Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny - another intriguing mystery
Kingdom of the Blind #14 Gamache by Louise Penny
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published 2018, 400 pages
If you're new to the blog, you'll soon see I'm a big fan of the Louise Penny series starring Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Surete`. After reading a couple from the middle of the series I decided to go back to the beginning and boy, am I glad I did. Following the characters from just a gleam in Penny's eyes to their continuing development and the ins and outs of their friendships and loves and losses has just been an amazing ride.
THE PLOT #14 IN THE SERIES
As usual, the plot involved multiple storylines that weave in and around each other until there's some resolution to one or all of them. In this installment there are three: Mystery #1: the will ...... an elderly woman dies and names Gamache and two others to be her executors - but none of them know her. Why were they chosen? Mystery #2: the murder ...... after the reading of the will, the woman's oldest son is murdered. Is it related to the inheritance or something else? Mystery #3: the cadet ...... Amelia is back in the story and has been suspended from the Academy and is back on the streets - looking for drugs.
Gamache is still on suspension from the events in the previous book and his protege`, Beauvoir, is the acting Chief Inspector. Beauvoir has cause several times to reflect back on Gamache's mentorship over the years. Some of his earliest advice - which actually great advice for all of us. It's shown up here and there in previous books as well.
"It amounted to a code of conduct. It started with the four statements that lead to wisdom: I don't know. I need help. I was wrong. I'm sorry. And ended with him saying, simply, "Matthew 10:36. ..... 'And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.'"
The plot twists and turns, suspects are considered and discarded, hard decisions are made, secrets discovered, all the best parts of a mystery are presented with skill. The inheritance storyline goes back over 100 years and is all about money. The murder, all about money. The drugs, all about money!
Major changes to the characters' lives are hinted at toward the end of the book and I can't wait to see what's in store for them.
One of the characters is having a discussion with acting Chief Beauvoir and I found it an interesting philosophical idea -
"As humans, we invest not just money. We spend time. We spend effort. There's a reason it's put like that. Life's short, and time is precious and limited. We need to pick and choose where we put it." Beauvoir called bullshit and replied, "I'm saying most people don't have the luxury to pick and choose. They're just trying to make it through the day. Taking whatever shitty job they can. Trying to hold the family together. Maybe in a bad marriage with kids who're out of control. You live in a world of choice; most don't have investments. They have lives. And they're just trying to get by."
Which philosophy do you think is the strongest?
I continue to be impressed with Louise Penny's ability to build on this series with each book. Taking a step back and looking at the series as a whole piece of cloth, there's a formula to her books. As with most authors who have a continuing detective, there has to be a balance of character development and believable mystery. She's exceptional at both. When I'm in the middle of a book, I don't feel the formula; it's only with distance that I can see there's a general pattern.
That being said, this loose pattern has a distinctly different look in each installment. Though the murders are usually fairly "normal" - someone is shot, or hit over the head, etc. - the setting or motive are dramatically different in each case, making the challenge of figuring out who is guilty really difficult. Her research is extensive, her dialog comfortable and believable, the friendships have ups and downs, there are quirky supporting characters that add a touch of levity, and throughout it all is Canada - descriptions of the cities, the village, the countryside, is lovely.
My hope is that this review (along with the others I've done as I make my way through the series) will convince you to start the series. You won't be sorry.