This is the ninth entry in this absolutely brilliant series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec.
Gamache is an unfailingly polite, soft spoken, caring, thoughtful , principled man. He is also dedicated - to his family, his friends and solving his cases. But he is reviled by his boss. The reasons for this have been alluded to from the beginning, increasing in intensity through each book, culminating in a cliff-hanger in book eight - The Beautiful Mystery. Penny has masterfully built this tension and animosity through each book. In How the Light Gets In, Penny finally gives us answers in a stunning finale, that mirrors real life.
Three Pines is the fictional small Quebec town that features prominently in Penny's books. The inhabitants of the town are rich and varied and have become as near and dear to my heart as Gamache himself. Their personal lives are as much a draw as the mystery in each book.
The crime portion of this book also takes inspiration from real life. The last surviving member of the Ouellet quintuplets is found murdered in her home after failing to arrive for a scheduled visit to Three Pines. Canadians of course will recognize the story of the Dionne quintuplets.
Although Penny provides enough background so that each book could be read as a stand alone, I encourage you to pick up the first book - Still Life. You'll fall in love with Gamache and the village of Three Pines - and be very glad that there are eight more (so far!) books to go. I cannot wait to see what's in store for book number ten.
I've actually chosen to listen to the last few books. Ralph Cosham is the reader and he completely embodies the mental image I had created for this wonderful character. The low, somewhat gravelly tone of Cosham's voice and his well modulated pace just draws you further into the story. His French accent and pronunciation is well done and believable. The voices he provides for other characters are just as well done. The cranky old poet Ruth is a favourite of mine. Actually, all the residents of Three Pines come alive with his interpretations, and make me wish I could visit to Three Pines and chat with them. At the end of the last disc, there was an unexpected bonus - an discussion between Cosham and Penny. It turns out that Ralph doesn't read the books before he narrates for the audio version. He prefers to discover the story as he reads. Can you imagine keeping all the voices straight and reading through without preparation? How the Light Gets In was an absolute joy to listen to. Highly, highly recommended.
Listen to or read an excerpt of How the Light Gets In. You can find Louise Penny on Facebook.
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen
I don't think I've ever read a bad thing about Penny's books. I definitely need to try one.
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