on June 11, 2010
Short review: It's an incredible book and I am very lucky that I had access to an Advanced Reader's Copy. You, gentle reader, would enjoy it most if you read the first five books in the Three Pines mystery series as they all build in terms of character and story to make the experience far more rich and rewarding.
And a longer (if you wnat to keep reading) version: My love affair with the books of Louise Penny began two years ago when I read the first of her Three Pines mysteries, "Still Life". I have read a lot of mysteries (including 120 in the last three years) and Louise Penny has become one of my favorite writers. All of the mysteries I read have their fair share of good and evil, usually a corpse or two and someone searching for the answers.
In Louise's world, her people are so complex and fascinating (beginning with the Surete's Armand Gamache) that you wish you could move into the small Canadian village of Three Pines and join them for a cup of cafe au lait and a croissant. So what if people seem to die there (of unnatural causes) at a higher per capita rate than almost anywhere else! It's a world of good friends and great food and challenging weather, of art and poetry and greed and mayhem and undercurrents. So many wonderful undercurrents. Penny does not underestimate the readers' intelligence and for that we can be grateful. This newest book, "Bury Your Dead" takes you to several locations throughout Canada, but her skill in tying it all back to Three Pines and the residents there is wonderful. I have no desire to spoil any of the storyline(s) for you, so I will just say that if you like your reading to include sly wit, heartbreaking emotions and a deep understanding of what makes us human, this is the book (and series) for you. Enjoy.
6th book the Chief Inspector Gamache series
'Bury your Dead', won numerous awards in Canada and other countries for being the 'Best Crime Novel' in 2010 and consequently became profitable for everyone in the business. Browsing reviews from different sites before I finalized my thoughts, I discovered most readers' qualified it as extraordinary; the best in the series'.seems I am one of the few to question this assessment.'OMG did I dislike one of Louise Penny's cosy novels? What did I miss?
I agree with those saying that Louise Penny ran out of ideas in this one, after creating so much murder and suspense in Three Pines she seems to have lost focus and direction in this one. The action moves to Québec City, dead of winter, Carnival time, where we learn the loveable Inspector has suffered a traumatic event. Initially I wondered, did I miss something, where, when and how did this event happen?
This latest instalment is a rather quiet introspective story that intertwines three plots:
1) Inspector Gamache while in recovery mode decides to spend some time with his mentor in Québec City and rehash some of his memories that still haunt him and try to tie up some loose ends. While there, he stumbles upon the Lit& His Library/Museum at the time when a body is discovered in the basement. Naturally our Québec 'Columbo' takes the reins of the investigation, an investigation that brushes the delicate aspects of history between the French and Anglo communities.
2) While in flashback mode Gamache rehashes the events of a deadly police investigation that went terribly wrong. A deadly raid that always comes back to haunt him.
3) Another case that has also haunted him over time is brought to the forefront. He was never happy with the outcome and asks Jean Guy Beauvoir to revisit the case with the hope of answering some of his unanswered questions. It is a step back in time covering the events in the novel 'The Brutal Telling'
The author hopscotches her way between plots that are not linked in an awkward manner making it very hard to follow, even with a full background of the previous novels, I found it a challenge. MS. Penny passion for Québec can be overwhelming at times, French terms and expression add atmosphere to the prose but may not have full effect if not understood. Gamache wandering the cobble stone streets of the Old City munching a baguette or a croissant spells tourist rather than a native of the province in my books'.The pacing pussyfoots all through the story, the only serious action surfaces in the last pages with Gamache's step by step recount of the botched investigation.
This was a tedious read, a disappointment. I preferred when Inspector Gamache focused on one case at a time
on January 10, 2013
and names too remember. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in the history of Quebec and
the separatist movement.
