Glass Houses: A Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel)

by Louise Penny

Hardcover, 2017

Call number

MYST PEN

Collection

Genres

Publication

Minotaur Books (2017), 400 pages

Description

"When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead. From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized. But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied. Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache's own conscience is standing in judgment" -- provided by publisher.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member mfbarry
Everyone loves Louise Penny because her books involve the psychology of the characters to such a great extent. A well crafted mystery brings the reader full circle by the end but it is the people that are the draw in her stories. In this installment, Penny didn't stray away from hard decisions and choices - choices that not everyone will agree with. The struggle between 'saving one' to 'sacrificing some to save many' is the key theme.

As I continue to read the Three Pine series, i am starting to struggle with the overall characters - how many times can Armand be the one person to solve long standing issues, why everyone gives this man such free reign, etc.? Some of the characters continue to grow and evolve but for the most part, it feels as if the characters are standing still. Let's also be honest, if there were that many deaths in the small village of Three Pines, wouldn't someone start to question it? My house would be on the market in a heart beat.

'Glasses Houses' is a good book but it not my favorite in the series (Bury Your Dead is fabulous from an emotional perspective!) and i continue to pre-order the books and early wait for their arrival. Each story is like going back to the same vacation spot year after year. I am now starting to see that the vacation spot is starting to show its age, it just hasn't stopped me from visiting. Yet.
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LibraryThing member debkrenzer
Wow, how in the heck have I come this far in my life and never read Louise Penny before? I've known for a while that she has quite the following. And now, . . . I know why. Good Grief this was a great read for me.

I spent three quarters of this book immersed in a trial without even knowing who the defendant was, or even if they were female or male. The story went from present to back history to a little further back history, then like six months before and then back to the trial, then like a month before. I mean it was jumping all over the place. And I absolutely loved the characters in Three Pines. Especially the VERY quirky ones. Ha!!

Even though this was number 13 in the series of Armand Gamache, I still felt like I hadn't missed anything. I mean in the sense that I know there were other things that happened prior to this book, but I didn't feel as though I missed out on anything!!!

I know I am preaching to the choir when I say that I was so mesmerized by this book. It did go back and forth a lot, and being an advanced reader, it was hard to keep up as I had to stop for a few seconds and wonder where I was but that did not deter me, AT ALL!!!!!!

If you have not read Louise Penny, don't take as long as I did to figure out that it's an excellent read.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, laughed quite a few times and was definitely shedding some tears at the end. I grew to love these characters and really miss them now that I've left Three Pines.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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LibraryThing member tututhefirst
It's so hard to review a Louise Penny book without taking away from the prospective reader's upcoming experience. Her stories are a delight to every sense - physical and mental. I've read every book in this series - most of them 2 or 3 times, and I never fail to put it down with a feeling of regret that the story has come to an end.

The newest installment GLASS HOUSES is scheduled for publication next week. Once again, the gracious Ms. Penny has graced me by allowing me an advance peek. I resisted temptation as long as I could, but will confess I've already read this one twice and have pre-ordered the audio so I can download that from Audible next week. I will not do any spoilers here. I will simply say that this author manages to surprise me with every book. The characters are becoming more like family, and the setting Three Pines definitely shines in this one. The plot is complex and very very different.

Once again I am left wanting to turn back to the beginning and read it again and again. STUNNING. Vive Gamache!
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
The less said the better since I don't want to give anything away, so my review will be very brief. I will say fans of this series will not be disappointed, this one may well be the best so far. A hard thing to accomplish in series of this length. Gamache will put everything on the line. Something old will be mixed with a current scourge in many countries, has reached epidemic proportions, and is hurting and has hurt many. Ruth, my favorite, and her duck get a somewhat larger role and more of her poetry is quoted. It will all come down to who did what where and who knew what when. So, so good, very suspenseful and as always the characters of Three Pines will pull together. There is after all a great deal of love in this little town and a great deal of good. Remember to read the afterward, it is poignant and awe inspiring.

ARC from Netgalley.
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LibraryThing member rglossne
Louise Penny's books are never just about murder. In this thirteenth installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Gamache confronts his own insecurities and demons while facing down the most threatening criminals of his long career. All the familiar elements of life in Three Pines are here, but each book finds them more deeply developed. I love this series, and I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of Glass Houses, which I believe is the most powerful so far.… (more)
LibraryThing member LisaSHarvey
GLASS HOUSES
LOUISE PENNY

MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
PUBLISHER St. Martin’s Press
PUBLISHED August 29, 2017

GLASS HOUSES is an intriguing mystery with an intricate plot and endearing characters that coalesce into a compelling dilemma of conscience for Quebec’s lead investigator.

