Monday, September 26, 2016



"As he left the classroom, [Commander Gamache] pointed to the very first quote he'd put on the blackboard.

"The one that stayed, even as the others came and went.

"It was from some Buddhist nun. The other cadets snickered at that, but Amelia had written it down. They were the very first words in the very first notebook.

"Don't believe everything you think."


In Louise Penny's A Great Reckoning, Armand Gamache sets out to clear the last bastion of unmitigated evil in the Sûreté du Québec, the academy.

As academy commander, Gamache gathers his enemies around him. He also works with four troubled cadets, with Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Gamache's son-in-law who is Gamache's assistant), and with all his friends in Three Pines.

He assigns the four cadets an exercise--to find the history of a strange map found in the walls of the Three Pines bistro.

At the academy he investigates a murder. Someone committed the murder using a silenced revolver.

Gamache is not alone. His protégé Chief Inspector Isabelle Lacoste heads the investigation from the outside. Deputy Commissioner Paul Gelinas of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police oversees the investigation.

As with all the Penny novels, Gamache uncovers more evil than he reckoned for. The story reaches back into his own history. At one point, Gamache is himself a suspect. And by the end of the story, we learn how important it is to understand Gamache's dedication to the truth even when he has every reason to love or hate someone.

Louise Penny books are both beautifully written and filled with good and evil. No one writes like Louise Penny.

A Great Reckoning has a moving (almost heartbreaking) afterword.

A few mystery writers transcend the mystery genre. They write great literature. Louise Penny is one of those.

Several short quotes stuck me as I read. Here are a few of them--

"Anyone could be clever. Anyone could be smart. Anyone could be taught. But not everyone was kind."

"Love and worry. they went hand in hand. Fellow travelers."
Myrna: "I wake up in the middle of the night, afraid I've led someone astray. In the daylight I'm fine. Most of my fears come in darkness."

Gamache: "There is always a road back. If we have the courage to look for it, and take it."

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