel like I know. If you are a fan of the series, this one won't disappoint.… (more)
LibraryThing member Jim53
How the Light gets In continues the story of Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the homicide squad in the Surete of Quebec, along with many other characters who have become very familiar over the course of this series. Events are coming to a head in the ongoing behind-the-scenes battle between Gamache and his superiors, who wish to discredit him and force him out. His former lead detective, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, has rejected Gamache and joined the organization of his antagonist.

Gamache receives a request to contact Myrna Landers, one of his good friends in the rustic village of Three Pines. A friend of Myrna's, who visited her before Christmas, had planned to come again for the holidays, but has not shown up. Gamache visits the woman's home in Montreal and finds her dead. While the murder has
occurred outside his jurisdiction, his friend whose case it would be asks him to take over. Gamache discovers that the murdered woman was the last of the Ouellet quintuplets, the famous first surviving set of five siblings of one birth. (The story is based loosely on the story of the Dionne quints; Penny makes a point of saying that she did not research their story because she wanted to create the story she needed for her own quints.) Gamache researches the lives of the quints while also marshalling the forces of good against the horrors being attempted by his boss and his cronies.

There is a definite apocalyptic feel to much of the book. There is no question but that a major catastrophe is coming and must be averted. There is a race against the clock to uncover the identities and intentions of the evildoers before they can put their plans into motion.

There is much to love about this book. For one thing, the cover is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Penny's writing has continued to improve over the last few novels. Her affection for her characters is evident, and they continue to earn it. Gamache is still a bit too good to be true, but we see him more doubtful and worried in several situations, less assured than he has often been.

It was great to see Yvette Nichol again, after she was absent for a few volumes, and her MacGyvering is crucial to the solution. It was wonderful to see a slightly expanded role for Ruth Zardo; we see a bit more of her history, and her insights help us, as well as the characters, see some of what's going on. Penny keeps the schedule tight and the tension high, and gives several characters a chance to shine.

I had one quibble with the ending, but it's nowhere enough to dampen my enthusiasm overall, and of course mentioning specifics would be spoilerific. If you haven't yet visited Three Pines, I strongly suggest you head that way.
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LibraryThing member VivienneR
Outstanding! The entire series has been excellent but this one is the best yet. A few storylines were wrapped up but not without several bitten nails and a riveting climax. Penny has created fictional versions of a couple of big stories from Quebec, the Dionne quintuplets and the deterioration of bridges, that form the backbone of this novel of political and moral corruption.

There are always snippets of information sprinkled like jewels in Penny's novels, this time the quote from Julian of Norwich, 14th century Christian mystic "All shall be well". It pleases me that her description of snow is always kind. Complaints about snow are tiresome, while the actual element can be enjoyed, or at the very least accepted, as it is in Three Pines.

The title from the lyrics of Leonard Cohen's song Anthem, reminds the reader that all is not lost. I could hear his beautiful voice singing in the background throughout.

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in
-- Leonard Cohen


If you plan on reading Louise Penny, this is not the book to start with. Although each novel has its own investigation, Penny develops the story arc and characters over the series.
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LibraryThing member nyiper
I absolutely loved this latest Inspector Gamache novel. I have read all of them in order and I just feel sorry for people who come into the series somewhere along the way, even though each book can tell a story all on its own. Louise Penny has such a talent for hanging on to a scene with a hand gesture, a word, an expression. This latest book was a reward for the story that has been developing over several books.… (more)
LibraryThing member MichealFraser
I must say this completely captured me from the first page. It's the feeling you get that makes reading (and by extension selling) books one of the most sublime experiences in this life. You get these gems scattered throughout the year and when they come along they are truly the stuff that dreams are made on.

The central story is of the disappearance and murder of an old woman which, unravelled layer by layer, becomes one of those fascinating mysteries that keep you glued to the book. But add to that the almost painful tension of the events surrounding the investigation, that of the plot to destroy Chief Inspector Gamache from inside the Surete de Quebec by the head of the police no less, had my heart racing at times. I was actually anxious much of the time which is masterful on the part of Louise Penny. But I should have had more faith in the Chief Inspector, known from past experience.

