Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: Minotaur, August 2015
Series: Three Pines or Armand Gamache, Book 11
Format: Audio, Narrated by Robert Bathurst
One of the highest points in an avid reader’s year is when a long awaited book finally arrives. That’s what happens when Louise Penny writes a new Three Pines novel. When the novel is a part of a series that can be risky. What if the author’s standards have slipped. I mean, the eleventh book?
I’m happy to report that The Nature of the Beast did not disappoint. In fact, I thought it seemed lighter, a bit more fun while at the same time focusing on some thought-provoking topics. It also seemed an semi-evaluation of where the series has been and the possibilities of where it might go in the future.
Before I get too carried away, let me tell you the basics of the story. It is, of course, centered right in the Three Pines area. Actually, out in the vast forest that surrounds the village. A nine-year-old boy discovers a “giant gun with a monster on it.” Unfortunately, no one believes him. He’s one of those kids who spends a lot of time playing out imaginary and heroic adventures. The discovery of a gun with a monster on it is just one of many things he has reported to villagers. They all believe his new tale is just one more of his many imaginary tales. Even Armand Gamache does not believe him.
And then the young boy is discovered dead along the side of the road. It looks like a hit-and-run accident. To Armand Gamache, something isn’t quite right. He asks some of his old colleagues at the Suerete to a closer look. They find the old chief inspector was right, It was murder.
Things move fast after this. The “big gun with a monster” turns out to be a lot more than a big gun. The mystery of the gun could have international implications. Soon there is another murder and the investigation goes deep and wide. Old secrets have to emerge.
I liked seeing how the new department was working after the departure of Gamache. I also enjoyed seeing how Gamache and Rene Marie have adjusted to retired life in the small town. I do predict that, jn our next visit to Three Pines, we’ll find Gamache is no longer retired. I think he’s going to accept one of those offers that are piling up on his desk.
This is the first audio version without Ralph Coshon who died last year. I was concerned that no one else could replace him. I was right. No one else can replace him as the voice of Armand Gamache. Fortunatly however, Robert Bathhurst (Sir Anthony on Downton Abbey) does a terrific job as the narrator of the story. I felt he helped fill out the rest of the cast and the lighter tone of this eleventh novel. Some might say a breath of fresh air. His British accent was beautiful.
Thanks to Louise Penny for another wonderful reading experience. I will patiently wait until next year for our installment number 12.