Published by Minotaur Books
Publication date: November 27, 2018
Last Thursday one of the things I gave thanks for was the opportunity to head back to Three Pines and visit all its wonderful inhabitants in Louise Penny’s latest novel, Kingdom of the Blind. It’s the 14th book in her Chief Inspector Gamache series and finds Gamache suspended from the Sûreté. He’s being investigated for, among other things, letting the largest ever shipment of drugs slip through his fingers and into Canada. Not only that, but it’s new drug, a hundred times more potent than fentanyl. The story begins when Gamache and Myrna, a neighbor in Three Pines, are designated as executors for the estate of a woman they’ve never met. A cleaning woman with an estate that has no financial value, but a will that promises untold wealth.
Penny generates suspense on a number of fronts in Kingdom of the Blind. There is the mystery of the estate which can be traced back to a branch of the Rothschilds and a family divided by the Holocaust and a feud. Unraveling it requires finding obscure records going back to the 1800s. There is the race to recover the drugs before they hit the streets and cause an overdose epidemic. Finally, there is Gamache’s precarious position in the Sûreté and its impact on Beauvoir, his protégé, and the man acting as his replacement. He’s being pressured to turn on his mentor by signing papers that will end Gamache’s career.
In the midst of all the drama Penny doesn’t neglect the townspeople of Three Pines in all their irascible wit and charm. Everyone has their part to play and each does it effortlessly, a not-inconsequential feat on Penny’s part. How do you keep an entire town of characters fresh and interesting for 14 books? Even a small town? It can only be through devotion and care and Penny has an unlimited supply of both. It makes for reading that always welcomes with humor and intelligence.
The only difference I felt about this book is that it’s less about the mystery—which is fine but not riveting, and more about the sea change happening within the main characters’ lives. Suffice it to say, everything is turned upside-down and I’m still trying to decide what it means. If you’re a fan of the series, prepare to be blown away by the end of Kingdom of the Blind.
Sarah's Book Shelves says
Oh no – 3.5 stars for a Louise Penny from you?!! I got this to give to my mom for Xmas. She’s read all the Louise Penny’s.
Don’t let it dissuade you! It’s just not one of her strongest mysteries but everything else in the book is WOW. Major changes and surprises.
Kristin Kraus says
So jealous that you’ve gotten to read it. I’m #28 of 39 on the library hold list!
I’d be happy to send you my copy! Email me your mailing address if you want.
Ooh, really? Thanks! I think I have your email. If you don’t get something from me, let me know.
It arrived! I’m so excited! Once I finish, I’ll send it back, or let me know if there is someone else in line for your copy and I can pass it on!
I’m so glad! Don’t return- pass it on to someone you know. Or leave in a Little Free Library if you don’t know any other Louise Penny lovers.
Amy Freeny says
I just found your blog today while listening to you on a recent episode of the podcast “What should I Read Next”. I was particularly excited to hear you raving about Louise Penny, who I had the pleasure of seeing at a local author night just last week, a few days after her most recent book was released. She is my favorite author at the moment. I’ve read her entire series twice, but for the most recent book, which I’m saving for just the right time.
While waiting for seemingly forever for the latest book to be released I found myself searching for another author/series to fill the void, but have not been successful. She set the bar very high.
Do you have any recommendations for an author or series similar to Ms. Penny that might reasonably fill the time until another Gamache novel is released? I love her mix of mystery, character development and wonderful prose.
Thanks! I look forward to exploring your blog, reading your reviews, and hopefully finding many new books to add to my tbr stack!
Welcome! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.
You got to meet Louise Penny?!! I’m so jealous. She is absolutely marvelous.
I would highly recommend Elizabeth George. She writes mysteries in the same way Penny does- fabulous, interesting core characters with more of a psychological bent to the mysteries. It’s the Inspector Lynley series. There are 20 and they’re each fairly long so you’ll be set for a good while!
Renee (Itsbooktalk) says
I think your reviews and excitement for this series are the final push I need to try it again. I tried the audio of Still Life a couple years ago and thought it was super slow so gave up, thinking the series wasn’t for me. But I love mysteries and everyone seems to rave about this author so I think I’ll try again in print, starting from the beginning. I hate feeling like I’m missing out:)
I’m not sure I’d like the audio. Her sentences are so lovely, I feel as if reading them is better. Still Life is a bit slow, but give it another chance!