"Armand Gamache had always held unfashionable beliefs. He believed that light would banish the shadows. That kindness was more powerful that cruelty, and that goodness existed, even in the most desperate places. He believed evil had it limits"; a quiet man who is continually misjudged as weak because of these traits but who is actually one of the strongest and most capable of men, even in the political quagmire that is the police department.

How the Light Gets In is so satisfying, so well crafted with such complex characters struggling with equally complex life that you feel privileged to get this insight into these people. And you get to return for a brief time to the village of Three Pines and the residents thereof. If only this place existed I would move there in a heartbeat!
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LibraryThing member librarygeek33
I usually feel that a book has to be literary fiction to rate 5 stars. I'll justify my choice by saying that Louise Penny has created a mystery that's good enough to qualify as art. It probably helps if you have read other books in the Inspector Gamache series and are familiar with the central characters. The combination of great characters entwined with an inventive story line make this book stand out from the crowd.… (more)
LibraryThing member kaulsu
This one was the best in the series. By far. Penny gathered all the threads of past plots together in a culminating chapter of Three Pines. My one criticism (and one I'm sure I will read in other reviews) is that she made Jean-Guy Beauvoir's SPOILER ALERT rehabilitation too facile. For that I take away a smidgen of a star. Someday she will write a book more perfect still!… (more)
LibraryThing member Ronrose1
Louise Penny continues to amaze. Starting with Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1), through her latest, How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Penny has proven to be a master at instilling emotions in her characters. From Chief Inspector Gamache & his nemesis Chief Superintendent Francoeur to the inhabitants of Three Pines, the characters come alive in this story of betrayal, hate, loyalty, and love. Armand investigates a murder of a very unique woman, while his superiors in the Surete du Quebec plot to end his career and possibly his life. If you haven't read any of Penny's books start now. If you are a fan, you've probably already preordered this one. Either way you won't be disappointed. Book provided for review by Amazon Vine.… (more)
LibraryThing member ethel55
In the acknowledgments, Louise Penny writes she is offering us her imperfect offering. Modesty aside, nothing, as usual, could be further from the truth. The continued storyline about possible corruption at the Surete plays out along a missing person's case with ties to Three Pines. Anytime we get to return to that small village, with its' cast of such wonderfully written characters, is a good thing. From cantankerous Ruth right on down to the kids playing hockey, there's such a feeling of cohesiveness and community, right when Gamache needs it most. It's Myrna's friend Constance who disappears early on, but not so soon that she can still make the observation that Three Pines, "the tiny village had fallen from the sky, to provide a soft landing for those who'd also fallen."… (more)
LibraryThing member Twink
I (and a lot of other readers and listeners) have been eagerly awaiting Louise Penny's latest mystery - How the Light Gets In.

This is the ninth entry in this absolutely brilliant series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec.

Gamache is an unfailingly polite, soft spoken, caring, thoughtful , principled man. He is also dedicated - to his family, his friends and solving his cases. But he is reviled by his boss. The reasons for this have been alluded to from the beginning, increasing in intensity through each book, culminating in a cliff-hanger in book eight - The Beautiful Mystery. Penny has masterfully built this tension and animosity through each book. In How the Light Gets In, Penny finally gives us answers in a stunning finale, that mirrors real life.

Three Pines is the fictional small Quebec town that features prominently in Penny's books. The inhabitants of the town are rich and varied and have become as near and dear to my heart as Gamache himself. Their personal lives are as much a draw as the mystery in each book.

The crime portion of this book also takes inspiration from real life. The last surviving member of the Ouellet quintuplets is found murdered in her home after failing to arrive for a scheduled visit to Three Pines. Canadians of course will recognize the story of the Dionne quintuplets.

Although Penny provides enough background so that each book could be read as a stand alone, I encourage you to pick up the first book - Still Life. You'll fall in love with Gamache and the village of Three Pines - and be very glad that there are eight more (so far!) books to go. I cannot wait to see what's in store for book number ten.

I've actually chosen to listen to the last few books. Ralph Cosham is the reader and he completely embodies the mental image I had created for this wonderful character. The low, somewhat gravelly tone of Cosham's voice and his well modulated pace just draws you further into the story. His French accent and pronunciation is well done and believable. The voices he provides for other characters are just as well done. The cranky old poet Ruth is a favourite of mine. Actually, all the residents of Three Pines come alive with his interpretations, and make me wish I could visit to Three Pines and chat with them. At the end of the last disc, there was an unexpected bonus - an discussion between Cosham and Penny. It turns out that Ralph doesn't read the books before he narrates for the audio version. He prefers to discover the story as he reads. Can you imagine keeping all the voices straight and reading through without preparation? How the Light Gets In was an absolute joy to listen to. Highly, highly recommended.

