The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #10)

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #10)

3.9 66
by Louise Penny

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Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads

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Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole."

While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache's help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There's power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it the land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

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Editorial Reviews

A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2014

There’s no surer crime magnet than a retired investigator. This beloved trope holds true in Louise Penny’s tenth Armand Gamache novel, which finds her former Chief Inspector of Homicide set happily adrift in small-town retirement. But when a neighbor with a hard-luck story and a missing husband asks him for help, he follows her back into the fray. This slow-burn mystery is studded with evocative descriptions of food and place, and laced with teasing questions of duty and morality. See all of the Best Fiction Books of 2014.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Chief Inspector Gamache Series, #10
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

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As Clara Morrow approached, she wondered if he’d repeat the same small gesture he’d done every morning.

It was so tiny, so insignificant. So easy to ignore. The first time.

But why did Armand Gamache keep doing it?

Clara felt silly for even wondering. How could it matter? But for a man not given to secrets, this gesture had begun to look not simply secretive, but furtive. A benign act that seemed to yearn for a shadow to hide in.

And yet here he was in the full light of the new day, sitting on the bench Gilles Sandon had recently made and placed on the brow of the hill. Stretched out before Gamache were the mountains, rolling from Québec to Vermont, covered in thick forests. The Rivière Bella Bella wound between the mountains, a silver thread in the sunlight.

And, so easy to overlook when faced with such grandeur, the modest little village of Three Pines lay in the valley.

Armand was not hiding from view. But neither was he enjoying it. Instead, each morning the large man sat on the wooden bench, his head bent over a book. Reading.

As she got closer, Clara Morrow saw Gamache do it again. He took off his half-moon reading glasses, then closed the book and slipped it into his pocket. There was a bookmark, but he never moved it. It remained where it was like a stone, marking a place near the end. A place he approached, but never reached.

Armand didn’t snap the book shut. Instead he let it fall, with gravity, closed. With nothing, Clara noticed, to mark his spot. No old receipt, no used plane or train or bus ticket to guide him back to where he’d left the story. It was as though it didn’t really matter. Each morning he began again. Getting closer and closer to the bookmark, but always stopping before he arrived.

And each morning Armand Gamache placed the slim volume into the pocket of his light summer coat before she could see the title.

She’d become slightly obsessed with this book. And his behavior.

She’d even asked him about it, a week or so earlier, when she’d first joined him on the new bench overlooking the old village.

“Good book?”


Armand Gamache had smiled as he said it, softening his blunt answer. Almost.

It was a small shove from a man who rarely pushed people away.

No, thought Clara, as she watched him in profile now. It wasn’t that he’d shoved her. Instead, he’d let her be, but had taken a step back himself. Away from her. Away from the question. He’d taken the worn book, and retreated.

The message was clear. And Clara got it. Though that didn’t mean she had to heed it.

*   *   *

Armand Gamache looked across to the deep green midsummer forest and the mountains that rolled into eternity. Then his eyes dropped to the village in the valley below them, as though held in the palm of an ancient hand. A stigmata in the Québec countryside. Not a wound, but a wonder.

Every morning he went for a walk with his wife, Reine-Marie, and their German shepherd Henri. Tossing the tennis ball ahead of them, they ended up chasing it down themselves when Henri became distracted by a fluttering leaf, or a black fly, or the voices in his head. The dog would race after the ball, then stop and stare into thin air, moving his gigantic satellite ears this way and that. Honing in on some message. Not tense, but quizzical. It was, Gamache recognized, the way most people listened when they heard on the wind the wisps of a particularly beloved piece of music. Or a familiar voice from far away.

Head tilted, a slightly goofy expression on his face, Henri listened, while Armand and Reine-Marie fetched.

All was right with the world, thought Gamache as he sat quietly in the early August sunshine.


Except for Clara, who’d taken to joining him on the bench each morning.

Was it because she’d noticed him alone up here, once Reine-Marie and Henri had left, and thought he might be lonely? Thought he might like company?

But he doubted that. Clara Morrow had become one of their closest friends and she knew him better than that.

No. She was here for her own reasons.

Armand Gamache had grown increasingly curious. He could almost fool himself into believing his curiosity wasn’t garden-variety nosiness but his training kicking in.

