Merry Christmas to all of Auntie M’s readers, and Happy Holidays if you celebrate another.

And the merriest of holidays to readers everywhere for Louise Penny’s newest, Kingdom of the Blind, a holiday gift to her readers everywhere that many thought wouldn’t occur this year.

No one would have blamed Penny for not giving us an Inspector Gamache book this year after the death of her beloved husband, Michael, the model for Armand Gamache. And indeed while it is later than her usual August publication, it’s a wonder and a delight she found the courage and stamina to write at all. So thank you to Louise Penny for giving her readers another Gamache to savor and enjoy.

With Gamache on suspension and still being investigated after the events of last year’s Glass Houses, the detective is enjoying Three Pines and his lovely wife, Reine-Marie, but is intrigued when a letter arrives expecting him to be present at an old farmhouse outside of town. Derelict and looking ready to collapse, it is there he meets, to his surprise, his good friend, bookstore owner and former psychologist Myrna Landers, also summoned, plus a rather eccentric young builder named Benedict.

All three are puzzled to learn they have been named the liquidators, or executors we would say in the US, of the will of a local cleaning woman most knew by sight, who liked to be called “the Baroness.”

Why did Bertha Baumgartner entrust the liquidation of her estate to three people she barely knew? And what of the odd bequests in the will itself?

What starts out as an oddity soon turns into tragedy when a body is found, connected to the old woman, and under most unusual circumstances. While the case begins for some, and leads to surprising quarters, Gamache is still bound up in trying to find the opiods he allowed to be brought into Quebec in order to end the large US-Quebec cartel operating in the area.

It’s why he’s on suspension, and with the deadly drug ready to hit the streets, the reason he’s racing against time, using any means possible to find the location of the drug. And he will find help in a most unlikely quarter, but at what cost to himself, his career, and others he cares about?

In her books Penny always manages to bring tears to Auntie M’s eyes, and this one is no exception. As the climax approaches with tremendous suspense, readers will be flipping pages wildly to seek the result.

With her keen ability to use Gamache to illustrate her characters as he sees them, readers become entwined with even the most secondary character and their outcomes. And to those who are repeat characters, readers attach a deep affection and interest in their lives.

While able to pierce the darkest parts of a human soul, Penny has a unique gift that allows those holes to let in the light and grace deep within us all.

Highly Recommended~

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