February 5, 2019
A Rule Against Murder
A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #4
2009 Minotaur Books
Finished on February 4, 2019
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)
It is the height of summer, and Armand Gamache and his wife are celebrating their wedding anniversary at an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own…
As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the Finney reunion…and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. Now it’s up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth long-buried secrets and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines—into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.
Any reader knows it's a great book when you stay up reading until 2:30 am. I'm hooked on this series and so glad I decided to start reading the print editions rather than listening to the audios. I began reading this fourth installment in the Three Pines series immediately after finishing the previous book, The Cruelest Month. In addition to finally getting a handle on the characteristics of and relationships between the main characters, particularly Gamache, Reine-Marie, Beauvoir and Lacoste, I can now also begin to envision their surroundings and the small village of Three Pines. I was born in Ottawa (Ontario) and we later moved to a small town outside of Sherbrooke (Quebec) called Lennoxville, where we lived when I was a toddler. Manoir Bellechasse, which is the main setting in A Rule Against Murder, was inspired by Manoir Hovel in the village of North Hatley, which is southwest of Lennoxville. I would love to take a trip to this area, not only to revisit an area of my childhood, but to also see the beautiful villages and lakes depicted in Louise Penny's mysteries. I know I wouldn't recognize anything about this part of Canada, and I certainly wouldn't be able to speak the language, but it would be fun to see where my family and I once lived.
Louise Penny's charming setting, lovable characters and the intricate puzzle of each newly imagined crime make for an addictive series, but her lyrical prose had me re-reading passages not just once, but two or three times, before moving on.
Within minutes they were on the dock, kicking off their sandals and dropping their towels like nests onto the warm wooden surface. Gamache and Reine-Marie looked onto this world of two suns, two skies, of mountains and forests multiplied. The lake wasn't glass, it was a mirror. A bird gliding across the clear sky appeared on the tranquil water as well. It was a world so perfect it broke into two. Hummingbirds buzzed in the garden and monarch butterflies bobbed from flower to flower. A couple of dragonflies clicked around the dock. Reine-Marie and Gamache were the only people in the world.
The storm moved on, to terrorize other creatures deeper in the forest. And the Gamaches returned to bed, throwing open their windows for the cool breeze the storm had left as an apology.
Penny's books are addictive and binge-worthy and if I weren't already committed to reading my book club selection, I'd dive right into the fifth in this series. Sadly, it will have to wait at least a week, unless of course, I start staying up until 2:30 every night.