Kingdom of the Blind: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

by Louise Penny

Hardcover, 2018

Call number





Minotaur Books (2018), Edition: First Edition, 400 pages


Fiction. Mystery. HTML: "[Narrator Robert Bathurst] engages us completely...If you haven't listened to this series, start at once. You'll love your stay in Three Pines." �?? AudioFile Magazine on A Great Reckoning The new Chief Inspector Gamache audiobook from the #1 New York Times bestselling author. When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder. None of them had ever met the elderly woman. The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane? When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing. But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into what happened six months ago�??the events that led to his suspension�??has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception. Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers. As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hid… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member jmoncton
My FAVORITE mystery series. I don't know if it's the quaintness of Three Pines, the quirky characters, or the humanity that oozes out of every installment of this mystery series, but every time I read one, I am totally swept up by the people in the story.

Keep them coming!
LibraryThing member lauralkeet
In this latest installment in the Inspector Gamache series, he is inexplicably named as one of three liquidators in the will of a recently-deceased elderly woman whom he had never met. All three liquidators are equally baffled about being appointed to this role, and as they work to understand the
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woman’s rationale and the details of her estate, the woman’s eldest son is found dead. Gamache is on suspension, but that doesn’t stop him from assisting with the investigation. At the same time, he is working feverishly to stem the opioid epidemic and stop a new and deadly version of the drug from hitting the streets.

The two cases moved toward resolution at a brisk pace, and along the way Louise Penny continued to develop the characters readers have come to know and love, and introduced new twists into their lives which left me eager already for her next book.
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LibraryThing member margitc
This November, I'm thankful to be able to read another episode in Louise Penny's series about Chief Inspector Gamache. Gamache and his team are still recovering from the consequences of their fight against a new, more lethal drug. Political fallout and physical disabilities hamper their attempts to
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corral the drug that made it to the street. But once again, Gamache draws strength from grace to counter the cruelities inherent in our civilization.
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LibraryThing member KateVane
Kingdom of the Blind has an unusual structure. As it’s the first book I’ve read in the Chief Inspector Gamache series I’m not sure whether this is always the case, or whether the author has leeway to push the boundaries of the genre because she already has a loyal following, but at first
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it’s not clear it’s about a murder at all.

Gamache is invited by a notary to attend a meeting at a remote cottage near his Quebec home. He arrives during a blizzard where he is asked if he will be the liquidator (executor) of the will of a woman he never met. His fellow liquidators are his friend and neighbour Myrna and a young builder, Benedict, from Montreal. Neither of them, they say, knew the deceased either.

They accept the challenge and then decamp to Gamache’s home village of Three Pines (including Benedict, who is unable to return to Montreal because of the weather) and then begin to piece together the story of the deceased with their friends and neighbours.

Gamache is surrounded by a loving family, a cast of engagingly eccentric friends in Three Pines and the vividly rendered weather. All this gives it something of the feel of a cosy mystery. (There is, eventually, a murder.) There’s something comforting in reading about the beautiful but lethal cold of Quebec while safely tucked up in the warmth.

However, as the book went on I felt less engaged with it. There’s a subplot about a consignment of drugs and Penny’s portrayal of Montreal street culture and opioid abuse felt rather less convincing than that of the cafes and bookshops of Three Pines.

Even though I’ve previously written about preferring character-driven stories to a surfeit of procedure, I felt that in this book there perhaps wasn’t enough, and that the criminals had left a number of rather convenient clues.

Gamache is currently suspended from his police role (for reasons that are linked to a previous case which presumably is covered in an earlier novel) but his suspension is about as plausible as Rebus’ retirement. He is in the thick of everything, interviewing witnesses, chasing leads internationally, ordering around his subordinates.

As the book progresses, Gamache is shown to exert a tremendous influence over everyone around him, professionally and personally, often without their knowledge. He is like a god in their small universe. Whether you find his interventions charming and generous or controlling and a bit creepy is perhaps a matter of temperament.