SUMMARY
A shadow has fallen over the the quaint village of Three Pines near the Canadian and US border, not far from Montreal. A hooded figure in a black robe stands on the village green for days, seemingly harmless, but standing there, day and night and watching. Villagers are scared and fear a menacing purpose, and yet Armand Gamache Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, who lives in Three Pines can do nothing, the robed figured was breaking no laws. And then suddenly the figure disappears, and a body young tourist is found in the basement of the local church. Gamache must determine both the motive and the killer. Months later, as the trial for the alleged killer begins, Gamache much face his own conscience for untenable actions that he set in motion during the investigation.

REVIEW
I totally enjoyed my first LOUISE PENNY novel. Even though GLASS HOUSES is the thirteenth book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, the read was entertaining, enlightening and fun, without making me feeling as though I had come in at the end of a movie. The Three Pines setting is picturesque, and each of the characters are endearing, with the exception, of course, of the mysterious masked figure standing on the village green. I adored the Three Pines community spirit and how many of the village residents played an intregal role in the story.

GLASS HOUSES is a gripping mystery, with a psychological aspect to it, and an intricate plot that includes intriguing courtroom drama. The novel’s overarching theme is a compelling dilemma of conscience. Gamache is facing a battle with something much larger than the just hooded black figure, and he is willing to put his career and his life on the line for it.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member SilversReviews
A conscience - we all have one, but do we know what may be on another person's conscience or even on ours that may bother us?

When a hooded figure appeared on the green in Three Pines and stayed without moving for three days, all the residents were tense and wondered what he was doing there. Did the hooded figure date back to the historical Cobrador who collected debts?

Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector, kept an eye on the figure and could do nothing within his powers to remove him. But...why is Armand Gamache now on the witness stand testifying about a death that occurred during the time the hooded figure was present?

We follow the situation by being introduced to the trial and then back again to the events in Three Pines with the hooded figure standing on the village green. The trial has something going on besides the trial, though, and the judge seems to be picking up on it.

Louise Penny has given us another beautifully written, intellectual, intriguing plot that will have you glued to the pages, thinking about what a conscience really is and how it helps or hinders one's choices, and feeling for Gamache as he must defend all that happened in the quiet village of Three Pines.

GLASS HOUSES had me confused during the first few chapters, but once GLASS HOUSES got going another fantastic Louise Penny read and outcome awaits you with the endings always being brilliant and unexpected.

Don't miss reading the latest from Louise Penny. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
Once again, Inspector Gamache enchants and draws us in to Three Pines and it's magical community. Once again, the reader is encouraged to consider the lengths to which one would go to maintain the integrity of family, community, & culture. Great characters, a mysterious apparition, drug cartels, and.....yes.....the bistro, Rosa the Duck, and Clara's artwork. What more could a reader ask for?… (more)
LibraryThing member cbl_tn
After his brief stint at the police training academy, Armand Gamache is now the Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté. Gamache and his wife still make their home in the village of Three Pines. Once again, violent death has disrupted the serenity of the village, and Gamache's personal life spills over into his professional life. This time his wife, Reine-Marie, has discovered the body. As the murder case progresses, Gamache tries not to lose sight of the larger war against corruption that has characterized his career. Gamache's family, friends, and colleagues, as well as his readers, may see him in a different light once the dust settles.

Louise Penny's characters are anything but stale after more than a dozen series novels. Penny isn't afraid to explore the fallibilities and vulnerabilities of all of her characters. While some of her characters are more likeable than others, none of them are perfect. This seems to be the key to the appeal of Three Pines among Penny's loyal readers. Three Pines is a place where damaged individuals can find peace and strength.

This review is based on an electronic advance reader copy provided by the publisher through Net
Galley.
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LibraryThing member clue
Glass houses is very good, one of the best in the series imo. The plot revolves around drug trafficking and the personal sacrifices Gamache and "his people" will make to try to stop illegal drugs flowing through Canada and into the U.S. Rather frightening and real.

Penny does something new for her, switching back and forth between 2 different times. Often when this happens in a book there is a new chapter when the times change. That wasn't true here, there was only a break. I found it disconcerting, sometimes I would read a paragraph or so before I realized the time period had changed. A small complaint about a book that is otherwise very good.… (more)
LibraryThing member ouroborosangel
What is a Cobrador? Why is one in Three Pines, standing in absolute stillness and silence for days? Why is Gamache on the witness stand? And who exactly is on trial? These are the questions racing through your mind as you start this newest book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny.