I should admit, upfront that I am not really a reader of detective stories and, anyway, there are enough reviews here that discuss Louise Penny's skill as a writer of this genre in all its facets. It was also my first encounter of Penny's delightful, pondering Armand Gamache. I enjoyed BURY YOUR DEAD for reasons that, mostly, may not fall within the usual framework. I was in Quebec City while reading this story and with time on my hands. So I followed Gamache's walks from the Chateau Frontenac and the Promenade, overlooking the St. Laurence River, to the narrow alleys that reveal what used to be the Anglophone section of Old Quebec... It was a delight: the author's descriptions give you more than the landmarks, a lot more. These are interesting enough and the book is one of the best guides of that part of Old Quebec you can find, with a good introduction into its local history, and recommended cafes and much more. I drank coffee in one and pondered dinner in another. But back to the story at the centre of the events.
The case that Gamache is asked to involve himself with - inofficially as he is on leave to recover from the dramas of a recent case that didn't go the way the experienced detective had imagined it should. Somebody has been murdered in the basement archives of the English Literary Society, a venerable institution established in the 1830s. The Anglo community is nervous about the circumstances of the death in their building that is not publicly accessible and about the person who was murdered... the plot thickens and even if you can guess who is behind the crime, the revelation is done in a circuitous and interesting way. History, going back to the Founding Father of Quebec, is at the centre of it all. Well done!
Those readers familiar with Armand Gamache will know how much he enjoys his coffee, food and drink at the right time as much as a good conversation that reaches far beyond the case at hand, any previous case not quite concluded, and into philosophy, religion and, of course, history. For me, wandering around Old Quebec, this book will keep a special place and Armand will have enough of a pull to try another one of Penny's stories. [Friederike Knabe]
on May 23, 2013
I had read 3 or 4 of Louise Penny's earlier novels but found that the first one, Still Life, was by far the best; a couple more were enough of Three Pines for me, even though I grew up in Quebec. So I was intrigued that Bury Your Dead takes place primarily in Quebec City. I found the Quebec City plot, characters and setting very interesting and captivating ... even if Ms Penny took some liberties with historical fact (and acknowledged that). What ruined the reading experience for me was the weaving in of the secondary plot surrounding the murder of "the hermit" near Three Pines, evidently (?) continuing a plot from a previous novel that I had not read. There's the Quebec City / Samuel de Champlain plot, the La Grande dam bombing plot (which I did, in fact, see as necessary to the novel), the hermit plot -- too many plots! Take out the hermit's murder -- totally unnnecessary and just a way to bring in the Three Pines characters for their fans in need of a fix -- and this would have been a much better mystery novel.
on December 5, 2011
I'm in the middle of reading this book now, which means I'm caught in that awkward stage of wanting to race to the finish, and NOT wanting to see the end of it. To solve this situation, I'm more or less torturing myself by reading it in one-or-two-chapter increments. What makes this easier to do is that I've already read Penny's previous Chief Inspector Gamache novels, so am familiar with her characters right down to Rosa the duck, who may or may not return (stay tuned!).
For me, the Quebec setting and CI Gamache are the big attractions and I enjoy how well Penny depicts them. And after this book, Inspector Beauvoir is likely to become the third big attraction. At this point in the story, Beauvoir's having a late-night conversation with cantankerous elderly poet Ruth, as they trade insults and Beauvoir begins to find this outwardly unpleasant experience strangely healing. (To his credit, he suspected it would be.)
This episode encapsulates what Penny does so well--humanizes her characters and makes you enjoy being in their company. The plot can seem secondary to the people, but it's always strongly there and Penny's readers will enjoy following the thread as she leads us into the story's labyrinth of crime and evil. They'll also appreciate how she balances the dark side of her books with the basic strength, decency and goodness of Chief Inspector Gamache. He's the light at the end of the tunnel that signals to readers they're in good hands. (Even when, as in this novel, Gamache has made at least one serious mistake.)
That's all for now, as I've just talked myself into reading the next chapter!
The eagerly awaited sixth Armand Gamache tale by the remarkable Louise Penny has just arrived and I'm all ears ' literally because it is read by the award winning voice performer Ralph Cosham. Having narrated all titles in this sterling series Cosham is a standard bearer for voice performance, perfectly reflecting with tone, nuance, and anticipatory pause the sophisticated, complex mystery unfolding before us.
