51zx6howlightgets inXip6GL Can a novel be both heartbreaking and breathtaking?

Louise Penny’s ninth Chief Inspector Gamache mystery answers that question with a resounding YES~ How The Light Gets In continues her compelling series with a book that readers won’t be able to put down. And when they do, they’ll pick it up and read the last few chapters again. Yes, it’s that good.

It’s just before Christmas and cold in Quebec, and that coldness extends to the decimated team Gamache finds himself surrounded by, as his own team has been dispersed to other sections, and the new members’ allegiance to Chief Superintendent Francoeur is barely hidden. Gamache’s nemesis has gutted his team in the process of breaking Gamache down.

Only Inspector Isabelle Lacoste remains, his new second in command in the absence of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, watching the erosion of Gamache’s command. After the startling events in last year’s The Beautiful Mystery, Beauvoir, once Gamache’s friend, and lover of the man’s daughter, Annie, hasn’t spoken to his old chief in months.

Then a message arrives from Myrna Landers, owner of the bookstore in Three Pines, worried about an old friend who has failed to arrive for a planned Christmas visit. When Constance Pineault’s body is found, Gamache is given the case and seems relieved to be able to escape to Three Pines.

But is escape possible when there are dark forces at work with years of planning a conspiracy? And what of the mysterious past of Myrna’s murdered friend? Only poet Ruth Zardo seems to have recognized that Constance was once one of the most famous people in North America, echoing a real-life incident.

Three Pines will become both a haven for Gamache and some of his closest friends, and the site of some of the most suspenseful and tense scenes Penny has written, with the outcomes of several lives hanging in the balance and the futures of many more to be decided. The decisions that have to made at the climax bring the reader to the height of suspense in the frigid snowy forests of Three Pines.

All of Three Pines wonderful eccentric characters are here, as Gamache unravels the mystery of Constance and decides who needs to be saved and how to do that.Penny__Louise_CREDIT_Sigrid_Estrada

Despite writing about murder and what she calls “rancid emotion and actions,” Penny stresses that ultimately her books are about goodness, enduring love, and the choices we humans make. “If you take only one thing away from any of my books I’d like it to be this: Goodness exists.”

How that goodness is achieved will startle readers. With Penny’s talented achievement, they follow Gamache into the deepest heart of betrayal he has ever faced.  Highly recommended.


You can listen to the wonderful Ralph Cosham reading an excerpt from How The Light Gets In from going to the audio section of Macmillan here: