Monday, September 14, 2020

“All the Devils Are Here” by Louise Penny

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete is back with a new story, except it doesn’t happen in Quebec and none the regular characters from the village of Three Pines are present.

Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie are in Paris for the birth of their fourth grandchild. His son-in-law and former No. 2 Jean-Guy Beauvoir and the Gamaches’ daughter Anny are having their second child, and the birth is imminent. Jean-Guy is working for a large and globally known engineering firm. Their son Daniel Gamache and his wife Roslyn have lived in Paris for some years and have two daughters. Daniel works in investment banking.

In the previous 15 Gamache novels by Louise Penny, we don’t really know much about Daniel and his family. In All the Devils Are Here, we find out why. Daniel and his father are estranged and have been since Daniel was a boy. Gamache has never understood what happened between them. Paris holds other attractions; it’s the city where Armand proposed to Reine-Marie, and it’s the city where Armand’s godfather, 93-year-old Stephen Horowitz, lived for many years and where he still maintains an apartment. 

Louise Penny
Stephen joins the Gamache family for dinner one Friday night. As they leave the restaurant, Stephen is critically injured by a hit-and-run truck. Gamache suspects the attack was deliberate. When the body of a 75-year-old engineer, also from Montreal, is found in Stephen’s apartment, killed with what was likely a military weapon, Gamache knows that something bad is happening. Over the next three days, the chief inspector and his family will face mystery, danger, and peril. Someone is desperate to find something that Stephen had, something he was apparently preparing to take to a board meeting of the engineering firm where Jean-guy works. 

All the Devils Are Here maintains the core characters – Gamache and Jean-Guy – of the previous novels. It also retains the feel and distinct characteristics of the series – a high-level conspiracy, a story that peels like an onion (often including the smell and the tears), and the dogged determination of the inherently decent Gamache. What’s different, other than the setting and the absence of the regular village residents, is how much we learn about Gamache’s family and his own personal history.

It’s a big story, wonderfully told by a master storyteller.


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