The story around the unusual will is entertaining enough and the plot wraps up nicely. I enjoyed the setting and the warmth of the Three Pines friendships in Kingdom of the Blind but I’m not sure I’d want to invest more time in the series.
I received a copy of Kingdom of the Blind from the publisher via Netgalley.
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LibraryThing member kimkimkim
I am giving this five stars not because it is another great addition to the Armand Gamache series. It is all of that but the highest tribute goes to Ms. Penny who thought she would never be able to write another book in the series and then she sat down at her long pine table and wrote two words and
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the next day a few more words and the reading public was blessed with “Kingdom of the Blind”. Read the book and then make sure you read the Acknowledgments and applaud Ms. Penny for her understanding, strength and the desire to involve us all in her sense of community.
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LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
The Kingdom of the Blind, Louise Penny, author, Robert Bathurst, narrator
When Chief Superintendent Gamache and Myrna, both receive a letter from a solicitor that summons them to appear at the home of Bertha Baumgartner, they are stymied. They have no idea who the person is and wonder if they should
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even appear there. Eventually, they do both go and discover each other there, with a third unsuspecting visitor, Benedict, as well. All three have been asked to come to the home of someone who called herself the Baroness. All three claimed not to have know her. When they are asked to be liquidators of her will, they are stymied. Why them? In addition, to the confusion, they must agree to take the job as liquidator before the will is even read. All three decide that they are game, and so the story begins.
Mrs. Baumgartner left a fortune to her three children, Hugo, Caroline and Anthony, in money and real estate. However, no one knew if it really existed. Her home was in terrible disrepair, and she was known as a cleaning lady. It came out that the family had been involved in a lawsuit with the Rothschild’s for decades. Was she really a Baroness? When the simple liquidation of the will turns into a murder investigation, Gamache is in the unique position of having to investigate both the murder and the background of the family. Is there a fortune? Who committed the murder and why?
Meanwhile, at the same time, Gamache is being investigated because of the part he played in the capture of drug lords. He made a decision to allow deadly drugs into the market place in order to capture them. Someone had to pay for that crime. If the deadly drugs got out, death would follow on a huge scale. Therefore, while he is being investigated, he is quietly investigating the whereabouts of the drugs as well. He knows his position is in jeopardy, whether or not he finds them. The politics involved was frustrating and it began to affect Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache’s son-in-law. He was in a very compromising position, having worked alongside of Gamache in the drug debacle and was asked to betray him.
Eventually, every loose end is tied up neatly, but I had to listen to several parts over and over so as not to lose the connection to the whole. Gamache remains, throughout, the lovable, gentle, humble and understanding character that he always is, Reine-Marie, his wife, is always supportive by his side. The town, the characters and the tales about Three Pines are unique and they embrace the readers and instill the desire in them to make Three Pines their home too! Even though the characters are quirky and out of the mainstream, they are united in the effort of caring for each other. It makes it a perfect place to live.
I love the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache mysteries. The narrator who reads the audios is perfect for the job. He never interferes with the message, but relays it to the reader on point with perfect tone and stress. This particular mystery in the series, however, seemed a bit disjointed to me. The plot seemed very convoluted. There were so many threads it was hard to keep track. There was the question of the settlement of a strange will and an investigation into the background of the deceased to find out if she was indeed from an aristocratic background with a large estate to be settled; there was a possible embezzlement investigation and a murder investigation that grew out of it; and there was an investigation into Inspector Gamache because of his recent drug bust which allowed a deadly drug to possibly hit the streets with dire consequences. This meant there was also an investigation into the drug world, concurrently, hopefully to find the missing drugs before they hit the street to prevent an untold number of deaths. On a lighter side, there was the inclusion of one of Clara’s paintings, for no known apparent reason, in the home of one of the heirs. It was an unusual one of Ruth, the unusual poet who loved her duck, Rosa. Then too, there were some odd budding romances at the end which I didn’t suspect, and big changes for the future of the Gamache family were predicted.
I, for one, can’t wait for the next Inspector Gamache novel to appear!
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
#14 in the Inspector Gamache series is yet another winning story by Louise Penny. An intriguing murder, resolution to a potential as l disaster from #13, and an ending both fitting and heartrending. Yesssss!
LibraryThing member EdGoldberg
There are two themes running through Kingdom of the Blind. In the first, Armand Gamache, Myrna Landers (bookstore owner in Three Pines) and Benedict Pouliot each receive a mysterious letter demanding that they appear at a certain address at a certain time. The location is a dilapidated old house.
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There they find that they are named as liquidators of Bertha Baumgarten's estate, a person they do not know. The will makes no sense in that Bertha, a maid, is distributing a huge estate. When Bertha's eldest son, Anthony, is found dead in the house soon after being told of the inheritance, Gamache and team are on the trail of a murderer.

The second theme is the recovery of a huge cache of deadly drugs that Gamache let into the country in order to identify and capture the supplier. To understand this theme, one must have read the previous Gamache book, Glass Houses.

