It’s no secret Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series is a favorite of Auntie M’s with good reason: she manages to write a different complex mystery with every novel while entertwining the strengths and weaknesses of the human spirit.

With A Better Man, she brings Gamache back to where he began, as head of the homicide department. For a short time, until he moves to start his new job, he will share this job with his son-in-law Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his daughter Annie’s husband.

It could be an awkward time, with the boss taking orders from his former right-hand man, but Gamache is determined to make it work, even as flood waters rise in the province of Quebec and threaten dams, bridges, lives.

Adding to the tension are social media slights that thrust Gamache into the limelight and gossip he loathes, and threaten his ability to do his job, any job.

Then a father begs Gamache to find his daughter. Married to an abusive husband, Vivienne Godin was to meet with her father and never showed up. Knowing he should leave her search until after the flood waters recede, Gamache understands and feels the need of this father to find his daughter.

But at what cost? And how will Gamache handle the cruel things being said about him?

With her usual strong plotting, the characters we’ve grown to love of Three Pines buttress this fine addition to the series. Penny is a master of balancing the dark and the light, and always manages to move this reader–multiple times. Highly recommended.