Narrator: Robert Bathurst
Series: Inspector Gamache #14
Published by Macmillan Audio on November 27, 2018
Length: 12 hours 20 mins
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When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.
Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional - until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem far more menacing.
But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots - and the terrible things hiding there.
Penny’s Inspector Gamache series is definitely one that is best to read from the beginning. However, this is #14, which makes it a bit difficult, so it you want to jump in here, I’d recommend you at least read Glass Houses, #13, as it connects closely with some of the events in Kingdom of the Blind.
We’ve got two story lines in this one. There’s the mysterious will and dead man in a collapsed house. Then, there’s secondary one involving the drugs Gamache allowed to get onto the streets of Montreal in the previous.
The Baroness, Bertha Baumgartnor, a cleaning woman who lived near Three Pines, wrote the will mentioned in the blurb, splitting between her children a vast fortune and properties that she clearly did not have. The dead man is her son. The piece about the collapsed farmhouse, about the search and rescue, is one of the tensest scenes on the book. Winter in Quebec can be dangerous. I loved the history and family drama that Gamache and his crew uncover.
I tend to not enjoy when Penny takes on too big topics, like drugs in inner-city Montreal or corruption within Sûreté, but in this case, she kept her focus on one woman, someone we met before, Cadet Amelia Choquet, a former prostitute and drug user, who has now been kicked out of the Sûreté Academy for possession/dealing. She is on the streets looking for the drug, she knows it’s out there and knows both what damage it can do and how much the person who controls it will make. Even though the problem was large, Penny kept her telling of it concentrated.
Fourteen is a long series for me to keep reading, but I like the characters and the books are as much about feelings and thoughts as they are about the mysteries. I love Penny’s writing style and how she deals with her characters. At the same time, I find I’m not as invested in the more recent entries. They’re still good, don’t get me wrong, but I think I miss some of the newness. There was one twist that was expected, and one choice at the end that I was surprised by but may allow the series to evolve a bit.
As always, I enjoyed my visit to Three Pines. It’s not a quick mystery. There are intense moments, but there are also times of studying financial papers. There are times when guns are drawn, but the most important clues are always found in the dialogue.