The sleepy, scenic village of Three Pines, just hours from Montreal, seems like an unlikely setting for murder and intrigue. But the tiny, secluded village has seen its share of both.
The town square is ringed with older, well kept homes, a theater, and combination library and cozy, welcoming bistro, which is a gathering place for villagers. The book’s unforgettable, main characters are friends and frequent bistro visitors who come in from the cold Canadian winter to enjoy hot coffee, or wine, excellent food and lively discussions around the large stone fireplace.
Ruth is a grumpy, outspoken retired, award-winning poet whose constant companion is a duck. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Montreal Police Department and his wife recently joined the group since moving to Three Pines. Myrna the bookstore owner, mothers quirky but sweet bistro owners Gabriel and Olivier. She is worried about her missing friend, Constance. The elderly Constance carefully guards the secret that she is the last survivor of the famous Ouellette quintriplets, whose birth and early life caused an international media frenzy for years. And no one has ever seen the inside of Constance’s home until the morning she is found murdered and they discover that she has used the walls of her home as canvases for her strange, beautiful paintings.
The Inspector begins discovering connections between Constance’s murder, the unexplained nearby murder of a young woman, and corruption and evil-doing in his own police department. The secrets go deeper and become more intertwined, threatening Inspector Gamache, the police department and the village itself. Penny skillfully twists and turns her plot and her characters, tugging the reader into the lives of the villagers and the intrigue surrounding them.
How the Light Gets In is nine in a series of 10 Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny. All are set in the village of Three Pines.
—by Gail Stilwill