Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2011
My Rating: A
I know I said this the last time I reviewed book six in Louise Penny’s mystery series, but I can’t help it. Each book just gets better and better. This is the seventh book in the series and I found all aspects of it so satisfying. The plotting is paced perfectly. And, she takes her time in developing new aspects of the characters.
By now each one of the recurring cast members is well known to me. So well known that I find myself talking to them. I won’t give it all away but, I will tell you that I had to say to Clara, “Oh no! Don’t go down that road. You’ll regret it.” If you’ve aleady read this book, you’ll know what I mean.
Clara has been one of my favorite characters, right from the first book. She’s an artist, a quite good one, although she doesn’t believe she’s good enough. Clara lacks self confidence. She is thrilled, however, that important people in the art world are now paying attention to her.
The story opens on the night of Clara’s big solo showing at a prestigious art gallery in Montreal. All the important art people are there along with her friends from her villiage of Three Pines. And, of course, her friend, Armand Gamache, the Chief Inspector of the Homicide Division of Quebec Surete, is there as well.
The after-party moves back to Three Pines. Some of the people from the art world have come along with all her friends. It’s loads of fun and a great night for Clara. And then, a body is discovered outside in Clara’s garden. She has been murdered. No one knows who the victim is and doesn’t remember seeing her at the gallery or the parties.
The Inspector and his capable team soon learn that the woman was a former classmate and friend of Clara’s. Clara hasn’t seen her sinve their art school days when they irrevocably ended their friendship. The woman had been especially cruel to Clara. Clara, however, is not the only possible suspect. The dead woman has spent most of her life hurting others and there are plenty of people who are happy she is dead.
At the same time the investigation is going on we witness conflicts in the lives of some of the other characters I’ve come to know and care about. The one that disturbs me the most involves Jean Guy Beauvour. He is another one of my favorites. I love his sense of humor and his unique way of dealing with quirky people. But there is now something physically wrong with him. He is separated from his wife, seems to be in pain and is taking too many pills.
By the end of the book the mystery has been solved satisfactorily, but the problems with some of my favorite people are not resolved. There is no way around it. I will have to begin reading the eighth book sooner than I’d planned. At the end of August the ninth and newest book in this series will be published. Her next book won’t be out for another year. I want to read it right away (after number eight) but I don’t want to be left hanging. I can’t imagine having to wait a whole year to find out what will happen next. I’m not sure what to do. Any suggestions?