My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a hard novel for me to rate. Truthfully it’s around 3.5 (rating it higher due to the quality of the writing). It’s two mysteries in one, the main mystery and then the personal crap and I really didn’t care for that. It’s mostly well written except for the ends of both (expect a few spoilers in this review). Part of the problem is that I greatly dislike the common police drama trope of the boss hates our hero the detective. It’s so overdone and with the end of the last book that is where we start this one. Gamache has been stripped of his entire command except Lacoste and even she’s furious at how he’s being treat, not to mention that the homicide detectives he’s been assigned weren’t in homicide previously or have no respect and ambition.
It’s nearly Christmas and Gamache is planning to go to Paris with his wife. Instead he catches a routine murder case of an elderly woman who was on her way to visit the bookstore owner, Myrna (ha, that’s the second Myrna in two books in a row by different authors, who would have guessed), in Three Pines (naturally). He makes sure he gets the case because the people in Three Pines are his special friends. Lacoste mostly stays in the city while she helps. Jean-Guy has been reassigned to Francouer, the head of the Surete and hates Gamache for what he perceives as Gamache being at fault for his injury and addiction to narcotics and for Gamache’s daughter dumping his addicted ass.
As the mystery unfolds, it turns out the victim was a very famous woman in her youth along with her siblings. As he works out who killed her, a more James Bond sort of thing unfolds. Francouer and officials even higher up are planning to almost start a civil war between the French and English Canadian citizens and many people are going to die (and the English speakers to blame). Gamache and two of his friends are onto this and are trying to stop it. At the same time he tries to find a way to win back Jean-Guy.
The ending was…well bad. The main mystery just trundles to an end and we’re to assume justice is served. It’s subverted for the thriller ending as they rush to stop the Big Bads. You almost get the feel the author painted herself into a corner where Gamache and/or Jean-Guy should have died but didn’t. I found the end to be unbelievable. I liked the main mystery and hated the thriller stuff. Maybe if I liked and cared about Jean-Guy I would have. Frankly, I have always found him a narrow-minded, judgmental douche. If he had died in this I probably would have been happy. I’m not sure if this is the last book or not. It could very well be (especially for Gamache). If the series continues with Jean-Guy as the main character, I think I’ll be done with this which is a shame. I really like Penny’s writing and Gamache, but I wouldn’t sign on for a main character I hate.
View all my reviews