I have mentioned in previous posts how much I love Louise Penny’s books and that I can’t wait to read them but hold back because a year is a very long time between publications. Well, I just finished Penny’s new novel A Great Reckoning, and I can tell you that it didn’t disappoint. Our protagonist, Armand Gamache, one of my most favorite characters, returns with his cast of characters, the residents of the small village of Three Pines. This time we find Armand assuming his role as head of the Sûreté Academy and see how he guides his trainees in a complicated mystery. It involves a mysterious map, many characters, some old some new and, of course, murder!
I think what I like most about Penny’s writing is her intelligence, her sense of the true meaning of close family and dear friends and the warmth of relationships in the village of Three Pines. If I have one complaint, it would be that this particular storyline doesn’t involve the villagers enough, they are, of course, involved and talked about but I would have liked them to be more intricate to the story, but that is just me, probably because I have gotten to know them through her other books, all of which I adore. Her development of characters is superb.
The plot has many twists and turns and you will consider Armand a suspect (well at least, for a bit!!!). Penny takes us on an emotional journey, as she always does, and keeps us guessing at each turn. Her research is flawless and she presumes her readers are on the same intellectual level that both she and Armand are…she gradually peels back the layers to reveal the emotional climax to the many “mysteries” she has laid before us.
I highly recommend picking up a copy quickly you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t read any Louise Penny, I would suggest, as with any series, you start with the first book, in this case Still Life, (I was introduced to Penny by one of my favorite booksellers in Stratford, Canada many years ago while at the Shakespeare Festival) so you can become familiar with Armand Gamache and the vast cast of characters that you will grow to love (after that you can read them in whatever order you like)…A Great Reckoning is book 12 so you can enjoy each as much as I have….can’t wait for #13!!!
Louise Penny from the jacket of A Great Reckoning. Photo by Jean-François Bérubé
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