Published by Minotaur Books
Publication date: August 29th 2017
There’s nothing like stumbling upon an established author, falling in love, and finding out they have a substantial backlist of books. It’s even better when the books are part of a series because it means getting to go back to the beginning without having to wait for the next book—guaranteeing great reading for a long time. And in these days of meh/blah reading, having an author you can count on, whose books are readily available is the ultimate reading security blanket. I’ve just experienced this with Louise Penny, who many of you may already know. Her mystery series centers around Armand Gamache, a member of Quebec’s police force and the tiny village, Three Pines, where he lives with his wife, and an array of quirky, interesting friends and neighbors.
In her latest, Glass Houses, Gamache is now the Chief Superintendent and responsible for all units in the department. His promotion is seen as a move against the widespread corruption for which the Quebec government has become known. It’s also seen as a last ditch effort against the massive drug problem the region faces. This was Gamache’s focus until a mysterious figure robed in a hooded black cape and mask appeared in the village square in Three Pines. It did nothing and said nothing, merely stared at various buildings without moving. Its presence causes unrest amongst the villagers, but things get substantially worse when it disappears and a body is found in the local church.
Here’s where things get tricky in reviewing mysteries—I can’t say much more without giving away all the best bits. Suffice it to say, Penny is wonderfully adept at creating a baklava of a book—lots and lots of layers dripping with goodness and surprise. If you are a Penny fan, then you already know how well she fleshes out every aspect in her books. Yes, there’s a dead body and a murderer in Glass Houses, but these are just two of the many elements that come together for the kind of reading you don’t want to put down. The people of Three Pines are all wonderfully distinct, each contributing to the novel with their humor, foibles and eccentricities. If you haven’t read her before, don’t let that stop you; this novel stands on its own as a compelling mystery fraught with tension. If you are already a fan, this is a welcome return to a people and place well worth visiting.