3 February 2015

Review: HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN, Louise Penny

  • published 2013
  • source: my local library.
  • #9 in the Inspector Gamache series
  • ISBN 978-1-84744-429-5
  • 404 pages
Synopsis (author website)

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen

Christmas is approaching, and in Qu├ębec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines, and at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?

My Take

Even though I had already read the novel that preceded this one, and the one that followed it), nothing prepared me for the fight Inspector Gamache would have in this novel, nor for the strength he displays.

One aspect of the novel is related to a murder and probes how some people, through an accident of birth, become public property. The other story line is about the attempt to oust Gamache from Homicide by his immediate superior, who has gutted the Homicide Unit, and is now attempting to demoralise Gamacahe by attacking those dear to him.

My rating is mainly a reflection of how often I held my breath, not knowing how things were going to turn out.

While you can read this as a stand-alone, if you are new to this author I really encourage you to start the series at the beginning.
The order of the Gamache books, from first to most recent, is:
Still Life, A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold (same book, different title), The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone (same book, different title), The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How the Light Gets In, The Long Way Home.
#11 in the series, THE NATURE OF THE BEAST, will be published sometime in 2015 (see newsletter

My Rating: 5.0

I've already reviewed
4.8, THE CRUELLEST MONTH
4.9, A RULE AGAINST MURDER
4.9, THE BRUTAL TELLING
5.0, BURY YOUR DEAD
5.0,  A TRICK OF THE LIGHT
4.5, THE HANGMAN - a novella
4.9, THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY
4.9, THE LONG WAY HOME 

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Delighted you liked this one as much as you did, Kerrie. Louise Penny is one of my top-rated authors.

Irene said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did. The Dione Quits were indeed and interesting twist in this one, very Canadiana. I immediately had to hunt down the Dione Years, by Pierre Berton.

Kay said...

Wasn't this book just the most gripping thing? As I was reading your thoughts, I was thinking "it was a breathless read". Then I saw you had used "holding your breath". That describes it perfectly. I kept having to remember to take in air. LOL

I second the notion that this series is best read in order and completely. The character development is wonderful.

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