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This murder mystery novel (336 pages) was published in January of 2009 by Minotaur Books. The book takes you to rural Quebec, Canada. Melissa read A Rule Against Murder and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is compassionate, intelligent, measured in his speech, generous with his praise, quick to accept responsibility for cock-ups, and — not for nothing — always smells like sandalwood.
Gamache, his friends, family, and assorted villains have starred in 14 books to date (no need to read in order). The best-selling novels are adored for the intricate — but not far-fetched — plots, lyrical writing, and characters that feel so real, you expect to meet them if you visit Canada.
Three Pines, the fictional village where Gamache lives with his adored and adorable wife Reine-Marie, is decidedly twee, but the vicious crimes that he investigates there are not. In this fourth book in the series, he and his wife leave Three Pines — and the usual cast of characters — to celebrate their wedding anniversary at the Manoir Bellechasse, a remote and luxurious mansion on a lake, surrounded by forest.
Unfortunately, the Finney family — rich, cultured, horrible people — has also gathered at the inn for a family reunion. During a storm that disrupts the stifling heat and humidity of the summer, one of the Finneys is killed. Inspector Gamache senses murder, and the suspect pool is rich with prospects, including the family members who throw daggers with words and glares, and the Bellechasse’s staff: chef, maître d’, and the imperious owner herself.
With this installment, Louise Penny deviates from her usual narrative approach to pay homage to golden-age, locked-room mysteries. Imagine an Agatha Christie mystery, but with probing examination of the characters’ psyches. It’s brisk, exciting, and lush with atmosphere, as it explores the dark and light in people’s hearts.
Chief Inspector Gamache knew one thing about hate. It bound you forever to the person you hated. Murder wasn’t committed out of hate, it was done as a terrible act of freedom. To finally rid yourself of the burden. — Louise Penny
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