Moving easily from The Brutal Telling, Penny's last in this series, we find Chief Inspector Gamache on leave, time taken to recover from what he considers to be an unforgivably wrong decision. It is Winter Carnival in Quebec city, and Gamache seeks solitude in the quietude of the Literary and Historical society. However, there is little peace as a determined historian who had sought the body of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, meets an unexpected and violent end. Gamache, fearing an escalation of tensions between the English and French immediately becomes involved. Yet, he cannot help but wonder what the 400 year old grave of Champlain could possibly reveal that would cause someone to commit murder.
Meanwhile, another murder has taken place in the village of Three Pines, and Bistro owner, Olivier, has been convicted of the killing. Gamache's associate, Beauvvoir, is asking questions of the village's residents to determine whether or not anyone else had a motive for this murder.
Could the past and the present possibly be interrelated? With rich descriptions of Quebec and a fascinating story line Penny once again captures us. Yet another triumph for this author and narrator.
- Gail Cooke
on October 4, 2010
In most jobs you can make a mistake and nobody dies. But in some jobs; air traffic controllers, fire fighters, and police detectives mistakes can be deadly. These jobs have a built in terror factor; the terror that if you fail people may die.
It's this terror that Louise Penny uses to create suspense and plot development in her latest book, Bury your Dead. Once again we meet Inspector Gamache. He's in Quebec city recovering from a deadly mistake. While there he becomes involved in a murder mystery and a historical mystery. And if that wasn't enough mystery, the fact that he may have made a mistake in the Three Pines case (The Brutal Telling) begins to haunt him.
While he is going about the city looking for clues to the murder, we are given access to his thoughts as he plays back his most recent mistake; the one that resulted in a leave of absence from his job. If this hadn't been handled properly it could have become very confusing for the reader but instead the transitions between real time and his thoughts are smoothly done and the reader is caught up in the story playing in Gamache's head as much as the one playing out around him. Gamache's side-kick, Inspector Beauvior reopens the Three Pines case, giving us yet another narrative to follow in this complex but entertaining novel.
This is also a book about history, specifically Quebec's history. In fact it's possible to think of Quebec, it's history, it's present and it's politics as another character in the novel. Penny's love for the province she lives in is very evident throughout all her novels. But the descriptions of the places and people in this one made me want to book my next vacation there.
You could read this book as a stand alone; there's enough information about the people of Three Pines and the previous murder case to go on. However, the real pleasure in reading Louise Penny's books is getting to know the characters and their surroundings. She was a journalist before writing fiction and has the journalistic eye for detail and commentary.
Bury Your Dead is a compelling, complex book that examines history and portrays the present through excellent story telling and interesting characters. Buy the book, read the series, you will be glad you did.
on September 27, 2010
Louise Penny's newest Armand Gamache mystery is her best yet. Her well-crafted, complex novel takes the crime genre to another level; her writing is as layered as Quebecois society. We find Gamache in a very troubled mental place in "Bury your Dead"; he escapes his life in Montreal for a sojourn in Quebec City after confronting failure. But murder seems to follow him everywhere, and when the body of a would-be archaeologist turns up in the basement of the literal English-language stronghold of the city, Gamache finds himself investigating the case. Second-guessing himself at every turn, Gamache sends his partner, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, back to Three Pines to ask some questions about an old murder case. In his own way, Beauvoir deals with his grief in the unlikely setting of Three Pines.
Featuring both old and new characters, Penny digs deeper into the psyche of her rich cast. Her descriptions of cozy surroundings and gourmet meals are as rich as always, and the cold Quebecois winter is almost a character in itself. It's a crime novel, yes, but "Bury your Dead" speaks to the nature of humanity and convincingly portrays the nature of society. Don't miss this one!
on January 22, 2012
Ms Penny improves which each new book. Discover this great city while enjoying an entertaining whodunnit! No need to read all the previous books as recurring characters are well described. Some creative liberties with historical facts which the author acknowledges in the introduction. A good read nonetheless.