Protagonist: Armand Gamache
I love Autumn for several reasons: the beautiful, rich colors on trees, the smell of wood smoke in the air, and a new Armand Gamache novel. Reading one of Louise Penny's books has become a Fall ritual for me - and this one I've been eagerly awaiting for a year.
A year ago, The Brutal Telling ended in a bit of a cliffhanger. Could our heroic, intelligent, honorable Gamache gotten it wrong, sending an innocent man to jail? Well, Penny answers that question in this book. But that's only one of three story lines. And it is Gamache's second-in-command, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, who goes to Three Pines to unofficially ask questions.
Gamache, meanwhile, is in Quebec, visiting his mentor and recuperating, physically and emotionally, from a police operation that went horribly wrong, killing several agents and wounding Gamache. But when a man's body is found inside the city's Literary and Historical Society's library, where Gamache has been spending time, the Sûreté's chief inspector is pulled into the investigation.
The third story line, an emotionally wrenching look into the operation gone wrong, is revealed to us slowly. Gamache is haunted by the losses, and unable to forgive himself. Penny makes these characters seem so real that you want to be there by their side, consoling them. This is a powerful story, a bit unlike Penny's previous novels, and maybe her best to date.