Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bury Your Dead

by Louise Penny
New York : Minotaur Books, 2010.

This is the sixth book in the Three Pines / Inspector Gamache series and necessarily has spoilers for previous books. Here are my reviews for the previous books in the series: Still Life, A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, and The Brutal Telling.

Inspector Gamache is taking a leave of absence from the Surete, after an incident that scars him, both physically and emotionally. He is the old city of Quebec, spending time with his old mentor and browsing the shelves of the Literary and Historical Society, a library that keeps a collection of English historical materials. When a man fixated on Samuel de Champlain is killed in the basement of the "Lit and His," Gamache helps the local police with their investigation. Meanwhile, he has daily received letters from Gabri, friendly, but insistent that Olivier did not kill the hermit.

My sister has this habit of keeping books so she can read them over - not usually the whole thing, but portions here and there, reading the beginning, or a favorite chapter, or the ending over again. Now that I've finished Bury Your Dead, I understand a little better why she would do that. The story lines - the historical and current mystery Gamache works on, Beauvoir's story, and the revelation of just what happened to cause Gamache to take a leave of absence - are expertly intertwined and perfectly paced. I experienced a range of emotions following these characters, coming the closest I have in years to crying over a book. I want to start all over again to tease out the details and start to understand the chronology of some events that are given out piecemeal, in an order dictated by what I need to know about the characters and their choices rather than a time frame. An incredibly satisfying read that will stay with me a long time, Bury Your Dead is, in my opinion, the best of this series so far.

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