Having read the fifteen Inspector Gamache novels that precede All The Devils Are Here, I will say, this one met all my expectations and even set the bar higher for Penny’s next Gamache investigation.
“All The Devils Are Here” takes place in Paris, far away from Three Pines, Quebec. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec and his wife, Reine-Marie, travel to the City of Lights to celebrate the birth of their granddaughter. Louise Penny describes Paris as “a City of Facades”.
A City of Facades
“beauty . . . heroism . . . and dreadful deeds, both obvious and obscure.”
A perfect setting to take a joyful family gathering into long shadows of darkness where devil’s hide.
Also in Paris is Stephen Horowitz, Armand’s extremely wealthy godfather. Stephen has been and continues to be an influential father image for Armand having raised him from an early age. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here” is a line from Shakespeare’s “Tempest”, and one of Stephen’s favorite sayings. Early in the novel, Armand recalls the first time Stephen told him the story of the Burghers of Calais, a group of prominent citizens who agree to sacrifice themselves in order to save the people of their town. All of this foreshadowing leads to revealing Stephen’s decades long quest.
Not only are Annie, Armand’s very pregnant daughter, and her husband, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, in Paris, but Armand’s son, Daniel, and his family are also in the city. “All The Devils Are Here” explores three different types of father-son relationships.
- Armand’s relationship with Stephen, his godfather
- Armand’s relationship with Daniel, his distant son
- Armand’s relationship with Jean-Guy, his son-in-law and former second in command at the Surete
Penny is masterful in weaving and growing these relationships over the couse of the novel.
In order to solve the mystery at the heart of this novel, Gamache must work closely with Prefect Claude Dussault, his Parisian counterpart and long time acquaintance. As their investigation precedes, Gamache’s whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. Armand must decide who can be trusted – his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past, his own family.
I did not miss the physical presence of the regular Three Pines characters – Clara, Ruth, Gabri, and Olivier – who are absent from the Paris setting. The Gamaches’ friends, neighbors and colleagues from “back home”, however, play a part throughout the novel.
Corporate greed, investment banking, engineering and mining – Penny has done her research and uses her findings to reveal hard truths about the hidden workings of the world.
” Armand Gamache seems as much a spiritual warrior as a homicide detective . . . What stays with the reader are the tenderr passages, the human insights, the reminderrs of what makes life worth living.”– The WAll Street Journal –