"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.
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.
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.
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!
ARC from Netgalley.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. There is a murder and some of the plot is spent trying to figure out who committed the crime. But these books are so much more. Different stories have different themes, and the bulk of the story revolves around human nature and the flaws and traits we show that allow us to commit a murder, or be a hero.
For this most recent story, the theme revolves around conscience, and specifically the Gandhi quote, 'There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.' Is it ever justified to break the law? Is it ever justified to allow innocent people to die? And no better setting for this moral dilemma than the town of Three Pines. All the usual cast is there and all have their own role in this latest story.
LOVE IT! And can't wait for the next one.
It bothers and sincerely disappoints me to say that I did not like this book anymore than to say it is OK. I have read all of Louise Penny's book and consider myself a loyal fan of hers. It's an OK story, slightly fantastical in places with lots of Chicken Little's " the sky is falling " doom and gloom. There's pockets of high blown turgid pontificating scattered throughout the story too.
The courtroom storyline is a tedious distraction at the beginning of the book. I think the book is just plain wrong in a substantial way about court protocol, e.g. like judge meeting with Gamache and the prosecutor without the accused's counsel and the Crown Attorney talking to Gamache while Gamache was under oath. The accused is more or less ignored in the whole process, which is not the way the system works. While some leeway needs to be given in telling a story, this presentation lacks authenticity.
Gamache's future is uncertain (again) at the end of the book -- the door is thus open for another adventure. I'm hoping for a better outing next time.