Louise Penny‘s sixth Inspector Gamache mystery, Bury Your Dead (2010), is also the best book in the series so far– but only, I think, if you’ve read them in order.
I loved Marcia Muller’s Locked In because I thought it was the payoff for faithfully reading the series for so many years. Each character did things that made so much sense if you’d been following them through 20-odd earlier books. This book had much the same feeling, but the payoff is in the plot rather than the characters: all the twists in the investigation described in The Brutal Telling; the ins and outs of the people on Gamache’s team; even the chief’s track record, all come into play.
The book begins with Armand Gamache in agony because he made a mistake involving his agents. This story unwinds slowly, told by more than one character (sorry, I can’t tell who without revealing who is or isn’t still alive), throughout the book. At the same time, Gamache finds himself involved in a double mystery. Although he’s supposed to be recovering at the home of his old mentor Emile, he finds himself drawn into the investigation when a famous amateur archeologist is killed in the basement of the library where Gamache is doing research, and his murder is inextricably linked to his search for the long-lost burial site of Quebec founder Samuel de Champlain. And, that’s not all! Gamache has also begun to doubt his own conclusion about the murder described in The Brutal Telling, and sends one of his team to Three Pines re-investigate that case.
Penny invents an intriguing (and possibly offensive to some Canadians) resolution to the Champlain case, and an interesting solution to the murder, which is all tied up in the French-English divide in Quebec. The book is, then, very Quebecois, moreso than the other Three Pines mysteries, in what I thought was a very satisfying way. The Three Pines reinvestigation is also satisfactorily resolved, and the events regarding the operation that went bad are slowly, and painfully, revealed. I’ll only say that I do congratulate Penny on making Gamache a bit less perfect in this one.
For your reading pleasure, Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books in order (U.S. titles) with links to my reviews:
A Fatal Grace
The Cruelest Month
A Rule Against Murder
The Brutal Telling
Bury Your Dead
A Trick of Light — new release! Reviewed here on Friday