All his professional life Chief Inspector Gamache had asked questions and hunted answers. And not just answers, but facts. But, much more elusive and dangerous than facts, what he really looked for were feelings. Because they would lead him to the truth.

And while the truth might set some free, it landed the people Gamache sought in prison. For life.

Armand Gamache considered himself more an explorer than a hunter. The goal was to discover. And what he discovered could still surprise him.

How often had he questioned a murderer expecting to find curdled emotions, a soul gone sour? And instead found goodness that had gone astray.

He still arrested them, of course. But he’d come to agree with Sister Prejean that no one was as bad as the worst thing they’d done.

Armand Gamache had seen the worst. But he’d also seen the best. Often in the same person.

He closed his eyes and turned his face to the fresh morning sun. Those days were behind him now. Now he could rest. In the hollow of the hand. And worry about his own soul.

No need to explore. He’d found what he was looking for here in Three Pines.

Aware of the woman beside him, he opened his eyes but kept them forward, watching the little village below come to life. He saw his friends and new neighbors leave their homes to tend to their perennial gardens or go across the village green to the bistro for breakfast. He watched as Sarah opened the door to her boulangerie. She’d been inside since before dawn, baking baguettes and croissants and chocolatine, and now it was time to sell them. She paused, wiping her hands on her apron, and exchanged greetings with Monsieur Béliveau, who was just opening his general store. Each morning for the past few weeks, Armand Gamache had sat on the bench and watched the same people do the same thing. The village had the rhythm, the cadence, of a piece of music. Perhaps that’s what Henri heard. The music of Three Pines. It was like a hum, a hymn, a comforting ritual.

His life had never had a rhythm. Each day had been unpredictable and he had seemed to thrive on that. He’d thought that was part of his nature. He’d never known routine. Until now.

Gamache had to admit to a small fear that what was now a comforting routine would crumble into the banal, would become boring. But instead, it had gone in the other direction.

He seemed to thrive on the repetition. The stronger he got, the more he valued the structure. Far from being limiting, imprisoning, he found his daily rituals liberating.

Turmoil shook loose all sorts of unpleasant truths. But it took peace to examine them. Sitting in this quiet place in the bright sunshine, Armand Gamache was finally free to examine all the things that had fallen to the ground. As he had fallen.

He felt the slight weight and bulk of the book in his pocket.

Below them, Ruth Zardo limped from her run-down cottage, followed by Rosa, her duck. The elderly woman looked around, then glanced up the dirt road out of town. Up, up the dusty path, Gamache could see her old steel eyes travel. Until they met his. And locked on.

She lifted her veined hand in greeting. And, like hoisting the village flag, Ruth raised one unwavering finger.

Gamache bowed slightly in acknowledgment.

All was right with the world.


He turned to the disheveled woman beside him.

Why was Clara here?

*   *   *

Clara looked away. She couldn’t bring herself to meet his eyes. Knowing what she was about to do.

She wondered if she should speak to Myrna first. Ask her advice. But she’d decided not to, realizing that would just be shifting responsibility for this decision.

Or, more likely, thought Clara, she was afraid Myrna would stop her. Tell her not to do it. Tell her it was unfair and even cruel.

Because it was. Which was why it had taken Clara this long.

Every day she’d come here, determined to say something to Armand. And every day she’d chickened out. Or, more likely, the better angels of her nature were straining on the reins, yanking her back. Trying to stop her.

And it had worked. So far.

Every day she made small talk with him, then left, determined not to return the next day. Promising herself, and all the saints and all the angels and all the gods and goddesses, that she would not go back up to the bench the next morning.

And next morning, as though by magic, a miracle, a curse, she felt the hard maple beneath her bum. And found herself looking at Armand Gamache. Wondering about that slim volume in his pocket. Looking into his deep brown, thoughtful eyes.

He’d gained weight, which was good. It showed Three Pines was doing its job. He was healing here. He was tall, and a more robust frame suited him. Not fat, but substantial. He limped less from his wounds, and there was more vitality to his step. The gray had left his face, but not his head. His wavy hair was now more gray than brown. By the time he was sixty, in just a few years, he’d be completely gray, Clara suspected.