I think this may be the best book in Penny’s series to date. As always, she weaves together seamlessly: obscure history with fabulous fiction, the lives of her recurring characters with new people (be they friends or suspects), and the quiet life of Three Pines with the ongoing struggles against corruption within the Sûreté du Québec.

I sell a lot of Penny’s books to my customers for two reasons. One, her plots always contain great mysteries where the endings never disappoint. And, two, I want to live in Three Pines and be friends with everyone who lives there!

Penny’s characters come alive again in this 13th book as we learn about the roots of a Spanish tradition still in existance today, a plot meant to heap untold pain on too many humans, and a daring plan that could mean the end of many Sûreté careers. ENJOY!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)
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LibraryThing member bell7
Now the Chief Superintendent of the Surete du Quebec, Armand Gamache is testifying in a murder trial. What happened in November after a mysterious figure shows up clothed in black standing on the village green, and how did this lead to murder?

The narrative moves back and forth between the July trial and November events, the courtroom and Three Pines. We're kept in the dark about who the defendant is, and come to see that Chief Superintendent Gamache has some tricks up his sleeve - because this trial isn't just about a murder, but may affect the entire war on drugs that the Surete has been losing for years. Penny's staccato style of short sentences and fragments really irritated me in this one as extremely unnecessary and an attempt at sounding profound. While I really liked the dual narrative in Bury Your Dead, the device didn't work quite so well here. It kept the tension high, but it also frustrated me being kept in the dark - I'm still not convinced it helped not knowing who the defendant was. There was also not quite as much of some of the Three Pines characters as I would have liked. It's not a bad book, however, just not the best of the series. I admired Penny for trying something different with the courtroom scenes, and you could definitely feel the July heat and claustrophobia of the witness chair.… (more)
LibraryThing member Twink
I am a devoted reader of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. The latest (#13) is Glass Houses.

Glass Houses opens in a courtroom with Gamache on the stand. "He knew perfectly well who the murder was. He was just a little afraid that something would go wrong. And a particularly cunning killer would go free." Well, I was immediately hooked! So many questions. The reader slowly learns what led to the case Gamache is testifying at.

A hooded figure dressed in black stands on the square in the pretty little off the beaten village of Three Pines - home to Inspector Gamache. He or she is not committing a crime, but doing nothing but standing there is all the more terrifying.

"The actual act of terror created horror, pain, sorrow, rage, revenge. But the terror itself came from wondering what what going to happen next. To watch, to wait to wonder, To anticipate. To imagine. And always the worst."

Gamache and a small, select group of officers are also running an operation that seems to have been almost a year in the planning. But what exactly that is, is only slowly made clear to the reader. Very slowly - which only kept me turning pages late in the night, eager to see where and what was at the end. Penny brings in elements from the a previous long running (and very current) storyline.

I love Penny's prose and the voice she has created for not just Gamache, but for every player in her books. Her mysteries are always intriguing, but it is the characters themselves that have me eager to see what is going on in their lives. It feels like settling in with old friends when I pick up the latest book. And settling into a village I'd love to live in. Penny's description of Three Pines says much:

"Some might argue that Three Pines itself isn't real, and they'd be right, but limited in their view. The village does not exist, physically. But I think of it as existing in ways that are far more important and powerful. Three Pines is a state of mind. When we choose tolerance over hate. Kindness over cruelty. Goodness over bullying. When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical. Then we live in Three Pines."

Another fantastic entry in this wonderful series.
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LibraryThing member smik
Armand Gamache has returned to the Quebec Surete as Chief Superintendent. By rights he ought to be retired and there are whispers going around that he is "past it", just not up to the job: he is refusing to take swift and decisive actions, serious crime rates are rising, particularly drug trafficking. Those who were glad when he took on the job are losing faith.

This is a novel with a slippery time frame. In the opening chapter Gamache is in the witness box at a murder trial. Unusually he was the arresting officer and the arrest took place at the village of Three Pines where he lives. Other people from the village, including his wife, will also be called as witnesses. The judge is overseeing her first murder trial. Already she has detected something rather odd in the proceedings. There seems to be some sort of collusion between Chief Inspector Gamache and the Chief Crown Prosecutor, although at the same time they don't seem to like each other.

The novel slips back and forwards in time giving the reader the background to the case. That in itself is not unusual but there is something else going on here, just a hint that it could mean the end of their careers for the two men in the court. There is a defendant in the box, but for the moment we are not told who, nor who the victim was.

