It's the height of summer, and the wealthy Finney family have gathered at the Manoir Bellechasse to pay tribute to their late father. But as the temperature rises, old secrets and bitter rivalries begin to surface. When the heat wave boils over into a mighty storm, a dead body is left in its wake. Chief Inspector Gamache, a guest at the Bellechasse, finds himself with a building full of suspects. With the hotel locked down, the murderer is trapped. But a cornered predator is always the most dangerous of all....
Coming soon: Book 5 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, The Brutal Telling. When Chief Inspector Gamache arrives in picturesque Three Pines, he steps into a village in chaos. A man has been found bludgeoned to death, and there is no sign of a weapon, a motive, or even the dead man's name. As Gamache and his colleagues start to dig under the skin of this peaceful haven for clues, they uncover a trail of stolen treasure, mysterious codes, and a shameful history that begins to shed light on the victim's identity - and points to a terrifying killer....
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Le livre est l'opium de l'Occident...
...and currently Louise Penny is my dealer.
What can you find to criticize about Chief Inspector Gamache? He's no Morse - brooding, rude, bibulous. He's no Poirot - rather vain, occasionally even ridiculous, given to reflecting the prejudices of his creator. He isn't even the irritating Sherlock Holmes, whose genius mitigates the many cruelties visited upon Watson as a result of his cocaine-fueled self-centredness and bizarre belief that the violin is a musical instrument. What faults does Gamache have (apart from the moustache, obviously)? After hearing at length and repeatedly of his gentleness, his unshakeable good manners, his concern for those about him, his tolerance of dissenting views, his generosity, you really long for someone to catch him alone in a wardrobe, gorging on the chocolates he doesn't want to share with anyone else, or breaking into the neighbours' house to steal their children's Christmas presents. Such a paragon should be a dull study, but Gamache for some reason is not. Apart from anything else, he's the perfect foil for the very imperfect characters surrounding him, and for his wife's knowing but gentle teasing. (If anyone deserves a chapter in "The Canterbury Tales", it's this wise and witty femme.) Perhaps he is one of those rare characters who brings out the most interesting aspects of the personality of others.
In this novel, his famed patience is tested to virtual destruction by the shenanigans of the Finney family, whose rudeness and arrogance border on sociopathic. When a murder is committed in the grounds of the beautiful country hotel where both they and the Gamaches are staying, the family engage in the kind of vicious bickering and backbiting which must have characterized the home life of Caligula. Will Gamache be thrown off the killer's scent by their distracting and hostile behaviour? Will he be overwhelmed and silenced as the skeleton is dragged from his own closet and made to dance for the entertainment of the Finneys? WIll the Canadian taxpayer be able to afford to feed and accommodate Gamache and his team, as they stuff themselves with one mouthwatering dish after another in between jumping at clues?
Normally I get irritated by conversations in books about nothing in particular -especially where they take place at a dinner table and food is being described. In this book, however, the conversations (whether on or off the subject of foul deeds) were funny and interesting. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments, when Penny's earthy sense of humour turns a simple exchange ("I've got something to show you...") into a polite version of a Benny Hill sketch.
As to the plot itself - as always, it twists and turns like Mick Jagger putting on his tights in the morning. It's a terrific read.
I have read the previous books in the series and am enjoying hearing the Canadian characters brought to life.
Ideal for those who like a more old fashioned style of detective story rather than the taut, violent psychological thrillers so common today.