His face showed his age. It was worn with cares and concerns and worries. With pain. But the deepest crevices were made by laughter. Around his eyes and mouth. Mirth, etched deep.

Chief Inspector Gamache. The former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec.

But he was also Armand. Her friend. Who’d come here to retire from that life, and all that death. Not to hide from the sorrow, but to stop collecting more. And in this peaceful place to look at his own burdens. And to begin to let them go.

As they all had.

Clara got up.

She couldn’t do it. She could not unburden herself to this man. He had his own to carry. And this was hers.

“Dinner tonight?” she asked. “Reine-Marie asked us over. We might even play some bridge.”

It was always the plan, and yet they rarely seemed to get to it, preferring to talk or sit quietly in the Gamaches’ back garden as Myrna walked among the plants, explaining which were weeds and which were perennials, coming back year after year. Long lived. And which flowers were annuals. Designed to die after a magnificent, short life.

Gamache rose to his feet, and as he did Clara saw again the writing carved into the back of the bench. It hadn’t been there when Gilles Sandon had placed the bench. And Gilles claimed not to have done it. The writing had simply appeared, like graffiti, and no one had owned up to it.

Armand held out his hand. At first Clara thought he wanted to shake it good-bye. A strangely formal and final gesture. Then she realized his palm was up.

He was inviting her to place her hand in his.

She did. And felt his hand close gently. Finally, she looked into his eyes.

“Why are you here, Clara?”

She sat, suddenly, and felt again the hard wood of the bench, not so much supporting her as stopping her fall.

Copyright © 2014 by Three Pines Creations, Inc.

