What is more comforting than a mystery series that you love? Sure, sure someone is going to die--maybe more than one someone --but then there's going to be your friend The Detective, his/her team, suspects galore, motives, lies, crime scene science, jealousy, unrequited love, hanky panky, maybe even madness. ~~sigh~~ All the things that just don't add up.
One of the series that I look forward to are the Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny. The Chief Inspector is with the Sûreté du Québec so you get all sorts of interesting tidbits about Québec: history, life style, attitudes, police procedures all of which seem wordily and exotic. The mysteries take place in a tiny, semi-isolated village (think Cabot Cove gone France-tastic) just across the U.S. boarder. This location for the village of Three Pines also makes for interesting revelations in terms of history and prejudices.
Due out in October (in 1,ooo's of Independent Bookstores and already made an Indiepick by them), the fifth installment in the Gamache mysteries is "The Brutal Telling". Old fans and soon to be fans will be delighted. Since I firmly believe in not giving away plot, suffice to say there is a body found at Three Pines, the Chief Inspector is called in, some of our established locals and some new faces are suspected and crime solving and plot twists ensue. All very standard for a mystery, right?
What sets Penny's mysteries apart are all pretty standard as well. They are the same things that make any novel better than most of the others: excellent writing, 3 dimensional characterization, a thought-out plot that always stays ahead of the reader and smarts. I n "The Brutal Telling" the smarts were the on target views into the how-far-would-you-go of it's characters laid out for us to discovery by detection and sly manipulation and Penny's canny bringing into the plot one of literature's oldies but popular again goodies the apocalyptic tale.
You will enjoy "The Brutal Telling" regardless as to whether or not you've read the first 4 books in the series. Fans will devour and bemoan waiting another year for the next title by Penny. First timers are the lucky ones. They get to be engulfed in Brutal and then discover the previous four Gamache mysteries for the first time.