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Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 6) Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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Starred Review. At the start of Agatha-winner Penny's moving and powerful sixth Chief Insp. Armand Gamache mystery (after 2009's The Brutal Telling), Gamache is recovering from a physical and emotional trauma, the exact nature of which isn't immediately disclosed, in Québec City. When the body of Augustin Renaud, an eccentric who'd spent his life searching for the burial site of Samuel de Champlain, Québec's founder, turns up in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society, Gamache reluctantly gets involved in the murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Gamache dispatches his longtime colleague, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, to the quiet town of Three Pines to revisit the case supposedly resolved at the end of the previous book. Few writers in any genre can match Penny's ability to combine heartbreak and hope in the same scene. Increasingly ambitious in her plotting, she continues to create characters readers would want to meet in real life. 100,000 first printing.
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*Starred Review* Penny’s first five crime novels in her Armand Gamache series have all been outstanding, but her latest is the best yet, a true tour de force of storytelling. When crime writers attempt to combine two fully fleshed plots into one book, the hull tends to get a bit leaky; Penny, on the other hand, constructs an absolutely airtight ship in which she manages to float not two but three freestanding but subtly intertwined stories. Front and center are the travails of Gamache, chief inspector of the Sûreté du Quebec, who is visiting an old friend in Quebec City and hoping to recover from a case gone wrong. Soon, however, he is involved with a new case: the murder of an archaeologist who was devoted to finding the missing remains of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Quebec. As Gamache is drawn into this history-drenched investigation—the victim’s body was found in an English-language library, calling up the full range of animosity between Quebec’s French majority and dwindling English minority—he is also concerned that he might have jailed the wrong man in his last case (The Brutal Telling,2009) and orders his colleague, Jean Guy Beauvoir, back to the village of Three Pines to find what they missed the first time. Hovering over both these present investigations is the case gone wrong in the past, the details of which are gradually revealed in perfectly placed flashbacks. Penny brilliantly juggles the three stories, which are connected only by a kind of psychological membrane; as Gamache makes sense of what happened in the past, he is better able to think his way through present dilemmas. From the tangled history of Quebec to the crippling reality of grief to the nuances of friendship, Penny hits every note perfectly in what is one of the most elaborately constructed mysteries in years. --Bill Ott
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Top customer reviews
And it is these facts about Champlain that form the heart of Louise Penny’s “Bury Your Dead,” the sixth Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery.
I’m not sure how Penny does it, but each of these Gamache mysteries is better than the one before it. Bury Your Dead is downright dazzling; Penny tells the story of four mysteries simultaneously and successfully pulls it off.
The Literary and Historical Society of Quebec is something of an anomaly. It is a library and historical society, but it is an Anglo society in the heart of Old Quebec. Its board is mostly older men and women, and the library is generally a quiet place, deliberately maintaining something of a low profile.
The body of an amateur archaeologist is found in the society’s dirt-floor basement. He’s been bludgeoned with a shovel. This particular archaeologist had a mania for finding the burial place of Champlain, and has had a reputation for some spectacular failures.
Champlain is one mystery; the murder is the second. The third is what Chief Inspector Gamache of the Quebec Surete is doing, spending time with his old boss. And it isn’t a simple friendly visit. Gamache is recovering from a police operation that went very badly. During a rutine traffic stop, a policeman had been killed and a young officer, one of Gamache’s own, taken prisoner. And all we know at the beginning is that Gamache is recovering, including from his own physical wounds.
Gamache’s right-0hand man, Detective Jean-Guy Bouvier, is also recovering from his physical wounds. He is in the village of Three Pines, sent there by Gamache, to see if they arrested the wrong man for murder, the story of “The Brutal Telling.” The man was convicted and sent to prison. But Gamache knows the mistakes he made with the police operation, and he knows a mistake may have been made in Three Pines.
Four mysteries in all – where Champlain is buried; the murder in the society’s basement; the police operation gone badly; and the case in Three Pines. Not all are connected, and Penny masterfully unfolds and weaves together each of them. It’s history, mystery, police procedure, and the uncovering of human emotions and passions all rolled into one overall story.
And it’s an excellent read.
The case that Gamache is asked to involve himself with - inofficially as he is on leave to recover from the dramas of a recent case that didn't go the way the experienced detective had imagined it should. Somebody has been murdered in the basement archives of the English Literary Society, a venerable institution established in the 1830s. The Anglo community is nervous about the circumstances of the death in their building that is not publicly accessible and about the person who was murdered... the plot thickens and even if you can guess who is behind the crime, the revelation is done in a circuitous and interesting way. History, going back to the Founding Father of Quebec, is at the centre of it all. Well done!
Those readers familiar with Armand Gamache will know how much he enjoys his coffee, food and drink at the right time as much as a good conversation that reaches far beyond the case at hand, any previous case not quite concluded, and into philosophy, religion and, of course, history. For me, wandering around Old Quebec, this book will keep a special place and Armand will have enough of a pull to try another one of Penny's stories. [Friederike Knabe]