Book Reviews

Bury your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache #6) by Louise Penny

We find Chief Inspector Armand Gamache in Quebec City, spending time with his dear friend and mentor Emile Comeau. Both he and Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his second in command, are recovering from wounds, both physical and emotional. Throughout the book, how these wounds were inflicted is revealed in flashbacks.

When a notorious amateur archeologist is found murdered in the basement of The Literary and Historical Society’s Library, the Quebec police ask for Gamache’s assistance. The plot explores the tension between the Anglophone and Francophone residents of Quebec, and how this tension has, in the past, exploded into terrorism and violence. The Literary & Historical Society holds the English community’s ‘records, their thoughts, their memories, their symbols’. Penny’s descriptions of the library are written with obvious affection and warmth for all libraries: ‘It was a room at once intimate and grand. It smelled of the past, of a time before computers, before information was ‘Googled’ and ‘blogged’. Before laptops and BlackBerries and all the other tools that mistook information for knowledge’.

Meanwhile, Jean-Guy is also on leave and recovering. Gamache has asked him to spend time in our beloved village of Three Pines, looking into the murder they investigated in the previous book The Brutal Telling. Gamache is concerned that the wrong man has been convicted. As always, it’s Gamache’s point of view that makes this series so rewarding. He ruminates on what makes his job so fascinating, and so difficult – ‘How the same person could be both kind and cruel, compassionate and wretched. Unraveling a murder was more about getting to know the people than the evidence’.

Penny has written a taut, complex and suspenseful novel, which is seeped with a deep sense of sadness and tragedy. The three storylines are resolved, some in unexpected ways. This is by far the best in this series – and they’ve all been outstanding! I highly recommend reading these books in order to fully appreciate the development of the characters.

Reviewed by Gaby Meares
Murder on a Monday Reading Group

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Bury your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache #6) by Louise Penny

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