by Louise Penny
New York : Minotaur Books, 2009.
Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie are away, celebrating their anniversary in a small hotel in the middle of nowhere. The Finney family are the other guests, "celebrating" a reunion, but each of them seem deeply unhappy underneath their surface behavior. When murder intrudes, Inspector Gamache and his team have a wealth of suspects to sort through: the question is not why but how?
I absolutely love this series, and I find it so hard to explain exactly why. I read more analytically if there's something I don't like, something I can focus on outside of the story. But the Three Pines series completely draws me in to that world, to these characters whom I've come to care so much about that I can smile or tear up depending on what's going on in their lives and hearts. I got up this morning with about 80 pages left, put on a pot of coffee, sat down on the couch to read and didn't get up to get my cup of coffee until I'd finished the book (and if you know me at all, you know almost nothing gets between me and coffee first thing in the morning). This fourth book in the series is the first to be set away from Three Pines, but I was not at all disappointed by the results. Once again, the characters' inner struggles are the focal point, because twisted human emotions are what lead to murder and Armand Gamache carefully exposes his own and others' secrets to find the truth. If you've been putting off reading the series, all I can say is, what are you waiting for?