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The Long Way Home (Armand Gamache Series #10) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
BandTeacher More than 1 year ago
So, after 'How The Light Gets In', how does the author keep going after Gamache's retirement? Well, there are many other strong characters in Three Pines, and they are also featured in "The Long Way Home". Gamache is approached by a Three Pinds friend who is looking for a missing person who may not wish to be found. Gamache agrees to help. Reine-Marie, his wife, has mixed emotions, as do others who are close. Louise Penny did not disappoint me. So much of the novel covers the journey to solving problems, instead of the destination. Penny's deep insights into the human mind, loving each character no matter how flawed, make the journey deep as well as mystery-satisfying. If you have read the first 9, you already know there is as much pain as joy, if not more so, but that the journey is worth it. Even for a wimp like me, who hesitated to read the 9th book because the end of the 8th was so dark.
the-PageTurner More than 1 year ago
I have loved this series. But I was so disappointed with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually love Louse Penny's books, but this one was a bit disappointing.  It didn't really hold my attention.  I skipped over a lot of parts after a while just to get to the end (which was better than rest of book) If I had known it would be  below par for her, I would probably have read a library copy instead of purchasing the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My wife and I have read and taken delight in every book in Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series, especially anticipating the publication of the most recent addition, "The Long Way Home". Sadly, I must report great disappointment with the plot of this otherwise chatty and charming effort. Not only is it confusing from time to time; sometimes, it is downright incredible. On the plus side, however, Ms. Penny gives us - her faithful readers - some longed for insights into the character of the aged poet, Ruth, as well as encouraging glimpses of Gamache and Reine-Marie in their retirement in Three Pines. Nevertheless, the travelog Penny takes us on in search of the missing Peter Morrow proves often tedious, almost pointless, despite rich descriptions of the St. Lawrence River basin. My instinct after reading is that Penny is setting us up for the beginning of the end, both of her beloved Three Pines villagers and the series itself.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
Inspector Gamache gives me courage and hope, just as the series inspires me to try harder to enjoy life. Clara's husband, Peter, has been gone for over a year, and Clara worries he may be in danger. Clara, Myrna, Armand, and Guy begin a journey in search of Peter. The trip will cement the ties among this group and the people left in Three Pines. Louise Penny presents a trip filled with beauty, danger, jealousy, love, and loyalty. The journey seems a descent into the levels of hell and the chance of finding paradise. The story alludes to the Greek Muses as an inspiration for creation, but can the Muse also cause destruction when not fulfilled. Vivid scenery and characters make the story realistic. As usual, I applaud the craftsmanship of Louise Penny.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
Inspector Gamache has retired and is living a quiet life in Three Pines with his wife, but his soul is still pondering all that has happened to him recently.  While daily reading about the "sin sick soul" from a book his father had been reading the last time Gamache saw him, Clara gets him to go on a searching expedition to find her husband, Peter, who should have returned home after a year's planned separation.  A small group from Three Pines follows these two around all the places that Peter has reportedly been traveling.  While doing so, they ponder life's meaning, art, and the mythical "tenth muse". Louise Penny's writing is always beautiful, as she can describe things and turn a phrase as few others can do.  I have truly loved her past books, but this one definitely left me wanting in the subject matter area.  There was much too much philosophizing about art and artists.  I can see how this would intrigue Penny, as she is a true literary artist, but it was too much to really be enjoyable for me.  There was very little action until the last couple chapters in the book.   Had I not been listening to the Audible version of this book--which was expertly done--I might have only given this book three stars. Having said that, the previous books in this series were so wonderful, that I'll give this book a pass and look forward to the next adventures of Inspector Gamache and all the other quirky characters from Three Pines. 
Kuzlin More than 1 year ago
The Long Way Home is the 10th book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. In this story, Armand Gamache has retired to picturesque Three Pines for both healing and to discover peace in his heart. But one of the residents, although reluctant to bother him, finally comes to him with her problem. Clara and her husband, Peter, had been having marital problems and finally they decided on a one year trial separation. However, he was to come home to her on the first anniversary of this separation and as of yet, has not done so. Although Armand is reluctant to take on any task that remotely resembles his former police work, he feels an obligation and sense of duty to pursue this investigation. With the help of his friend and new son-in-law, Jean-Guy, they set out with Clara and Myrna to follow Peter's journey and discover his whereabouts. Each book in this series is such a delight that at times I wish to hurry up and finish reading the story, but at the same time want it to last so I can savor each image. Despite ten books, the characters and story lines remain true to form and always invoke emotional responses, whether joy and wonder at Ruth and Rosa or sadness at Armand's own doubts and fears for himself and his friends. Three Pines seems the ideal picturesque village, unsullied by civilization, but unfortunately wickedness and despair has a way of seeping in to even the most delightful scenario. Although much of the story takes place outside Three Pines, it remains its cornerstone. I look forward to more of Armand Gamache in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot hinges on a naive and highly romanticized--I would go so far as to say preposterous--notion of art, though as always with Penny's books, the plot keeps you reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all this author's books and always enjoyed them and looked forward to the next. However I found myself skipping paragraphs in this one and frustrated with the 200 pages of repetitive description of the saga and angst of the main characters as they went on their quest to find their missing friend. The ending was good, but I am not sure it was worth the wait.
TooManyHobbies More than 1 year ago
