As you know, I’ve been on a binge of Louise Penny novel’s about Three Pines, a village near Montreal, with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete as the detective protagonist. This fourth novel, published in 2008, takes place a few miles away from three Pines, at a very out of the way luxurious manor house called Manoir Bellechasse.
These books are clearly now more than murder mysteries, and even more than most fiction, particularly serial fiction. We are now talking literature, a whole level up from the norm. The descriptions of place, of nature, are themselves rich, allowing us to walk those paths. Each character is complex, each phrase adds to the depth of our understanding, morals and lessons are unstated / understated, but clear. Tragedy at many levels is implicit in the work, and the puzzle itself grows clearly out of this particular time and place.
The Surete / police team is also complex, with motivations and reactions both hidden and understandable.
Plus the usual – I sure can’t figure out who the murder is, even though all the suspects have been paraded in front of me, the clues have been presented fairly.
An incredible series of books – I wish I wasn’t rushing through them, on the one hand. I want to experience all this depth and beauty on the other hand. Perhaps I’ll wait two years and read them all again. Four down, and only 5 more to go – with another due to be published in August of this year.