Narrator: Robert Bathurs
Series: Inspector Gamache #12
Published by Macmillan Audio on August 30, 2016
Length: 13 hrs 33 mins
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When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.
Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.
And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.
Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.
The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.
For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.
I love Penny’s Gamache series and this one was even better than the last couple. Gamache has taken the position of Commander of the Sûreté academy, the last bastion of the corruption that has plagues the Sûreté and a place to stop the corruption in its earliest stages, with the training of the cadets.
And of course, there’s a murder. One of the professors is killed, and no one at the academy is above suspicion, including Gamache and the cadets. It’s a very personal mystery for Gamache and a complicated situation. Is murder sometimes justifiable? Is anyone beyond redemption?\
As always, it’s the characters the drive the mystery. With several trips to Three Pines and the homicide at the school, we meet most of the old familiar characters we know and love, but the new folks are well-drawn. The people here are real, even Gamache. They have strengths, but faults too, loyalties and habits.
There’s also the mystery of the old map, why it was drawn, who it belonged. It makes for an interesting diversion from the malice and tension in the present day case. I love how she can weave history and philosophy into her stories. It’s makes them fuller than a lot of the similar mysteries out there. And yes, I ended up with tears in my eyes at the end, but only a bit.
This could probably be read as a stand-alone, but the series needs read from the beginning and in order to truly appreciate it.