All the Devils are Here, #16 Inspector Gamache
All the Devils are Here #16 by Louise Penny
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Agatha Award Winner
Published Sept 2020; 439 pages
The title is pulled from a Shakespeare quote from The Tempest: "Hell is empty and all the devils are here." Then the story evolves to prove that, in fact, it seems like MANY of the devils are here! More than any other book in the series, this book can be a standalone because it's set outside of Three Pines so all the wonderful characters there don't really directly impact this story. And yet there's plenty of personality and learning all about Gamache's family feels completely natural.
This award winning book is immediately different from all the others in the Inspector Gamache series - it's set in Paris instead of Three Pines, Canada. And Penny does as good a job evoking Paris as she does remote Three Pines or the beauty of Quebec. Having been there a few years ago, I was able to relate to some of the places she mentioned which helped place me in the story. I listened to this book which is good news / bad news. With all the French locations and names, it was great to have those pronounced correctly in the reading and as usual, the reader's voicing is excellent. BUT, all those French places and names started to sound alike and I had a little trouble telling the hotels or the people apart. My issue entirely - not a reflection on the reading.
Armand and Reine-Marie travel to Paris to be with their daughter Annie and husband Jean Guy at the birth of their second child, a daughter. Their son, Daniel, and his family have lived in Paris for some time, so this story finds all the family together in a city they know well. Armand's godfather is also there for the birth but is targeted and hit by a car in a hit-and-run. Of course, Armand has to participate in the investigation.
One of the kind of cool aspects of the mystery is that his whole family is involved in the investigation and their skills all help contribute to the solution. Daniel is a venture capital banker and this mystery is steeped in financial shenanigans, so his knowledge is invaluable. Daughter Annie is a lawyer and her advice comes in handy; his wife, Reine-Marie is an expert librarian/researcher, so she takes on that role; and, of course his previous second-in-command, Jean Guy helps with the heavy lifting. What a dream team they make.
Although All the Devils Are Here is another well written, deeply researched story, the underlying financial complexities were not of interest to me and I didn't make any particular effort to understand them. I found the strength of this story was in the relationships, particularly the familial ones. Though Armand has a long time friendship with the head of the Paris homicide police, and that friendship is tested, the real story is in the family dynamics. Penny did a magnificent job revealing the break in the relationship between father and son and then the baby steps happening to repair it.
I missed the Three Pines characters, but the Gamaches did return home at the end of the book and I imagine the next one (coming out in November) will have him interacting with that great group of quirky people.
What do I do now? I've read all the backlist titles for this series so now, like the rest of Penny's fans, I have to wait for each new release???? I have a couple other series I'm contemplating reading from the beginning; I just have to decide. Do you have a favorite mystery series to recommend?
Paris photos by me of the Rodin Garden and the Eiffel Tower as both play a part in the story.