A Rule Against Murder

This is book four in Penny’s series about Chief Inspector Gamache. There are 17 as of now.

As you may know, Quebec Province is largely French-speaking and the government is French in nature, including the police which is the Sûreté du Québec. The fictional Gamache is in charge of the Sûreté murder squad. Like the US states, Quebec is part of the Canadian Government and conforms to national rules.

In this story, Armand Gamache and his wife have booked themselves into a beautiful and isolated resort to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The rest of the resort is taken up with the Finney family reunion. The family is wealthy and entitled. As the story progresses Gamache sees darkness behind their masks. When a crashing rainstorm strikes, so does a murderer. Gamache calls his squad and returns to work.

While suspects abound the “how” question remains blank. Yes, Julia was crushed by a statue, but how did several tons fall off the pedestal?

Louise Penny writes rich narrative. The murder does not occur until the end of chapter 11 because she wants us to know the family and the staff. Not all of the staff, just those who become suspects. Few authors can keep my attention that long without more action, but Penny paints pictures. She is one of those people who could rewrite a phone book and make it interesting.

Nor does she rush to judgment. Additional storylines are fleshed out and added as the investigation goes forward. Gamache himself struggles with the memory of his long-dead father.

If you have it all figured out before the climax, congratulations.

Five stars.

Mike Lawrence

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