Tag: A Three Pines Mystery

All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

Book Summary

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life. 

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art. 

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades. 

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized. 

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” — Shakespeare

Let me say this, if Agatha Christie is considered to be the Queen of the Whodunit, then Louise Penny truly is (IMHO) the undisputed Empress of this genre. There is no doubt in my mind that Penny is the master of her art, as we can see quite clearly in ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE, her 16th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. 

From the opening sequence of a near tragic event to the closing paragraphs at the end, we are taken on an exploration and plumb the depths of human nature and emotion. From what makes people do what they do, to who they are, and what—throughout their lives—shape them. Penny has a finger on this pulse and exposes raw nerves and brutal emotion with carefully written prose, cleverly weaving so many seemingly random threads and events together that we’re never sure who is on the side of the angels, and who—exactly—all the devils of the book’s title are.

Masterful is not a word I use lightly, but Penny has gone from strength to strength with this series, building upon her characters with every book. So that in All the Devils are Here, we reach what felt like, a culmination of all her hard work. She’s created a world so utterly believable, we’re absorbed in to it on so many levels. It feels real, these characters feel real and, because of that, we connect with the unfolding events and the people caught up in them, in a very intimate way. 

From the moment we see the truck hit Gamache’s godfather, Stephen, after the family’s celebratory dinner, we know we are in for one hell of a roller coaster ride of torn emotions, frayed nerves, revelation, and genuine terror. 

We have to trust in Penny to guide us, along with Gamache, through a politically charged minefield of lies, corruption, and trail of murders stretching from the days the Nazis captured Paris through to the present day. And here is were—for me at least—her skill shines above the rest. Her ability to set the stage, carry us along at a blistering pace, absorb us into the tangled web of deceit and conflict, to blindside us as we try to figure out what’s going on, and then, up the ante by putting Gamache’s life on the line, so that it almost breaks us into tiny little pieces, emotionally and mentally.

Heart stopping, raw, emotional, this cleverly written whodunit is an outstanding and thrilling read on so many levels. Truly, Louise Penny at her utter best!

ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE
Chief Inspector Gamache #16
Louise Penny
Minotaur Books, Sept 2020
Hardback, 448 pages
Mystery | Suspense

My Latest Book Haul

Oh, I do love to go book shopping and because I love to buy books as much as I love to read books, I have to temper myself. And while I haven’t actually set myself a budget, I do try to only order 3-4 books a month, given that’s usually how many I read. That said, however, because of this damn virus, and all but being housebound, I am reading more, and yes, therefore, buying more.

What can I say, we’re all probably as bad as one another and why not. Who needs an excuse but hell, I’ll take this one and run with it. So this latest book haul includes:

All The Devils Are Here — Louise Penny

This is Louise Penny’s latest, and the sixteenth Three Pines Mystery (Sept, 2020) featuring the redoubtable Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. And, Toto, we’re no longer in Québec this time around, but the city of eternal light, Paris.

“On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.
When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.”

Slow Horses — Mick Herron

Oh, how I love me a good spy novel. I gobbled up a ton of John Le Carré back in the day, and then for dessert, consumed nearly all of Len Deighton’s series of books, Hook, Line, and Sinker. And then Game, Set, and Match. So I was happy to discover Mick Herron and the Slough House series.

“London, England: Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can’t be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.

River Cartwright, one such ‘slow horse,’ is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. But is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his own agenda.”

Bad Day At The Vulture Club — Vaseem Khan

Another favourite series of mine is the Baby Genesh Agency books by Vaseem Khan. Funny, whimsical, clever, and oh so endearing, not only because our erstwhile hero, Inspector Chopra─who has an elephant for a sidekick─but because the stories, set in Mumbai, India, are so very different to the usual run of the mill for a crime series.

The Parsees are among the oldest, most secretive and most influential communities in the city: respected, envied and sometimes feared.

When prominent industrialist Cyrus Zorabian is murdered on holy ground, his body dumped inside a Tower of Silence – where the Parsee dead are consumed by vultures – the police dismiss it as a random killing. But his daughter is unconvinced.

