Joanne’s Mystery Picks

916wb7vjlhlKINGDOM OF THE BLIND by Louise Penny

The repercussions of the events that took place in the previous novel in this series (Glass Houses) are still being felt as we return to Three Pines, six months later.  Armand Gamache remains suspended from his job as head of the Sûreté du Québec while the investigation continues.

Like the other novels in this series, Kingdom of the Blind is a multi-layered story.  While Armand awaits his fate concerning his actions involving the drug cartels, he is presented with a new and puzzling situation.  He’s been chosen as one of three executors of the will of an elderly woman whom he has never met.  The provisions of the will are so bizarre that the woman’s competence at the time it was written is called into question.  Before much progress can be made, a body is found which throws a more ominous light on the whole situation.

While Gamache investigates the background of this woman he is informed that a major influx of opioids is about to hit the streets of the inner city of Montreal – those same drugs that were involved in the case that got him suspended.

Armand must use all of his guile to thwart the drug dealers from saturating the city with deadly narcotics while putting his life, and those of other officers, on the line.

5 Daggers
Joanne gives this “5 daggers out of 5”.

51qbfmncfolCARELESS LOVE by Peter Robinson

The body of a young woman is found in a car recently involved in an accident.  The car had been tagged with a POLICE AWARE sign indicating that the accident had been investigated and that the car was waiting to be towed.  There was no body in the vehicle at the time of the investigation so the presence of this young woman’s body is a mystery.  Not far away from this incident, the body of a well-dressed man is found in a gully.  Are the two incidents connected?

Banks and his team are tasked with finding everything they can about each of these people and determining whether or not they were victims of foul play.

I’m usually chomping at the bit to read a new Inspector Banks novel and began this one with great anticipation.  However, it quickly became stale and flat.  It seems that Banks has undergone a personality change – he’s become flippant, at times vulgar, and easily distracted from the task at hand.   His occasional references to this or that musician has segued into paragraphs about the artist and his/her music, becoming tedious and irritating.  Even Annie Cabbot seems to treat her job as a lark.

With a weak plot and characters who don’t live up to their reputation, Robinson’s latest mystery left me completely unsatisfied.

3 Daggers
Joanne gives this “3 daggers out of 5”

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

33602101GLASS HOUSES by Louise Penny

The residents of Three Pines have had their share of grief in the past and have recovered.  But how will they ever recover after the events that take place in this novel?

It all starts with a mysterious figure, hooded and clothed in black, who takes up a position in the village center of Three Pines.   The figure neither gestures nor moves yet conveys a sense of evil that is almost palpable.

Armand is asked to intervene, but what can he do when no crime is being committed?  And then someone is murdered –  and the flood-gates open!

The novel covers a six-month span between the events of the murder and the trial of the accused.  During this time, Armand Gamache struggles with his conscience as he knows that he was the catalyst for many of the events that unfolded during this time.

Penny has woven an intricate plot that supersedes anything that she has written before.  Her characters are as real to us as if they lived right next door and we readers are sitting next to them in that courtroom as the trial unfolds.

An amazing mystery from this incredible writer!

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

28220985A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

If I were to describe this book in one word, that word would be “brilliant”.

I can’t think of a more powerful, well-crafted novel that I’ve read in many a long day.

It all starts with an old map – found in the walls of the bistro in Three Pines – and gifted to Armand Gamache when he decides to come out of retirement by taking on the task of commanding the Sureté Academy.  How could he ever know that his vision for the future of the Academy would be sculpted by a tragic moment in his own childhood?

The past moves along like a slow freight-train, mile after mile, day after day, gradually gaining momentum until it reaches its maximum speed and crashes into a solid force, with catastrophic results.  There are casualties; there is a profound sadness; and there is reconciliation and forgiveness.

If one can admire a fictional character, then I hold Armand Gamache in the highest regard.  Louise Penny has created a character with such compassion and understanding that anyone would be honored to know him.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

nature of the beastThe Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny

Every time I pick up a new Louise Penny novel, I feel like I’ve come home: home to familiar characters; home to Olivier’s bistro with apple and parsnip soup; home to the B&B with luscious, deep eiderdowns on the beds. And now Three Pines is home to someone else, too: Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie. When tragedy strikes and their tranquil peace is disrupted, they discover that “Evil” has also taken up residence in their community.

There follows a tale of misguided loyalties, secrets kept for too long, and people who are not whom they appear to be. In the capacity as an advisor to Jean-Guy and Chief Inspector Isabelle Lacoste, Gamache begins to unwind this tangled tale and wonders, if he had acted sooner, if he could have prevented the events that then followed.

In this novel, Penny shows us how the past can affect every day of one’s present, and she does it admirably.