Most of the residents of the small village of Three Pines feature in the novel, and this is really where having read the series comes in. I suppose you could read the book as a stand-alone, but that is hard for me to say as I have read the series. Believe me, it is worth doing that. Many hours of reading pleasure await you.

Another spell binding read from Louise Penny.
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LibraryThing member EadieB
Book Description
When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Surete du Quebec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montreal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache's own conscience is standing in judgment.

In her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

My Review
Louise Penny is a masterful writer. She knows how to tell a good story. Her latest book, Glass Houses, does not disappoint. The plot of drug trafficking between the Canadian border and the U.S. was very clever as we are always thinking that Mexico is where all the drugs are coming from. The book certainly opened my eyes to the fact that the whole Canadian border is wide open for such activity. Her characters are very unique and a pleasure to keep in contact with every year when another book is released. I love the time I spend in Three Pines during my read and wish I could find this place in real time to go and visit. The murderer was a real surprise and I loved the use of the Cobrador to spark the conscious of an evil doer. I look forward to the new installment next year and I highly recommend starting this series and reading these books in order.
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LibraryThing member cyderry
Armand Gamache has gone from being the Chief Inspector of the Sûreté's Homicide Division to the head of the Sûreté Academy and now finally the Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Quebec. Through this journey Armand has battled the corruption of his superiors but now he has to fight a new battle against the drug lords of the French province he has sworn to protect.

The story that is told in this the 13th installment of the Three Pines saga, shows the difficult decisions that had to be made as well as Armand Gamache's surprise plan to win the war on drugs. The narrative alternates between the discovery and investigation into a murder in Three Pines, Gamache's testimony at the murder trial several months later and the planning sessions to capture drug kingpins.

Penny has woven a tremendously riveting story where the reader is kept in the dark as to the defendant in the murder trial, the drug leaders but the overall results are phenomenal. Where she will take Armand inb the future, I don't know but I'm certain I'll be following along!
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LibraryThing member alanteder
Intriguing slow-burn with surprises

Louise Penny does a suspenseful mash-up here of courtroom thriller, murder mystery, police action, historical fiction, moral quandary and, of course, small town village comic relief.

The big tease is that the action opens in a courtroom setting with an accused defendant who is sitting right there, but we are given absolutely no hints as to who they are. You look for them in vain of course and keep on compulsively reading. So it is a drama in a present day courtroom situation with flashbacks to a crime & aftermath that took place several months previously. It soon becomes apparent that there is more than meets the eye about the courtroom situation and that Chief Inspector Gamache is playing a long game behind the scenes. Is it with the defendant or someone else? Or maybe both?

Old fans will not be disappointed and although it would be difficult to recommend this as a first Gamache since all of the background of the previous dozen books would be missing, the plot is still entirely self-contained and new-comers will just have to deal with a wider group of suspects.
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LibraryThing member fredreeca
I have never read Louise Penny…GASP! I am sad to say, this may not have been the best book to start with.

Gamache has major problems on his hands. As Chief Superintendent he is fighting a losing battle with the war on drugs. Then a strange creature shows up at a town festival searching for a debt to be paid. Everyone is suspect.

I really struggled to finish this read. It is a slow read with a lot of characters. Plus it jumps around between the trial and before the murder…without warning. So there were times I didn’t realize what I was reading. Now…to be honest…I was reading an ARC. So, the breaks in the flashes back may be added on final copy.

I hate I did not like this book as well as I wanted. I have not given up on Louise Penny. I will giver her another shot. Mainly because I did enjoy Gamache. He is a great character. He is loyal, honest and wants to be the best he can be.

Don’t let my review keep you from this book, especially if you are a Penny fan. This is totally my opinion and you may have a different experience.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
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LibraryThing member Perednia
The best Louise Penny novel since the last one.
LibraryThing member diana.hauser
This is the review I wrote for Louise Penny’s last book, A GREAT RECKONING.
I don’t think I can improve upon it in reviewing her latest book, GLASS HOUSES.
While there isn’t an acknowledgements area, Ms. Penny’s Author’s Note is very poignant.
Her writing leaves me with my ‘own moment of zen’.

