The eagerly awaited sixth Armand Gamache tale by the remarkable Louise Penny has just arrived and I'm all ears - literally because it is read by the award winning voice performer Ralph Cosham. Having narrated all titles in this sterling series Cosham is a standard bearer for voice performance, perfectly reflecting with tone, nuance, and anticipatory pause the sophisticated, complex mystery unfolding before us.
Moving easily from The Brutal Telling, Penny's last in this series, we find Chief Inspector Gamache on leave, time taken to recover from what he considers to be an unforgivably wrong decision. It is Winter Carnival in Quebec city, and Gamache seeks solitude in the quietude of the Literary and Historical society. However, there is little peace as a determined historian who had sought the body of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, meets an unexpected and violent end. Gamache, fearing an escalation of tensions between the English and French immediately becomes involved. Yet, he cannot help but wonder what the 400 year old grave of Champlain could possibly reveal that would cause someone to commit murder.
Meanwhile, another murder has taken place in the village of Three Pines, and Bistro owner, Olivier, has been convicted of the killing. Gamache's associate, Beauvvoir, is asking questions of the village's residents to determine whether or not anyone else had a motive for this murder.
Could the past and the present possibly be interrelated? With rich descriptions of Quebec and a fascinating story line Penny once again captures us. Yet another triumph for this author and narrator.
- Gail Cooke