Penny touches on some interesting ideas in Kingdom of the Blind including investment embezzlement and repatriation of Nazi loot. It all comes together quite nicely. It's always a pleasure to read about the idyllic world of Three Pines and the usual cast of characters. A total enjoyment.
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LibraryThing member diana.hauser
KINGDOM OF THE BLIND is Louise Penny’s new novel in her Armand Gamache series.

Armand Gamache (the former Head of Homicide; the current Chief Superintendent of the Surete du Quebec - on suspension), Myrna Landers (owner of Three Pines Bookshop) and Benedict Pouliot arrive at an abandoned, derelict
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house in the countryside. They have all received a ‘summons’ from a notary stating that they are liquidators/executors of a will left by a Bertha Baumgartner. A mystery, in that none of the three people - Armand, Myrna, and Benedict - say they know or have heard of said B Baumgartner.
While the mysterious will is an opening plot point, there are other mysteries that follow.
The plot details are so detailed. And the characters are all so painstakingly drawn. But the real power of a Louise Penny book is in the written word.
Reading this book is my own personal, perfect moment of Zen.

I noted several passages but two that stand out for me are:
Armand is speaking with Isabelle Lacoste and says, “What I was going to say is that my mentor had this theory that our lives are like an aboriginal longhouse.” “He said that if we thought we could compartmentalize things, we were deluding ourselves. Everyone we meet, every word we speak, every action taken or not taken lives in our longhouse. With us. Always. Never to be expelled or locked away.”

Armand Gamache’s code of conduct. Four steps which lead to wisdom. “I don’t know. I need help. I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

Ms. Penny’s acknowledgements will bring tears to your eyes.
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LibraryThing member bookappeal
Gamache has to deal with the fallout of the decisions made in Glass Houses, when he purposely allowed the trafficking of opioids through Montreal and into the United States in order to stop a drug cartel. But he's distracted by being named one of the executors of a will, left by a woman he didn't
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LibraryThing member muddyboy
When I first started to read this book I loved the unique premise. Three unrelated people are called to meet at a dilapidated old house. They find out that they are chosen to be executors of an elderly woman's estate and they have little to no connection to her. As the mystery unravels we learn of
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a one hundred year plus feud between two families over an estate that emanated in Austria leading to the current time. There are modern day deaths as the mystery slowly unravels. The key word here is slowly. In many spots the book proceeds at a snails pace.which is the main problem with the novel in my opinion.
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LibraryThing member Bookish59
Penny's writing gets better with each book in the Gamache series. The dialog between those who live at Three Pines (and sometimes visitors), and its timing becomes more pointed, punchy and hysterical providing sorely needed comic relief.

Gamache is an exceptionally good man, husband, father, friend
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and detective. He listens, learns quickly, and understands what needs to be done to complete his cases. His selfless focus is on minimizing danger, saving lives, and always caring deeply about and helping all those around him. We would all benefit from a friend like him.

Kingdom of the Blind shows the egregious errors in life's balance sheets for those who choose cruelty over kindness, greed over generosity, and hate over love. There is always a price to pay for those holding onto anger, jealousy and resentment especially within families. Honesty, respect and forgiveness pave the way to let go and move forward.
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LibraryThing member bell7
Former Chief Inspector Gamache - now on suspension during an investigation in to his handling of the drug bust in the previous entry - is called to a remote location by a dead man. He's been asked to notarize a will for a woman he never knew - along with Myrna, the bookstore owner and psychologist
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in Three Pines, and Bernard, a young man neither of them know. The woman, Bertha Baumgartner, was a cleaning lady known as the "Baroness," and she told her three children the story of how they were cheated out of their inheritance, a fifteen-million-dollar one that she just happens to leave them in her will. Confused, Gamache begins investigating the larger story behind this woman and her family.

