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Louise Penny, THE LONG WAY HOME

I wondered, after Penny’s last book which completed a multi-book theme about corruption in the Quebec police department, how she would continue.  She does so very ably by having her protagonist, Chief Inspector of Homicide, Armand Gamache, retire and return to live in the remote village of Three Pines.  Three Pines has figured in other books, so this gives Penny the opportunity to further develop characters introduced in the past.

The theme of this story is artistic creativity, as Clara, a well-known painter, asks Gamache to find out why her husband Peter has not returned home at the agreed time after their year-long separation.  This leads to a journey into the the forests of Quebec and into the darkness that is often the other side of creativity.  As always, Penny is a careful observer of nature and of her characters: every word and gesture taking on great importance.  This may slow the story down at times, but it also provides the atmosphere that makes Penny one of the most literary of today’s mystery writers.  The plot does not disappoint, and the ending comes as something of a surprise.  This is a book not to be missed by fans of Penny, and those who would like to meet her for the first time.

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