"There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen)
Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him.
When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.
As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines? And at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?
©2013 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I hesitated in buying this, because I didn't finish the last Gamache mystery; it just didn't interest me. This one, though, is gripping and nearly impossible to stop listening to. Louise Penny has done a beautiful job of plotting, weaving the two plots together, and cutting back and forth between them. She has struck a great balance of Gamache, the mysteries, and the Three Pines people. I love that Penny continues to develop the Three Pines characters. Going deeper into their pasts, as well as into the characters of Gamache and his team, is a major strength of the series.
This is the first Louise Penny mystery I've listened to; I read the rest of them, except for the last. Ralph Cosham is as close to a perfect narrator for these books as I can imagine. Now, of course, I need to see what else he has done. I love finding a great narrator!
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
It's very hard to actually rate this book. I really didn't want to read this since I hated the last book so much, but I was trying to get the characters I had grown so fond of out of their predicaments. I wanted to see things resolved and happy. I have to tell you it's a long way to get there. It took me forever to listen to this book, and I had to be convinced by a friend to restart it after bogging down mid way. One of the things I always liked about Gamache was his presence, how he was always calm and courteous but strong. In this book, we get weepy, cranky, beaten down, all sorts of Gamaches that just made the book less enjoyable than the old ones. I suppose I shouldn't complain about Jean Guy being so frustrating and tedious since that is probably an accurate portrayal of life with an addict, but still it isn't fun to read. I did find the mystery surrounding the murder Gamache is investigating to be somewhat interesting though it does peter out at the end. Unlike previous books the investigation of the murder isn't the main point and we don't really see it wrap up. I did guess some of the things that were going to happen, and I usually don't. I suppose I am glad that I forced myself through to the end to see happier times for all our beloved characters. You'll probably be happy you did too, but it really is a long way to get there.
The only bad thing about an Inspector Gamache mystery is that writing this good takes time! I bought this the day it came out, started it a day or two later, stayed up half the night, finished it in about 24 hours. Now I have wait just about forever for another Louise Penny book.
A one-sentence summary of the entire series:
On her website, Louise Penny says that the one thing she wants readers to take away is this: "Goodness exists."
WARNING: You absolutely MUST read this series in order, or the characters and situations will not make sense. One reason readers keep coming back for more is that the books are built around "real" people who grow and change, suffer serious consequences for bad decisions, enter and break relationships, develop some very odd eccetricities.
This volume finds Inspector Gamache involved with a death in Montreal that takes him back to Three Pines in the Christmas season. His carefully built detective division has been dismantled, cutting him off from his usual cade of hand-picked associates. Conspiracty, frustration, sadness and anxiety pile up as Gamache tries to untangle historical threads on several fronts.
As for the narration, it is unthinkable that anyone but Raoph Cosham could read a Three Pnes story -- he IS Inspector Gamache!
If you have enjoyed this series, this ranks right up there with Still Life and A Rule Against Murder (well, they are all my favorites). This could be a stand alone novel, but I think it may be best to savour them one at a time in order. The joy comes with getting to know and love your friends as you listen to these books. I was shocked to find out in the closing interview that Ralph Cosham reads these books cold and unpracticed, his narration is a masterpiece. My only disappointment is that after months of waiting, I did listen to this one in a day (painting my house, I made great progress), and now I have to wait for the next one.
Terrific storyline and a great ending, tight and awesome story telling, LP has hit it out of the park again. Make a cup of tea (or get the paint brushes out) and enjoy!
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I'm not sure why I'm so hooked on this series, but I am. I love the writing style. I love it that they're set in Quebec. I love the quirky characters and that small town vibe. All of it together is just magical.
I've enjoyed every book in the series, but this one is really terrific. There's a flow to it that keeps you so engaged from beginning to end. It's the kind of book you want to listen to again the moment it's over.
It's hard to know what to credit more - Ralph Cosham's narration or Louise Penny's writing. Cosham is simply the perfect choice for this author. He IS Gamache. Then again, Penny has created these wonderful, complex characters that Cosham gives voice to. Without them, he would not have a vehicle. Together, they're splendid.
Thank you, Louise Penny, for writing the most riveting, moving, suspenseful, and beautiful book of the series, and thank you for ALL the books in this series. Thank you, Ralph Cosham, for bringing these characters to life in my head with such skill and care. How I love them all! There are moments when I held my breath in fear and moments when I laughed out loud. Thank you both for creating a world and a group of people whom I feel honored to know and to have spent so much time with. It was time well-spent. But now the book is over - what'll I do now? Guess I'll just have to start the series over again! For those just discovering the series -- read them in order, PLEASE! You'll enjoy them so much more as you get to know the characters and hear the plot lines develop from book to book. I envy people just discovering Three Pines for the first time -- lucky you to have stumbled into this magical little village. Enjoy!
The writing is wonderful and the story offers an interesting glimpse into the corruption of power and the power of compassion.
This book is excellent, however, I think it is made richer by reading the previous books in the Three Pines series. This would give the listener a deeper understanding into the nuances and hearts of these wonderful characters. Louise Penny's books are a reading and listening pleasure!
History, historical fiction and mysteries are my faves, but a fan of all genres.
The whole series is good, the imagery of Three Pines lives on in my mind....think I'd like to live there if it existed and minus the murders....;). Every character is slightly enigmatic and grumpy Ruth never fails to make me laugh which is unique in a murder mystery series. Thumbs Up for this one and the rest of them.
I have read several of the Inspector Gamache stories and enjoyed them all. This was very intense and revived my interest in the series.It was tightly plotted and there were surprises along the way. It had the feeling of tying up loose ends, but still left hope that Louise Penny would continue the series, perhaps in a new direction. I don't think I would listen to it again, but I might borrow it from the library and read it.
I think Mr. Cosham has a good voice for the main character, Inspector Gamache. However, there were other things that interfered with my enjoyment of the story. He often sounds like he has a mouth full of mashed potatoes. Because he reads "cold", (doesn't pre-read the material), he makes virtually no vocal distinction between characters. He also barely pauses from one section to the next, so it often took me a second to realize that the action had jumped from Three Pines to Montreal, or whatever. His pronunciation of French is pretty standard for an English person, but it really bothered me when he pronounced the name of famous hockey player Rocket Richard in the English way, rather than the French "RishARD". By the end of the book his reading was beginning to interfere with my enjoyment of the story. He seems to regard this cold reading as a benefit, because he is discovering the story along with the listener. I think a better prepared performance would have been more enjoyable.
This is for the fans who have kept up with the lives and travails of the characters in the entire series. I think it wouldn't make a lot of sense if you didn't know the back stories. The plot development and story line is one of the best of the last few in this series, with a good dramatically satisfying ending. The narrator has become Inspector Gamache, and he does a good job with the other characters as well.
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