I love Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series. And this may be my favorite novel in the series. But don't skip ahead to this book until you have read most, if not all, of the previous. I "googled" the locations highlighted in this book and was pleased to see images of the unique and beautiful settings. If I can't live in Three Pines, at least I can visit these special places. As always, I am left waiting impatiently for the next offering in the series. Please keep them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the other books by Ms. Penny so much that I pre ordered this one. It is a huge dissapointment, and I am finding it hard to keep reading, The entire book seems to be going on and on about bad art and dwelling on feelings of angst in search of an emotionally damaged man. Terrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author has a wonderful way of bringing the reader into the plot, and at the same time so eloquently describing the scenery in such a way that one can almost smell the pines and hear the wind. A great read!
Lindamysteries More than 1 year ago
I didn't know how Louise Penny would keep the stories going after Gamache retires, but she found a way. All our favorite characters are here and the plot carries on from the last book. I loved the book.
polydactyl More than 1 year ago
This is the fourth book I have read. She was better and better. Ms. Penny captures me within the first few pages. I highly recommend her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This kept me guessing until the end. I hope this isn't the last of the Armand Gamache novels. Would love to have an appendix that tells me how to pronounce all their French names
AnnieMNH More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Each book in this series has not only satisfied my love of mysteries, but also lets me pull up a chair and visit with old friends. The Long Way Home does not disappoint. The story effortlessly weaves us into the lives of the Three Pines residents, and takes us down a path of discovery as we follow Chief Inspector Gamache into the mystery. We are taken on a journey into the unknown and along the way are exposed to, and left to ponder, the lighter and darker sides of human nature. Well done!
zenguy More than 1 year ago
Any fan of the Armand Gamache series will not be disappointed. Louise Penny just gets better!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for the next book. I hope Armand Gamache and gang stick around forever!
EnoMary More than 1 year ago
The ending WOW! Frankly, until the end I was going to give this 2 or 3 stars at most. The ending was superb and if the rest of the book were up to the standard of the ending, I would happily give it 5 stars, but I found the book slow and sometimes tedious. This is a great transition book- it gives the main characters a way forward and I won't complain - too much. As usual, the writing is stunning. Beautiful descriptions of places that she clearly loves, but a bit slow. I hated the end of the last book, but this ending is very, very good - tough, somewhat shocking, but good. Have read all the rest in the series, and as usual I will be first in line to read the next. Viva Gamache, Jean-Guy, Myrna & Ruth.
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
There’s something magical, almost ethereal about a Chief Inspector Gamache novel by author Louise Penny, which may seem a bit odd since there’s always murder involved. Narrator Ralph Cosham does a superb job bringing the characters to life, giving each their own distinct voice. His rich, soothing voice varies in pace and inflection to match the characters’ emotions and their situation. Cosham’s voice is slightly hypnotic as he shares the story with listeners. His accents and mannerisms enhance the already rhythmic flow of the story. With Armand Gamache’s retirement as Chief Inspector of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, readers/listeners can expect a different edge to the usual adrenaline-fueled pace of previous stories. With retirement, Penny gives readers a different, more philosophical look at the makeup of Gamache and the residence of Three Pines. Settling into life in Three Pines, Gamache is enjoying the peace and quiet with his wife, Reine-Marie. He and his former second-in-command (and now his son-in-law), Jean-Guy Beauvoir, are both recovering from emotional and physical scares. But Gamache knows their neighbor, Clara Morrow, is troubled and needs help. Clara finally asks Gamache to help her find her husband, Peter. The couple had agreed to a year separation planning to meet on the anniversary of that decision to determine the outcome of their marriage. Peter didn’t return on the date and Clara hasn’t heard from him. Peter, struggling with jealously over Clara’s sudden fame in the art world, seems to have just disappeared. Agreeing to help, Gamache, Jean-Guy, Clara and their friend Myrna set off to find Peter. Their search takes them across the Canadian wilderness retracing Peter’s journey to possible discover the Tenth Muse in hopes of reawakening his own painting career. Their pilgrimage leads them to discoveries that impact their lives forever. There is no fast-action adrenaline rush to make you catch your breath, just the ability to see a beautiful landscape through the eyes of one who has learned to appreciate life and see some good in all. The story is thought-provoking blended with historical morsels and artistic influence. The poetic flow of THE LONG WAY HOME is captivating as readers/listeners once again visit with old friends in Three Pines. FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Happiness is a Louise Penny novel. I love her setting and the people in it. I could read her books forever. She doesn't write fast enough!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love all these books. I can't wait for the next one.
JKW24 More than 1 year ago
An ongoing situation between Clara and Peter is wrapped up in her new book. Some of the best writing ever. Gamache is as ever on his game. However, there are so many twists and turns that even with the help of 5 others, the game keeps turning in on them.  We are reminded no matter how much experience one has, one never really knows what another is thinking, planning or doing. It is a wonderful read to find out who, what, where and how.  This is a complex, yet, totally inspiring new mystery. Each person has their part to play out. Because it does include another in the Village, it is more interesting and at the same time so exciting. I embrace this new page turner as her best yet.
mejackson More than 1 year ago
Once again Louise Penny strikes gold with "The Long Way Home." An author of "who done it" novels that are so much more. Her intricate plots and memorable characters are to be savored like a rich chocolate bar. "The Long Way Home" like her previous novels reads more like poetry than prose. From "Still Life," her first to "the Long Way Home," her novels are literary works worthy of acclaim and should be savored like a fine wine. She has created a new genre. For the reader yet to discover Ms. Penny, be prepared to fall in love with Quebec. Warning, you might find yourself wanting to read poetry, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Much to think about. Beautiful writing. Thank u Yiu