There's always a log fire burning and it's always story time in the charming mysteries Louise Penny sets in sleepy Three Pines…While constant readers may think they know all there is to know about its eccentric villagers, Penny is a great one for springing surprises.
The New York Times
When the body of an unknown old man turns up in a bistro in Agatha-winner Penny's excellent fifth mystery set in the Quebec village of Three Pines (after Jan. 2009's A Rule Against Murder), Chief Insp. Armand Gamache investigates. At a cabin in the woods apparently belonging to the dead man, Gamache and his team are shocked to discover the remote building is full of priceless antiquities, from first edition books to European treasures thought to have disappeared during WWII. When suspicion falls on one of Three Pines' most prominent citizens, it's up to Gamache to sift through the lies and uncover the truth. Though Gamache is undeniably the focus, Penny continues to develop her growing cast of supporting characters, including newcomers Marc and Dominique Gilbert, who are converting an old house—the site of two murders—into a spa. Readers keen for another glimpse into the life of Three Pines will be well rewarded. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Having won numerous mystery prizes, including the prestigious Arthur Ellis and Anthony awards for her debut, Still Life, Canadian author Penny has only gotten better with each succeeding novel. Her fifth in the series is the finest of all. Featuring series protagonist Chief Inspector Gamache, this literary mystery explores the ways in which sins of the past have a way of resurrecting themselves, wreaking havoc upon their perpetrators, and, unfortunately, the innocent. Thus, when a hermit is slain in the woods near an isolated village in rural Quebec, secrets surface, unmasking characters who have adopted benign personae to conceal their questionable past deeds. Fortunately, sagacious Gamache possesses the acumen to peel away the layers of deceit and to expose the truth. VERDICT This superb novel will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated literary mysteries in the tradition of Donna Leon. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 6/1/09; 100,000-copy first printing; library marketing campaign.]—Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA
Chief Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Surete is again called to restore order to the tiny Quebecois hamlet of Three Pines. Olivier and Gabri, gay owners of the Bistro and B&B, insist they that they don't know the dead man and can't imagine how he came to be lying on their floor. That's not quite the truth, but it's merely the setup for the first of many surprises. The real story will unravel for Gamache and his subordinates Beauvoir and Lacoste in startling ways. These include the discovery that the corpse has been moved three times by two different people; the return of a father declared dead over 20 years ago; a word woven into a spider's web; and the disclosure of several wood carvings emanating evil that require Gamache to fly to British Columbia and inspect totem poles. Priceless antiques sequestered in a hermit's cabin and sorrowful tales of Czech citizens cheated of their belongings will come to light before Gamache, to his considerable distress, will have to arrest a friend. Penny (A Rule Against Murder, 2009, etc.) is a world-class storyteller. If you don't want to move to Montreal with Gamache as your neighbor-or better yet, relocate to Three Pines and be welcomed into its community of eccentrics-you have sawdust in your veins, which must be very uncomfortable. First printing of 100,000
From the Publisher
“Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie, [but] it sells her short.” Booklist (starred review)
“An intricate, almost mythic plot, superb characters, and rich, dark humor.” People
“Magic . . . [with] an elegance and depth not often seen.” The New York Times Book Review
“If you don’t give your heart to Gamache, you may have no heart to give.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A treat for the mind and a lesson for the soul, this is a novel full of surprises.” Richmond Times-Dispatch
Read an Excerpt
People lied all the time in murder investigations.
If the first victim of war was the truth, some of
the first victims of a murder investigation were
people’s lies. The lies they told themselves, the
lies they told each other....
Gabri approached carrying a tray with four steaming plates.
Within minutes they were sitting around the fireplace eating
fettuccini with shrimp and scallops sautéed in garlic and olive oil.
Fresh bread was produced and glasses of dry white wine poured.
As they ate, they talked about the Labor Day long weekend,
about the chestnut trees and conkers. About kids returning to
school and the nights drawing in.
The bistro was empty, except for them. But it seemed
crowded to the Chief Inspector. With the lies they’d been told, and
the lies being manufactured and waiting.