review of A GREAT RECKONING by Louise Penny
Exquisite. A beautiful tapestry of words - thoughtful, provocative, ethical, elegant, meditative - woven together with love into a perfect masterpiece.
The acknowledgements made me cry.
A wonderful, precious writer is Louise Penny.
A great book, not to be missed, is A GREAT RECKONING.
Ms. Penny’s writing always lifts me up - my own moment of zen.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
In this tightly plotted mystery, the 13th Gamache novel, Louise Penny, has created a story within a story, and it’s not until the violent end that the reader learns why the murder trial testimony is played out the way it is. Sure, there are hints through the book, but Penny crafts such a well-planned book, that few readers will understand the situation before Penny explains it.… (more)
LibraryThing member bogopea
Real life is invading Three Pines! This novel runs in a different direction for Penny but it's a great read, as usual, and hard not to read it in one sitting. Penny is remarkable for her ability to stymie my detection of the murderer once again. And the residents of Three Pines never disappoint. Loved it.
LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
Glass Houses, Louise Penny, author; Robert Bathurst, narrator.
When the book opens, Armand Gamache, the man who is in charge of the Sûreté du Quebec, is giving testimony at a murder trial. He begins to explain about the suspicious “thing” that was dressed in a hooded black robe that had suddenly appeared on the village green and barely moved; it simply seemed to be watching. In a short time, it frayed the nerves of the townspeople. It was something called a cobrador, an ancient figure that collected debts, acted as a conscience, and haunted the subjects it came for until they paid in some way for their misdeeds. The government attorney and Gamache did not seem to be on the same page, during this questioning, although they were on the same side, presumably.
In this story, in his persona as Chief Superintendent, Gamache has discovered a major pattern in the drug trafficking industry, and he is willing to risk all to expose and capture the criminals to stop their activity. Drugs are causing the massacre of generations of people across the human spectrum. He created a subterfuge, using the murder trial as a tool, which some may question since it will ultimately have dangerous consequences. The reader will be left to decide whether or not the rule book should occasionally be tossed out, or whether it should always be followed in times of crisis. Also, the reader will have to think about whether or not someone should be punished if they break a rule for a good reason.
Penny has created a character in Gamache that is beloved by her readers. He is gentle, but strong and firm, as well. He is moral, but he is flexible in his thinking. He does not rush to judgment and always seems to err on the side of goodness, even when he is doing something bad. Reine-Marie, his wife, is understanding, warm and friendly. The town where they live, Three Pines, might be everyone’s ideal location with its odd collection of people who are writers, chefs, artists, and more. They come from all different places, different backgrounds and have different needs. They all have some “ghost in their closet”, some secret that they wish to conceal, something in their lives that had caused them shame; they all wondered if the “thing” in the robes had come for them, as “the thing” made them remember their own past sins and guilt. Should people in glass houses throw stones?
The opiod crisis facing all of us today was a major theme alongside the murder investigation. Many of the characters had personal experience with the tragedy of the drug epidemic and it brought home the depth and breadth of its reach into our own reality. I wondered if the fear of the black robed creature that could possibly incite people to act out violently, could be likened to the sometimes irrational fear many have of women in burqas, along with a generalized fear of Muslims because of what the mind conjures up with thoughts of terrorism. These are just some ideas which occurred to me while reading.
I am not sure if the author writes with this remarkably soft touch that conveys deeper messages, as she presents her narrative, or if this very talented narrator interprets the words that way. Regardless, though, it works well. Also, the gentle wit of her prose will sometimes cause the reader to smile quietly, and her text will make the reader think about and investigate her ideas even after the book ends. The devastating effect of opiods and the history and existence of the cobrador will make for interesting future study.
The books create a manageable tension while the problems mount and solutions seem to slip away, as moving back and forth, in the memory of Gamache on the witness stand, the novel develops. The familiar cast of sometimes outrageous characters, in the Inspector Gamache series, will bring the reader back again and again as each new book in the series is written. The narrator, Robert Bathurst perfectly captures the nuances of each of them and will also inspire readers to return.
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LibraryThing member ethel55
A dark figure interrupts bucolic fall days in Three Pines. Both the townspeople and visitors to the local Inn are perturbed by its' quiet, ominous presence. The relief is quick the day the figure disappears, only to be replaced by a dead body in the local church. Life in Three Pines is detailed over those November days while Penny sets the rest of the story the following summer, with Head of the Surete, Armand Gamache, on the stand as a witness during the trial of that fall murder. In this back and forth manner, things are revealed slowly, leading to an emotional, yet hopeful ending. This was another powerful, well written read in what is a very favorite series.… (more)
LibraryThing member leslie.98
While I always enjoy visiting with the folks from Three Pines, I don't think that I would have liked this so much if I had read this without the rest of the series as background. Like a few of the earlier books, this is more of a crime novel than a police procedural or even a mystery of other description. Penny didn't quite 'play fair' with the reader this time, holding back some crucial facts that Gamache knew early on but the reader doesn't find out until late in the story.… (more)

Pages

400

ISBN

1250066190 / 9781250066190
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