It may be summer for us, but it's December in Québec as How the Light Gets In begins. The story in this ninth in the Armand Gamache/Three Pines series picks up shortly after the predecessor book, The Beautiful Mystery, ended, and things are just as grim as you would imagine for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, if you read that book.
Gamache's longtime enemies at the Sûrété du Québec are circling like sharks, taking bites out of his Homicide team. All of his team members have been moved to other departments, except for Isabelle Lacoste, and the officers moved to his team in their place are slackers, insubordinate and obviously playing for Gamache's saturnine enemy, Chief Superintendent Francoeur.
Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's second-in-command and closest colleague to both him and Lacoste, is now with Francoeur. Jean-Guy is a mess. Hooked on painkillers again, completely alienated from Gamache and broken up with Gamache's daughter Annie. Of course, all of this has been orchestrated by Francoeur and his compatriots. The sharks have isolated their prey and are coming in for the kill.
|The Dionne Quintuplets|
The Sûrété corruption plot that we've been following for this entire series takes center stage in this book, and it's a nail-biter that puts all of the characters under make-or-break stress. For those who have been wondering about the reach of the corruption and the long-term goals of its principals, this will be a particularly satisfying read.
|What does this have to do with the book? Read it and find out.|
Now Gamache, at his moment of crisis, wonders if Beauvoir was right, that maybe evil has no limits. He knows that it will be hard to find the impetus for the corruption, because most likely, it "started as something small, invisible to the naked eye. It was often years, decades, old. A slight that rankled and grew and infected the host." And now the infection is overwhelming.
|Nathaniel Parker as Armand Gamache in the upcoming film of Still Life|
Louise Penny has transformed the police procedural and village mystery genres into not a mash-up, but something unique, original and genuine. Every summer, I look forward to my next visit with these characters, and at the end of the book I regret that my visit was all too short. I hope you'll visit too.
Note: How the Light Gets In will be published on August 27 by St. Martin's Minotaur. I received a free review copy of the book.