Saturday, May 23, 2020

Book Review Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Bury Your Dead  Louise Penny’s fifth novel in the Inspector Gamache series  ought to be a duo with her fourth entry,  A Brutal Telling,  since it ties up several  hanging  chads left over from the last book. 
In this offering Inspector Gamache is still on leave after the disastrous shootout that left several Surete agents dead and left both him and his chief assistant, Jean Paul Beauvoir  hospitalized. Though both are now reasonably recovered physically, the mental wounds remain.   Gamache searches for solace in Quebec City with his old boss Emile, but quickly finds himself caught up in the murder of a publicity seeking archaeologist in the basement of a staid old library. 

While Gamache begins an informal search for the killer in wintry Quebec City, he assigns  Jean Paul to take a vacation in the good old village of Three Pines where the murder of the hermit from the last book has now left Gamache thinking that he may have arrested, tried, and convicted the wrong man as the killer. 

Penny now masterfully seques between the two searches. We see Olivier, the Bistro owner from the last book, exonerated and we see the killer in Quebec City caught and dealtt with.  At the end the world returns to what passes for normal in the mind of the ever anguished  Gamache. 

Along the way we also learn a great deal more about the deadly shootout that continues to haunt the Inspector and there is a nice bonus accruing in the amount of Quebec history that Penny has marshaled for us.  Stylistically she is once again a master descriptor of weather and nature.  Over and over the snow and cold outside is contrasted with the warmth of roaring fires on the inside.  Blizzards seem to descend just as the suspense rises and the solutions near. Good eats, tastily described and joyfully consumed,  also seem to add a pleasant gastronomic accompaniment to the narrative. 

I found Bury Your Dead, quite satisfying, but would note again that it does pay to read Penny's novels in order—particularly this one.

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