I thought this was one of the stronger entries in the series, back to some of the more convoluted resolutions, and including some politics on the police force, as Jean Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's protegee and now son-in-law, deals with the internal investigation. There are several threads, as Gamache is also trying to find the missing drugs before they get out on the street, a side story that was just as - if not more - interesting than the main mystery. The book has the same faults and joys of the rest of series, but at #14 you pretty much know what you're in for when you pick it up.
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LibraryThing member Maydacat
Gamache has been suspended and is waiting for a decision on what happens next. He knows how serious the charge was: he allowed some powerful illegal drugs to find their way into the hands of drug dealers. And while he managed to retrieve most of them, some are still at large. And so he knows in his
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heart what the outcome must be. His life and perhaps those of the people he loves are about to change. Author Louise Penny has given her readers likely the best book so far in this beloved series. The pleasure in reading these novels comes not so much from the mystery, although they are substantial mysteries, but in the development and the interaction of the many characters. In this novel, even the secondary characters play important roles. The prose in the books and thoughts behind that prose are powerful components of that make this series unique.
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LibraryThing member delphimo
What a joy to read a Louise Penny novel. The blindness motif threads through the entire novel with snow blindness, rage blindness, love blindness, and many other forms of blindness. Ruth continues to amaze with her many skills and her awareness of human nature. Armand races to find the cache of
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drugs that were stolen in the last novel. His entire existence balances on finding the drugs before this plague hits the streets of Canada. Another story centers on Armand, Myrna, and a new character, chosen to execute a will. Why have these three people been selected as executors of a will? Louise Penny draws the reader into the nuances of the tale and gives multi-faceted characters to develop the tale. The setting of a bleak and bitter winter enhances the journey.
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LibraryThing member clue
is is the 14th title in the Armand Gamache series and is one of the best. Although Gamache is still on suspension as the highest ranking law enforcement officer in Quebec, he becomes involved by accident in an affair that will lead to murder and the discovery of massive theft.

Although this has been
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one of my favorite series since the first book came out, I was growing a bit weary with the formula Penny generally follows: Gamache in big trouble with his superiors, Gamache in a firefight and Gamache found to be right all along. Although [Kingdom of the Blind] followed that same pattern, there were a few changes near the end that points to change with some of the characters. If so, it's going to be fun to see where Penny takes them.
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LibraryThing member Beamis12
Unfortunately I have finished. I tried to make it last as long as possible, reading it slowly, even though I wanted to rush to the end. Three Pines, such picturesque village, I would love to live there, if it was real of course. I mentioned that to someone and they said, Yes, but they have alot of
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murders for such a small town. True, I had to laugh, but it is the characters, thd the people that live there, and the way they care for each other, even the demented poet Ruth.

Well, this time no murder in the village. Instead Gamachehe and Myrna, arrive separately, not knowing the other was coming, at a tumbled down farmhouse. They are tasked, along with another new arrival, with a very strange request. Despite their doubts, they are intrigued and accept. This brings them into a mystery over 160 years old and bearing a famous name. Also of course, is the remnants from the last novel, missing drugs and a suspended Gamache.

This may well be my favorite entry, so far in this series. Trademark humor, tenderness, and of course some great investigative ability is shown. Gamache and his complicated character is fully didplayed. A few new characters too, and one that attaches to another, will be very surprising indeed. At books end, just when explanations are given, the cases wrapped up nicely or in some cases not, we are presented with x most unexpected zinger. Now I wonder just where the next book will take us. So I wait.

ARC from Minotaur books.
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LibraryThing member brangwinn
Thank you, Louise Penny for continuing Chief Inspector Gamache’s forays. Thank you for continuing to let us eavesdrop on the residents of Three Pines. Thank you for creating a strong, understanding Inspector who gives people a second chance. Thank you for a very satisfying ending.
LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
In the tail of the last Gamache, the suspended Superintendent must make reparations for the drugs let on the streets in Montréal. In a parallel story, siblings and families fight over a mythical inheritance. Penny keeps us in suspense the entire time, alternatively in the maze of the finance world
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and the underbelly of the city. She's a masterful storyteller, right down to the last pages that reserve a surprise, way out in the tiny village of Three Pines. With every new book, Penny startles us and does not disappoint.
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LibraryThing member Doondeck
Another good read by Penny. How many times will Gamache change jobs?
LibraryThing member smik
What better way to end my year's reading than with an excellent novel in a much loved series by a much loved author? I was worried that I wouldn't remember enough of what happened in the previous title in the series, which had brought Armand Gamache to his current situation, suspended from his
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position of head of the Sûreté du Québec. But the author takes such good care of the reader, with gentle reminders and subtle re-capping.

As with so many books in the series, we have a dual headed plot. At the end of the previous novel Gamache had taken the decision not to prevent the release of a new drug into North America and Canada. The cartel which has possession of the drug has not yet released it and Gamache has been suspended and is undergoing investigation. Most of the drug shipment has been recaptured but there is still some in Montreal still to be found. Its release will have disastrous consequences.

Almost a light relief, the second main plot sees Gamache and two others named as "liquidators" (executors) in the will of a woman whom he is convinced he has never met. "Baroness", Bertha Baumgartner, has left a bizarre will, based on a family legend that involves millions, some property, and a title, none of which seem to exist. In the process of investigating the background to the will, Gamache uncovers embezzlement and corruption at breathtaking levels.

