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Tuesday, November 04, 2014

How the Light Gets In and The Long Way Home

I'm still missing two novels in this series (# 7 & #8).  I should have reviewed How the Light Gets in and The Long Way Home) a while back, but with all of my October computer problems, I failed to do so.  I'm still catching up with October reads.

How the Light Gets In 

Ring the bells that still can ring 
Forget your perfect offering 
There is a crack, a crack in everything 
That's how the light gets in.   
     --From the lyrics to Leonard Cohen's Anthem

The two novels in the series that I'm missing are the two right before this one.  Kick me!  I should have read these in order.  Not that this book can't be read and understood without the back story. It can, and I had no trouble doing so. On the other hand, when you love a series, it is always preferable to read the books in order.  

The current mystery functions completely within this novel; it is the corruption within the  Sûreté du Québec that has run throughout all of the novels that comes to a head here.

OK - Constance Pinauilt, an elderly friend visits Myrna in Three Pines and promises to return for Christmas.  When she doesn't show up, Myrna enlists Inspector Gamache to find her friend, but when he does find the missing Constance, it is too late.  Why would anyone want to kill this mild elderly woman?  Even after Gamache discovers that Constance was once famous throughout the world, the reason for her murder is a mystery.  

This contained mystery is interesting because it creates a fictional account of the sensational birth of quintuplets (remember the Dionne quints?) and the subsequent removal of the girls from their family.  

The other story line (that threads through all of the previous books) deals with the corruption and the bad (very bad) apples in the Sûreté who are determined to punish Gamache and end his career.  This is where I must go back and pick up the two previous to books that lead up to the reasons Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's most trusted colleague, has returned to a devastating drug addiction and refuses to talk to Gamache.

As usual, characterization is excellent and so is the writing.  I do have a problem with the completion of the Sûreté story line that has been woven since the first book in the series.   With this plot line completed, what comes next?  Has Penny wrapped up the series?  Well, perhaps not because 2014 sees the publication of The Long Way Home    

Purchased.  Minotaur Books.

Mystery/Police Procedural.  2013.  print length:  416 pages.

The Long Way Home is the ARC that started me reading the books I've missed in the series.  Before reading this one, I went back and picked up the first three novels in the series ( reviewed here and here).

After all the positive things I've had to say about all the previous books, I've read (and expect to say when I pick up the two that I've missed), I'm at a loss about how to review this latest in the series.

It isn't that I wanted to put it down.   Yet, for several reasons, I simply didn't feel as involved with this book as I did with all of the others.  

  Just to note a few things:
(Spoiler Alert - highlight if you want to read)
Gamache is retired.  This doesn't make me happy.
Most of the book is set outside of Three Pines.
I found much of it slow and a bit repetitive.
It felt as if she ended the series in the previous book, and then decided on  "Just one more."
Is she planning a new series?  Maybe with Jean-Guy or Isabel the featured protagonist?

ARC from Minotaur Books

Mystery.  2014.  print length:  385 pages.


  1. Not every book in a series will be as good as the others, eh? Or so we've learned with all our series reading. Hopefully the next one will be better.

  2. I'm very curious with this series after reading all your reviews. I'd ordered the first book of this series so I'm looking forward to it, although I've no idea when I'd start given there are so many books that have caught my attention lately. ;) I guess I shall leave it to my mood then.

  3. So many choices! Hope you enjoy this one, Melody!

  4. Wendy - Yep, often books in a series vary in the way they appeal to us. The Long Way Home, which is the last in the series, just feels much less like the previous books. Maybe when Louise Penny had Gamache retire in How the Light Gets In, she wasn't sure just how to continue the series....