"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen
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LibraryThing member 19anne44
I eagerly await each new book by Louise Penny. This newest book is one of the best and I am sad to have finished it in only 2 days. Her plotting is awe inspiring and her character development is so effective that I feel I know the people of Three Pines and the village as well as I know my own family. I hope Louise Penny has not finished with Gamache and has more volumes to write about him and Three Pines.… (more)
LibraryThing member bookappeal
Chief Inspector Gamache is nearing the end of a battle he's been waging for years but he still takes the time to solve the mysterious death of a woman who, with her sisters, was known throughout Canada as one of the miracle quintuplets. The last quint to die was a friend of Myrna, the bookstore owner in the quaint village of Three Pines. Gamache seizes the excuse to spend time in the village he's come to love, along with its quirky residents. But while the quint's case is interesting, it's not nearly as nail-biting as Armand's impending confrontation with Francoeur and whatever twisted plot he's been scheming. While Jean-Guy Beauvoir sinks deeper into addiction and Isabelle Lacoste becomes increasingly pessimistic about the future of their once-great department (and perplexed at Gamache's calm reaction to its decline), the reader is finally treated to the revelation of what Armand has been doing behind the scenes of the last few books. In a series with several remarkable entries, this latest is the most enjoyable so far - a tantalizing blend of intrigue, detection, the charm and biting humor of Three Pines, and an ever-deeper development of the main characters. Wrap Louise Penny's excellent writing in Ralph Cosham's perfect narration and what's not to love?… (more)
LibraryThing member Beamis12
I absolutely love this series as I am sure you can see by my rating, but I am always sad when I am done because now I have to wait for another year or so for a new one. I become so immersed in Three Pines and these people's lives it is often a shock to realize they are not real, but are characters in a novel. I wish they were real, I wish Three Pines was a place I could visit.

Part of this story, concerned quints born during the Great Depression, and though there were real quints born, only the idea of them sparked this part of the story. These are character driven novels and the characters are unique and wonderful, full of insight, courage and love. This is a place where people come when they are at the end of something and looking for something different. It is a place not easy to find and modern technology has a way of not working here. It is a true quiet zone.
Has a wonderful bookstore, and I can;t help feeling that Ruth and her duck may be the two best characters ever written. If you have not read these, start at the beginning. They get better with each successive book.
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LibraryThing member librarian1204
I love this series. Gamache, Three Pines, Ruth, all the characters and stories. I have read them all and I think they get better and better. The previous book, The Beautiful Mystery set the stage for this book. In fact, I don't think this series would have the impact it has if a reader had not followed the characters and setting from book 1 forward.
The writing, descriptions are beautifully done. A good read, exciting, comforting and thoughtful.
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LibraryThing member bookswoman
Louise Penny is a master storyteller. Her current book in the Chief inspector Gamache series is a barn burner! Armand Gamache is estranged from his former deputy, Jean Guy Beauvoir and is still under attack from the Chief Superintendent.

When an old friend from Three Pines, Myrna, calls worried about her friend he decides to go to Three Pines to start an investigation. It seems fairly straightforward until he discovers the secret that this old woman had been keeping for decades.

Simultaneously he is investigating the rot that has infiltrated Surete de Quebec with only his new deputy Lacoste to help.

This book kept me from sleeping a couple of nights, partly because I couldn't stop reading and turn off the light but also because I couldn't turn off my mind once I closed the book. There is a seriously complicated plot to this book and trying to unravel it while keeping everything straight kept me guessing and processing. Needless to say I had no idea just how it would be resolved and both stories captured the imagination.

If you haven't read any of these books, do yourself a favor and start at the beginning by reading "Still Life" and read through in order. The clues and the tensions keep building from book to book.

I loved this book and will have to go back to reread the series to see all the clues I've missed in the first seven books. This is one seriously excellent writer.
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Pages

405

ISBN

0312655479 / 9780312655471
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