Reading this book again (this time for a book club discussion) – the first in the fabulous Three Pines series – eighteen years after my initial read, was a rare and sublime treat.
Eighteen books later, this is a series so familiar and delightful to this reader, that, going back to its very origins, – seeing the emergence of each of these well-loved characters – was such a mesmerizing task that I wondered why I hadn’t thought to do it sooner.
A terrific read from start to finish, it’s easy to see how this book begat such a splendid series. Beginning, of course, with Armand Gamache, the ultimate wise, exacting, and compassionate Chief Inspector, introduced in these pages and whom, visiting Three Pines for the first time, with his youngish side-kick, Jean Guy Beauvoir, must solve the mystery of the death of a sweet and sociable elderly lady, who may or may not be a talented undiscovered artist.
As the plot steadily unwinds, we learn of secrets, looming everywhere, – all held close and some, unpleasantly festering. With his colleagues (including the authors purposefully-crafted incredibly irritating Agent Yvette Nichol) Armand systematically finds himself poking and peeking under the fabric of this gracious close-knit community (nestled under the pines in rural Quebec), as he finds himself on the trail of a slippery murderer.
A richly-layered story; an evocative setting and engaging community; twists and turns and hints galore (with each and every detail eventually neatly closed and cleverly tied off); and of course, a set of vivid and vulnerable characters you’ll want to meet again and again; – this book absolutely has it all.
In fact, now that I’ve started – I may just have to read them all again.