Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is fighting a losing battle. His once respected homicide department, the pride of the Quebec de Surete, has been decimated, good officers replaced by those who don’t care. People he nurtured and trusted may no longer be in his camp. The investigation into a bigger conspiracy is going nowhere and the always stable facade of Armand Gamache is starting to crack. What better time for a murder to take his mind off of his current problems?
It is Christmas time and a Montreal murder with ties to his favorite idyllic village takes Armand Gamache back to Three Pines and the comfort of long-time friends. As he struggles to unravel the threads of a life suddenly and violently ended, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache senses that the shadowy events that have dogged his every step for years will finally be coming to light, for good or for ill.
Louise Penny’s latest novel, the ninth in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, may be her most satisfying read to date, particularly after the controversial choices made in her last novel, The Beautiful Mystery. How the Light Gets In is a layered, complex and compelling novel packed with moments of gut-wrenching drama and heart-racing suspense. By setting it in the village of Three Pines, Penny is able to bring in beloved characters from previous novels which gives the tension-filled story a much needed foundation of comfort and familiarity upon which to build. Though I questioned the legitimacy of the handling of one of the series’ prime characters in The Beautiful Mystery, the end result of those choices makes How the Light Gets In the kind of page-turning novel that kept me up until 1 a.m. this morning, having tread the last two hundred pages of this roughly 400-page novel in one sitting.
I closed the book after reading the last dozen or so pages with tears streaming down my face and the kind of satisfied smile that can only come from being immersed in a cracking good read. Those reviewers who were disappointed by The Beautiful Mystery and vowed to never read Louise Penny again are missing out on a novel that reaffirms just why people fell for Louise Penny’s creation in the first place.