- this edition large print published by Thorndike Press 2016
- #12 in the Armand Gamache series
- ISBN 978-1-4104-8939-5
- 641 pages
- source: my local library
- author website
When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.
Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.
And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.
Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.
The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.
For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.
#1 I've read most, but not all of this series, in order. While each novel can be read as a stand alone, there is character development from novel to novel. There are incidents referred to from the past and from previous novels, so my conclusion is that in reality you are best to read them in order. They are not light reads. The plots are complex and there is a great deal of underlying philosophy, so they do take some time.
#2 Last night I went to bed as usual and then an hour later got up so that I could finish the last 150 pages of this book. I knew I wasn't going to get to sleep otherwise. This book had me hooked.
Armand Gamache has retired. He did his best to clean up the Surete in Quebec and it nearly cost him his life. But he has realised that the greatest source of the corruption and lack of humanity seen in the officers of the Surete is the Academy where they were trained, so he takes on the job of its Commander. He knows it will be hard because although he has replaced many of the professors he has retained some whom he knows are part of the source of the corruption. He has also brought in others who have betrayed him in the past.
Things seem to be going fairly well when one of the professors is found dead, shot in the head, with a revolver bearing a partial print from Gamache's hand. So everything breaks open and the Academy comes under the scrutiny of both the head of the Surete and an outsider. Gamache himself is in real danger.
Running in the background is another mystery: the meaning of a map that was found many years ago in the walls of the Bistro at Three Pines. Why was it made? What was its purpose? A central part of the mystery is that the village of Three Pines is not named on the map, although the iconic pine trees are there.
An engrossing read.
My rating: 5.0
I've also read
4.8, THE CRUELLEST MONTH
4.9, A RULE AGAINST MURDER
5.0, BURY YOUR DEAD
5.0, A TRICK OF THE LIGHT
4.5, THE HANGMAN - a novella
4.9, THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY
5.0, HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN
4.9, THE LONG WAY HOME