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The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Paperback – July 28, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: In her previous novel, the international bestseller How The Light Gets In, Louise Penny left her embattled homicide inspector, Armand Gamache, in the idyllic village of Three Pines, on the edge of a new phase of life: retirement. At the start of The Long Way Home, the tenth in Penny’s wildly popular Inspector Gamache series (you can buy “Vive Gamache” t-shirts and mugs from Penny’s website), Gamache and his wife are finally at peace, mixing among the quirky, testy inhabitants of Three Pines. But recovery would make for a dull book, so trouble soon finds Gamache when his neighbor Clara seeks help finding her missing husband, who left town in a funk over Clara’s success as an artist. In dragging Gamache from his reverie, Clara realizes she’s awakened something in the ex-chief. There’s a mythic heft to the story--man can’t escape the past, or evil, or death. Though the descent into darkness, and the search for a “sin-sick soul,” at times felt overly ominous, I liked Penny’s exploration of art, jealousy, and the lengths to which people will go to create something that matters. But, as with the entire series, it’s Penny’s chiseled characters that make this novel such a treat. Three Pines is a cozy, friendly place, but even amid the picturesque pines of southern Quebec, sin and sick souls are always lurking. --Neal Thompson--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“Ms. Penny's books mix some classic elements of the police procedural with a deep-delving psychology, as well as a sorrowful sense of the precarious nature of human goodness, and the persistence of its opposite, even in rural Edens like Three Pines.” ―The New York Times
“Again and again, Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series is Exhibit A for how to write a great crime novel, with each installment improving on the previous.” ―Sarah Weinman, National Post
“A counterintuitive and absorbing mystery from a superb author.” ―USA Today
“Penny, as always, creates a complex story about people dealing with complex emotional issues. And she does so with deeply drawn and ever-evolving characters, a sense of place that leaps from the pages and prose that invites multiple re-readings…A story that examines the making of art and the struggles of artists, The Long Way Home is itself a work of art, a novel that transcends genre, engages heart and mind and, like all of Penny's work, leaves the reader awestruck by the depth of her skills and the decency of her spirit.” ―Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Penny tells powerful stories of damage and healing in the human heart, leavened with affection, humor and – thank goodness – redemption.” ―The Charlotte Observer
“As with all the author's other titles, Penny wraps her mystery around the history and personality of the people involved. By this point in the series, each inhabitant of Three Pines is a distinct individual, and the humor that lights the dark places of the investigation is firmly rooted in their long friendships, or, in some cases, frenemyships. The heartbreaking conclusion will leave series readers blinking back tears.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“Penny dexterously combines suspense with psychological drama, overlaying the whole with an all-powerful sense of landscape as a conduit to meaning...Another gem from the endlessly astonishing Penny.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Perceptive . . . perfectly paced . . . Penny offers real insight into the evolution of artistic style as well as the envy that artists feel about each other's success . . . . The prose is remarkable fresh, filled with illumination and delightful turns of phrase.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Penny develops the story behind Peter's disappearance at a slow, masterful pace, revealing each layer of the mystery alongside an introspective glance at Gamache and his comrades, who can all sympathize with Peter's search for purpose. The emotional depth accessed here is both a wonder and a joy to uncover..” ―Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
One of the Three Pines residents is Clara Morrow, an artist who rather unexpectedly became something of a sensation with a recent show in Montreal. Her husband Peter had been the nationally recognized artist in the family, until Clara’s show. And then it appeared she had surpassed him. Peter reacted badly, so badly that he tried to sabotage her work.
The Morrows had agreed to separate for a year, and then meet to decide if their marriage could survive. The year passes, and Clara hears nothing. Finally, she asks Gamanche to help find Peter. Gamanche asks his long-time Surete assistant and now son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to help. The clues are sparse. They discover Peter had gone to Paris, Florence, and Venice, and then to a small town in Scotland. The three cities make sense for an artist trying to find himself and renew his art, but a small town in Scotland?
Using what appear to be some very bad paintings left with Morrow family members in Toronto, Gamanche and Beauvoir continue their search. The closer they get, the more they find danger, and murder.
“The Long Way Home” by Canadian author Louise Penny is the tenth (of twelve) Chief Inspector Gamanche novels. As is Penny’s style and depth, it is an intriguing mystery, but it is also much more – a reflection into what is art, what inspires artists, and what happens when the muse flees. Or is killed.
The residents of Three Pines themselves figure as part of the investigating team; it is one of their own who is missing. And Penny has created some of the most memorable ongoing characters in mystery fiction, including the psychologist-turned-bookstore owner Myrna Slater, the celebrated poet with the waspish tongue and four-letter vocabulary Ruth Zardo (and her wonderful duck Rosa), the café and bed-and-breakfast owners Olivier and Gabriel, and now also Reine-Marie, Gamanche’s beloved wife.
“The Long Way Home” is vintage Gamanche and vintage Louise Penny, an ugly story of murder, jealousy, and revenge told so beautifully that the ugliness is muted and controlled.
All that said, I can't give this book a higher rating; 3 1/2 stars would be more accurate. It just wasn't as good as some (most) of the previous in this series. It dragged a bit, and wandered somewhat, and seemed to be made of small scraps of story that never quite pulled together into a unified whole.
All this being said, The Long Way Home is mostly an enjoyable and thought provoking read. Underneath all of it remains Penny’s central concern; how do flawed individuals live as moral beings, true to themselves, in a world that contains no small measure of violence and evil. In that she differs little from the hard-boiled genre of Raymond Chandler. Penny’s unique contribution in the village of Three Pines, a glimpse of how life could actually be when good people care about each others, themselves and their arts of their work. After How the Light Gets In, I did not expect that Gamache would remain forever in enlightened bliss in his Nirvana in the woods. The Bodhisattva re-enters the world in deep compassion. Here’s hoping that there is a next journey where the issues above do not detract from the telling.