An excellent read. I'm not sure whether there will be another in this series. If not, what a fitting conclusion!

As you'll see from the list below, I have read all the novels in this series.
My recommendation - read them in order! You won't regret it.
My average rating is just under 5.0.

Part of what has kept me reading the series is the excellent characterisation. Each of the characters has been built up carefully with wonderful descriptions, not the least Gamache himself.

I've also read
1. Still Life (2005)
2. Dead Cold (2006)
The above were read before this blog was begun.

4.5, THE HANGMAN - a novella
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LibraryThing member gypsysmom
There is no doubt that this book takes place in Canada. It's a credit to Louise Penny that she doesn't try to set her books in a generic location which might seem more familiar to her readers. Like any good Canadian novel set in the winter Kingdom of the Blind opens with a blizzard. And things
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continue to stay stormy, at least metaphorically, for the rest of the book.

Gamache is on suspension for the things that occurred in the last book, Glass Houses, which included letting a large amount of carfentinal disappear. Jean-Guy Beauvoir was initially suspended as well but he is back in service as the acting head of Homicide. Isabelle Lacoste who was shot in the head in the last book is still at home recovering. Gamache is out in the stormy weather because he received a letter from a notary asking him to come to a remote farm house. Soon after he gets there Myrna Landers, the bookshop owner from Three Pines, also arrives and then a young man in a beatup truck turns up (Benedict Pouliot). They go in to the house to meet Lucien Mercier, the notary who sent them the letter. He (eventually) tells them that Bertha Baumgartner, former owner of the house, has died and named the three of them liquidators of her estate. This is a surprise since none of them had met or even heard of her before. The will contains even more surprises in the form of multi-million dollar bequests to each of the deceased's children. Since the storm is worsening all four hustle out of the farm house and back to Three Pines while they can still do so. With no power they can't do much until the storm passes so there is a quiet interlude while they try to figure out who Bertha Baumgartner was and why she thought she had millions to bequeath. In that regard Ruth Zardo, the cantankerous local poet, helps out by recalling the former cleaning lady that used to insist on being called The Baroness. When the roads finally open Gamache and crew can finally meet her three children, Anthony, Caroline and Hugo. Before that meeting can take place Gamache has to go to the Surete Training Academy to discuss what will happen to Cadet Amanda Choquette. Drugs had been found in her room and although she denies they are hers she is a former addict and prostitute. It appears that just when she might have turned her life around she reverted to her old ways. Gamache and the head of the Academy agree that she must be thrown out of the Academy. At Anthony Baumgartner's home Gamache, Myrna and Benedict learn that Bertha was descended from an Austrian named Baron Kinderoth. Baron Kinderoth had created mayhem when he died by leaving his estate to both of his twin children. For 130 years that estate has been in limbo while the Austrian courts determine who should succeed to the title and the estate. It is possible that Bertha was somewhat correct in her valuation of her estate if the court decided in her ancestor's favour. This is all very fascinating but the case takes a macabre turn when Anthony Baumgartner's body is discovered in the wreckage of the farm house and it is determined that he was murdered. Juxtaposed with the murder investigation is Gamache's determination to find the opiods that disappeared before they can be released into the hands of the drug addicts of Montreal. It all comes down to the wire for both investigations and in the aftermath things will never be the same for Gamache and Beauvoir.

One of the things that I appreciate in Louise Penny's books is how she interleaves moments of beauty and fun with the serious investigations. Although I don't want to spoil the book let me just say that due to reading this book I now have a picture in my mind's eye of our PM, Justin Trudeau, that I will never lose.
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LibraryThing member BrianEWilliams
Hooray! Louise Penny has regained her footing and produced a brilliant Armand Gamache novel.
It's a busy story with a large cast of characters, held together by an unwavering focus on Gamache which moves it at a brisk pace to a soft landing with a satisfying finish. An intricate plot dominates it
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but does not overwhelm the balance of story, characters and sense of place. Highly recommended as an introduction to the Gamache series.
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LibraryThing member Baochuan
This is an solid murde mystery with quite a twist. The characters are well developed at this book, however, the book may threw new readers off, you will need to read the previous books to follow the story line.
LibraryThing member Gingermama
As always, Penny skillfully weaves multiple subplots to make a satisfying whole. This series grows stronger with every new entry as these characters and the village of Three Pines become more beloved.


Audie Award (Finalist — Best Male Narrator — 2020)
Agatha Award (Nominee — Contemporary Novel — 2018)
Lefty Award (Nominee — Mystery — 2019)




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