During this wonderful series of mysteries, author Louise Penny has moved the main players forward, forming them into deep and memorable characters.
Each novel has its own murder mystery, and the threads keep coming back to the tiny village of Three Pines, near Montreal. Now there's more.
This ninth novel in the series refines the already well-drawn characters further, as they slog through issues that continue to plague them from one book to the next.
But Penny has upped the ante plot-wise too, parlaying the mystery genre into a mystery/thriller with incredibly high stakes. His wife is out of town, and most of his old allies have fallen away, but Chief Inspector Armand Gamache continues to pursue the chimera of some terrible and longstanding corruption in high places.
I'm listening to the CD series in the car, so I look forward to my next drive, even my next commute. On returning home, I find it hard to tear myself away from the story and get out of the car. Good thing the winter weather here is not as cold as it is in Quebec.
There's only one thing that worries me. What if this book is the last of the series? I've come to love Gamache and Reine Marie, Beauvoir and Lacoste, Clara and Myna and Olivier and Gabri. I sure hope this isn't the last of them, but if it is, I have a back-up plan. I'll go through the stories again in the form of the TV movies.
Louise Penny is a wonderful writer who balances her dark plots with the integrity, humanity and humour of her protagonists. She even has advice and encouragement for aspiring writers.