A World of Curiosities by Louise PennyA World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
Series: Inspector Gamache #18
Published by Macmillan Audio on November 29, 2022
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 13 hrs 15 mins
Pages: 390
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
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It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt these children beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered, and are they now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long-dead stonemason is discovered. In it, the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir, and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

The Paston Treasure, commissioned by either Sir Robert Paston or his father Sir William Paston in the early 1670s

A painting, a copy of The Paston Treasure, is found in a bricked-up attic room, but it contains hidden messages and puzzles. During the graduation ceremony at the École Polytechnique, the women who were killed and injured during the Montreal massacre in ’89 are remembered. Fiona, a woman found guilty of murder when she was 14, has been paroled, thanks in part to Gamache, and is staying along with her brother in Three Pines after her graduation from that same school. Harriet, the niece of Myrna, the bookstore owner, is also graduating and spending time in Three Pines. A local woman has been murdered, staged as a suicide. Penny takes so many threads and pulls them all together in a complex, tension-filled story.

Gamache knows he and his family are under threat, but the damage could come from any of several directions. Sam, Fiona’s brother, has always made Gamache uncomfortable, while Beauvoir is convinced that Fiona herself is the psychopath. Meanwhile, the clues in the painting lead to an entirely different person, one Gamache has confronted before.

I love the characters in Three Pines and it’s always good to spend time there. The mystery kept me guessing and the ending was almost nail-biting. It also discusses some larger topics, like the difficulties of forgiveness, the historical and more recent evidence of misogyny in our world, and our tendency to concentrate on the historical archives of the powerful and the well-known while ignoring the lives and testimonies of ordinary people. It’s also about love and community and trust.

On a side note, I’ve been watching the Three Pines series on Amazon and thoroughly enjoying it. My husband’s even been watching it with me without complaint. No, it’s not exactly like the books, but I’m okay with that.

About Louise Penny

LOUISE PENNY (born 1958), a former CBC radio journalist, is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of fourteen Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has been awarded the John Creasey Dagger, Nero, Macavity and Barry Awards, as well as two each of the Arthur Ellis and Dilys Awards. Additionally, Penny has won six Agatha Awards and five Anthony Awards, and has been a finalist for an Edgar Award. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.


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