Chopra, uneasy at entering this world of power and privilege, is soon plagued by doubts about the case.

But murder is murder. And in Mumbai, wealth and corruption go in hand in hand, inextricably linking the lives of both high and low.

So, what do you think? Three more excellent reads to look forward to. And you, dear reader, what are you reading or looking forward to reading next?

Waiting on Wednesday

Today, for a change, I thought I would do a Waiting on Wednesday post for you, about a book I’m really anticipating. This is a weekly prompt to highlight and bring attention to upcoming releases that we’re anticipating and amped up for. This prompt is brought to you by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Of the many books on my Wish List, and yes, there are a few, the one that I’m really eager to get my hands on, at the moment, having just recently read Kingdom of the Blind, is ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE by Louise Penny. This will be her 16th book in the The Three Pines series featuring Armand Gamache. But, as the summary below tells us, Gamache is no longer in his beloved Québec, but has travelled further afield, and everything is not as it should be. But then again, when is it ever, in a Louise Penny book?

I am so excited about reading this one because Penny has taken Gamache outside of his familiar territory and comfort zone, and dumped him in what will be, I hope, one of Penny’s best books to date.

Book Summary

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit.  In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past.  His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE
by Louise Penny
Murder Mystery
Hardback | 448 pages
Sept 1 2020 by Minotaur Books

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Book Summary

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 named Benedict.

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, well into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip though his hands, in order to bring down the drug cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.

Enough narcotic to kill thousands—carfentanil—has disappeared into the inner city of 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 hiding there.

What I Thought

Once again, Louise Penny pulls out all the stops and gifts us with another insightful look into her characters, the village of Three Pines, and the thriving underbelly lurking down dark alleys and in the hidden corners of seedy Montreal, complete with two compelling storylines that deliver intrigue and murder in equal measure.

What’s so special about a Louise Penny Three Pines novel, are the complex nuanced characters, the display of camaraderie, the shared bonds of friendship, and sometimes, the not so subtle ribald humour. Plus the sheer complexity to her stories that draw you right into the narrative. Not satisfied with one or two threads, Penny’s novels are always layered and richly textured with wonderfully written detail. From the descriptions of the characters themselves, to their interactions with one another and the deliciously described food they eat. From the village of Three Pines dressed deceptively in winter snows, to the city of Montreal itself, all play a part bringing a Louise Penny novel to life.

The one thing you can be sure of, in a cut-throat world where anything goes and does happen, to the brutal world of drugs and murder, the one thing you can be sure of is Penny will always counterbalance the pain, grief, and abject horror. Three Pines will always be a welcomed respite with characters who have lived though and known pain, and understand that a community such as theirs survives not because of their idealism, or hope, but in the strength of their diversity. It’s through their flaws and failings we see, as Leonard Cohen wrote, how the light gets in.

In Penny’s own words the books are about “…the common yearning for community. For belonging. They’re about kindness, acceptance. Gratitude.” Wisdom and insight into human nature are infused into her books naturally and with such ease. She’s never preachy but gives us so much more to think about in life’s morally grey areas. And there’s always plenty of grey areas in a Penny novel. Why people lie, why people murder, motivation is not always money or prestige but sometimes bitter revenge. In Kingdom of the Blind, we have two very disturbing threads, one warped by the need for revenge, the other a the desperate need to stop deadly opioids from hitting the street. Both, in their own way, are going to destroy any number of people’s lives. 

Of course, on a much lighter note, we can’t forget to mention the poet Ruth Zardo’s duck, Rosa, who, like it’s owner, provides a great deal of the humour in a Penny novel, with her on-point commentary throughout, “… fuck, fuck, fuck …” And, after all, isn’t that just what a duck would say?

As a side note, it would be helpful to first read, Glass Houses, the preceding novel to Kingdom of the Blind, for further context.

All-in-all, this may very well turn out to be my favourite Louise Penny novel, ever. As always, this one comes highly recommended.

KINGDOM OF THE BLIND (Book 14)
by Louise Penny
Murder Mystery
Hardback, 389 pages
Nov 27 2018 by Minotaur Books