Saturday, October 2, 2010

Review: Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny


In the case of the kidnapped police officer, Paul Morin, Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sureté du Québec along with his second in command, Jean Guy Beauvoir have been greviously injured. While on medical leave, Gamache visits his old mentor Emile in Québec. During his visit, he receives a daily missive from Gabri in Three Pines pleading with  him about Olivier's innocence. He asks Gamache why would Olivier move the body? Although Olivier has been arrested, Gamache begins to wonder the same thing and so he sends Beauvoir back to Three Pines to re-open the case of the murdered hermit. Even though Beauvoir is on medical leave, he is glad to have something constructive to do. Gamache advises him to look at the case from another perspective; try to prove Olivier innocent instead of guilty.

Meanwhile in Québec, Gamache is trying to heal his troubled spirit. He feels he is to blame for the botched attempt to foil a terrorist plot. Several of his men died in the siege and Gamache feels ultimately responsible. As he wanders the streets of Québec he is haunted by his telephone conversation with the kidnapped Morin. When a murder of the local archeologist is discovered in the English Lit Society's basement, Gamache is drawn into that case almost against his will. Digging into the case brings up the mystery of Samuel Champlain and why his body was never found. A most interesting history of the Francophones and the Anglophones of Québec is nicely woven into the story.

 In Bury Your Dead, Louise Penny, deftly juggles three different plot lines and each one is as fascinating as the others. I like the way Penny give us much more insight into Gamache’s character. His nearly obsessive thoughts about the last case let us see him in a really vulnerable state of mind. Penny also does a wonderful job of setting the scene both in Quebec and Three Pines. I felt like I was breathing in the cold, cold air of winter right along with the characters.

One quibble I did have was sometimes Gamache’s remembrances of his last conversation with Morin were jarring. He’s in Québec and I'm embroiled in the scene when the next sentence is something Gamache said to Morin and it took me right out of the present scene. If it weren’t for this occurring quite frequently, I would have rated the book 5 *****.

NB:  I would strongly suggest not reading this book until you have read The Brutal Telling, # 5 in the series. In the 6th in the series, Bury Your Dead, the case from The Brutal Telling is retold including many spoilers. It’s much better to read The Brutal Telling first as much is added in Bury Your Dead about this case. I would also recommend this book to mystery fans who like complexity of plot and good character development throughout the story. A most enjoyable read that kept
 me turning the pages almost non-stop. 4*

13 comments:

  1. I keep seeing this series and have Brutal Telling on my Wishlist.

    Did you start from book 1?

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  2. This series sounds absolutely fascinating...I'll have to give it a go! Great review :)

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  3. Kaye, I didn't read your review very carefully as I've not read BURY YOUR DEAD yet. I skimmed. However, I am on a Louis-a-thon and am going to read all the other books again first. I'm in the midst of STILL LIFE and happily reacquainting myself with all the wonderful characters. Sigh. I love this series!

    I'll come back when I've caught up again.

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  4. Thanks for the tip re the reading of No. 5 - the series sound good.

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  5. I've been meaning to read this series for a while now, and your review really makes me want to finally pick it up and start! Great review! I guess we'll be catching up to this one though!

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  6. I haven't read the first but I'll keep your recommendation in mind. I love the cover.

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  7. I love this series - not reading your review because I'm so looking forward to this book and don't want to spoil it. The Brutal Telling certainly created some change and left one wondering where to next.

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  8. I don't think I've ever read a bad review of Penny's work. She is near the top of authors whose work I want to try.

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  9. I've heard nothing but positive reviews about Louise Penny's books that I recently bought book 1 in the series. (It's on my Kindle.) I have this feeling that once I finish #1 I will be joining Kay on her Louise-a-thon. I bookmarked your review so I can come back when I get to this one. Good review. Thanks.

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  10. I want to read this series for sure. You know how I am about reading out of order!! LOL...great review!

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  11. well, I did read The Brutal Telling, so I guess I am all set to read this one...if a had a copy..and the time....lol

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  12. I awarded you; http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/2010/10/award-ceremony.html

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  13. This is such a wonderful series. I am looking forward to collecting them all in hardcover and rereading them.

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