A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache #18) by Louise Penny
The author (or publicist) is a master of the innocuous sounding book title. A World of Curiosities refers to a master painting found bricked up in an alcove in Three Pines, Chief Inspector Gamache’s home village outside Montreal. By the end of this eighteenth instalment in the Gamache crime series, even the villagers are wishing it had not been found.
At first, there is a main plot and two sub-plots running concurrently; a shifting of time between the present day and two historical events in Armand Gamache’s police career. At last the reader is given the background to Gamache’s first policing role; the second story tells of his first meeting with Jean-Guy Beauvoir. The latter segues into the present mystery in the most horrific manner.
This reader has come to the conclusion that the author is the Canadian version of Scotland’s Val McDermid. Both do not hesitate to utilise the most gory, heinous, deprived, grisly forms of torture and murder a human being could possibly inflict upon another living soul. Both have a main protagonist who is a hunter of men, aided by a team of unlikely but individually gifted police officers. Their social circle is widened by use of family members, friends and experts germane to the topic under investigation.