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How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Hardcover – August 27, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,975 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Complex characterizations and sophisticated plotting distinguish Agatha-winner Penny's masterful ninth novel (after 2012's The Beautiful Mystery). The devastating conclusion to the previous book saw Jean-Guy Beauvoir abandon his mentor, Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Quebec Sûreté, and return to substance abuse. Things have never looked bleaker for the unassuming and empathic Gamache. A corrupt superior has gutted his homicide department, and the agents he now supervises treat their cases with blatant indifference. Amid all this personal and professional turmoil, Gamache lands a strange murder case. There's no obvious motive for why somebody killed elderly Constance Ouellet—the only living member of a set of quintuplets who were national celebrities in their youth—by striking her in the head with a lamp. Fair-play clues lead to a surprising solution to the murder, while Gamache's battle to save his career unfolds with subtlety and intelligence. Once again, Penny impressively balances personal courage and faith with heartbreaking choices and monstrous evil. First printing of 300,000; author tour. Agent: Patty Moosbrugger, Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Aug.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When we last saw Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, he was solving the murder of a cloistered monk (The Beautiful Mystery, 2012). No problem there, but in the process, his relationship with his deputy, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, imploded, leaving Jean-Guy back on prescription drugs and in league with Gamache’s enemies within the police force. That situation has only worsened, as Gamache’s attempts to expose corruption and evil-doing at the highest levels of the force have prompted a vicious counterattack, leaving the chief inspector vulnerable professionally and personally. Into that cauldron comes a new murder case involving the death of the last surviving sister of quintuplets, whose birth and early life prompted a Canadian media frenzy in the mid-twentieth century. The dead woman has ties to a resident of Three Pines, the idyllic, off-the-grid village outside Montreal where several of Gamache’s previous adventures have been set. Penny does something very clever here, something that heightens the tension and the emotional intensity of the novel: she not only puts Gamache in harm’s way but also exposes Three Pines itself to defilement, forcing the reader to face the realization that a place too good for its time may cease to exist as we know it—a cozy setting under attack from a decidedly hard-boiled world. Penny has always used setting to support theme brilliantly, but here she outdoes herself, contrasting light and dark, innocence and experience, goodness and evil both in the emotional lives of her characters and in the way those characters leave their footprints on the landscape. Another bravura performance from an author who has reinvented the village mystery as profoundly as Dashiell Hammett transformed the detective novel. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Penny’s last novel received a 100,000-copy first printing. This one triples that, only one indication that, in Penny’s case, literary quality and commercial success are feeding one another. --Bill Ott

Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Book 9)
  • Hardcover: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (September 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312655479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312655471
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,975 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Constance Pineault is the kind of woman you hope would move to the winsome village of Three Pines. She is self-sufficient, feels motherly to bistro owners Gabri and Olivier, is friends with bookstore owner Myrna, drinks happily with mad poet Ruth, and is even considering getting a duck.

But there is a mystery about Constance. She won't let Clara paint her portrait. It is almost as if she has a secret in her past. Perhaps a big one. Perhaps a secret someone would kill for.

"Who doesn't have a secret?" asks crazy Ruth. Secrets, and the revealing of them, is Inspector Gamache's focus in this book. It seems everyone has them. There's the mysterious death of a woman by a bridge he passed - why would a young woman jump over a bridge in a cold Canadian winter Gamache wonders.

Then there's the mystery regarding Gamache's cunning supervisor, Chief Superintendent Francoeur, who is decimating Gamache's homicide department and ordering Gamache's former assistant Jean-Guy Beauvoir on dangerous raids. Is Francoeur trying to drive Gamache and Beauvoir over the edge, or is something deeper and more sinister at play?

And what about the secrets in Constance's past? The sleepy little village of Three Pines is about to have a rude awakening. Even high tech visits it in Gamache's efforts shine the light on the secrets. This is one of the most intense investigations Gamache has lead as the secrets go deeper and deeper. Will the villagers act to protect Gamache and their village from the bad guys? Will the bad guys meet their match in Ruth?

A brilliant balance between modern, big city intrigue and bucolic, small village happenings, this mystery novel is an absorbing read. Grit meets charm.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Canadian author Louise Penny has so far written nine stories in this series. The first four, labeled "Three Pines Mysteries," were well written, homey whodunits set in a small town in Canada and solved by Chief Inspector Gamache and his sidekick Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Surete du Quebec. By the time Book 5, "The Brutal Telling" (often referred to as Penny's breakout novel) came out, the cover label had changed to "A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel."

Book 6, "Bury Your Dead" opens with the news that in the interim between the "Brutal" and "Bury" books, something horrendous had happened that left many of Gamache's men dead and both Gamache and Beauvoir seriously injured and emotionally ravaged. The emotional and physical impact of that tragedy will follow the two detectives relentlessly through all the Gamache novels that follow. Which is why I recommend newbies read "Bury Your Dead," "A Trick of the Light," and "The Beautiful Mystery" before tackling this one.

By the time we get to this ninth in the series, the bad apples, led by the villainous Chief Inspector Francoeur, will have taken over control of the Surete from Gamache and the good guys; the Francoeur faction will have grabbed away all of Gamache's best detectives--including Beauvoir--and are blatantly plotting to force Gamache's resignation.

While all this is going on, there's a murder to be solved. Gamache has been called to Three Pines, where Myrna, the bookstore owner, needs his help finding her missing friend Constance, who, it will turn out, was (a) murdered and (b) the last of Canada's famous Ouellet quintuplets.

In recent years I've read all the Gamache books as soon as they come out...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...Louise Penny's new novel, "How the Light Gets In", is probably going to make my Top 10 novels of 2013. Reading it was like listening to a beautifully-crafted work by Mozart. On the other hand, the musicians playing the Mozart and Penny in writing "Light" have struck a few slightly "off" notes. So, how do I reconcile the "off" notes to a five-star book rating? It's difficult, but I'll try.

"How the Light Gets In" is the ninth book in Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. I discovered the series only last year when I read the previous book "The Beautiful Mystery". I was so impressed with that book that I read six of the seven of her back-list. Most of the previous books were set in both Montreal and in the village of Three Pines, a couple of hours out of the city. A secluded place, Three Pines, sort of seems like the villages depicted in Thomas Kinkade's Christmas scenes. It looks like an ethereal place but the small village has seen its share of murders. It is Three Pines again where the majority of the action occurs in "Light". Bad things are also occurring in Montreal, where wickedness, murder, and havoc threaten to arise at any point during the story. Oh, and "venality" makes an appearance, too.

Louise Penny is an ambitious writer. Her books have a multitude of plots and characters and she juggles them both. How WELL you, the reader, feels she juggles them will determine if you enjoy this book. In "Light" she includes her Inspector Gamache and his family and aides at the Surete de Quebec, and his enemies. Also included are the townspeople of Three Pines - human and fowl - as well as a family of quintuplets, who are involved in the murder case Gamache is charged with solving.

The only problem with this book are the couple of dropped plot-points and characters.
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