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Library Journal Review
This follow-up to the Agatha Award--winning Bury Your Dead finds Armand Gamache, chief inspector of the Montreal police force, and Beauvoir, his lieutenant, still healing physically and psychologically from a fatal police operation gone awry. But this doesn't prevent them from taking on yet another murder case in the secluded village of Three Pines. When resident artist Clara Morrow's solo show at Montreal's premier art museum causes a sensation in the art world, it sets into motion a series of events that expose the vicious jealousies of artists and dealers. Clara's joy rapidly gives way to perplexity when the body of her sociopathic, long-estranged roommate is found in her garden. Gamache's investigation reveals the sad panoply of crippling human aspirations and failures. VERDICT Readers who love literary mystery writers such as Donna Leon will enjoy Penny's latest excellent series entry. [100,000-copy first printing.]-Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
In Penny's latest whodunit in this popular series, Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec and his assistant, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, are back in the small village of Three Pines. This time, the sleuths are called to the home of artist Clara Morrow when a corpse is discovered in the garden. Veteran Penny narrator Ralph Cosham-whose British accent in no way hinders him from lapsing into Quebecois when necessary-reads with a mellow baritone that is an ideal match for the thoughtful Gamache. Additionally, he succeeds at creating voices for other continuing characters, including the sardonic, psychically damaged Beauvoir and the hapless but undaunted Clara. Cosham also ably renders the emotional art crowd, the envious painters, the fiercely competitive gallery owners, the snarky, self-styled critics, and an angry and ancient poetess whose late arrival ends this beautifully performed audiobook on a perfect note. A Minotaur Books hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Whereas Penny's superb Bury Your Dead (2010) was an elaborately constructed crime novel incorporating three freestanding stories, her latest in the Inspector Armand Gamache series is much more focused. The action, of course, is centered in Three Pines, the Brigadoon-like village outside of Montreal, a seemingly idyllic oasis from civilization except for the remarkable number of murders that occur there. This time the body is discovered during a party in celebration of Clara Morrow's breakthrough art show in Montreal. The victim, art critic Lillian Dyson, was a childhood friend of Clara's, but her savage review of Clara's work early in her career put an end to that. Gamache and his team, including the troubled Jean Guy Beauvoir, gather at Three Pines yet again to make sense of the crime. While the investigation burrows deep into the cutthroat art world, the narrative line is fairly straightforward, building to an Agatha Christie-like finale in which all the suspects gather for dinner at Clara's home. Readers who have watched Penny's novels develop from character-driven cozies into deeply textured, multifaceted crime fiction may find this one just a bit disappointing but only in context. Like P. D. James, Penny shows how the tight structure of the classical mystery story can accommodate a wealth of deeply felt emotions and interpersonal drama. . HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Penny's remarkable string of successes and awards has moved her to the top of the genre. A 100,000 first printing and the attendant publicity will ensure that her latest effort finds the author's adoring audience quickly.--Ott, Bil. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Schadenfreude descends on the Quebecois village of Three Pines.Clara Morrow's solo exhibition at the Musee d'Art Contemporain in Montreal has been a long time coming. And although some seem pleased for her success in middle age, others, including a school friend turned vitriolic art critic, a gallery owner and even her husband Peter, an artist himself, wrestle with their envy. The day after the showing, back in Clara's garden in Three Pines, Lillian Dyson, former critic, current A.A. participant and Clara's vituperative ex-friend, lies dead of a broken neck. Armand Gamache, heading up the Suret's homicide division, and his second-in-command Jean Guy Beauvoir (Bury Your Dead,2010, etc.), are called on to investigate. They soon realize the case pits sobriety against drunkenness, appearance against reality and good changes against bad. Moreover, Gamache and Beauvoir have their own demons to exorcize, stemming from a catastrophic police raid, physical and emotional rehab and a marriage that never should have happened. With suspects and old slights vying to be uncovered, it becomes difficult indeed to find "some measure of peace in the small village."Penny, elevating herself to the pantheon that houses P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, demonstrates an exquisite touch with characterization, plotting and artistic sensitivity. And there could be no better explanation of A.A. than you will find here.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.