For Penny fans, this read will be a welcome return to Three Pines, an inviting Quebeec village, and to its inhabitants. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, six months into his suspension from the Surete du Quebec, finds himself involved in two separate criminal investigations.
The first story line begins as a Three Pines local mystery. Gamache, Myrna Lander, the village bookseller, and a young builder are all summoned to an abandoned farmhouse at the request of deceased Bertha “Baroness” Baumgartner to be the executors of her will. Locally, the “Baroness” is known as a cleaning woman of modest means. However, Bertha Baumgartner swears to an ancestral background rooted in Vienna, Austria. A lineage and legacy that makes her extremely wealthy. Her will bequeathes this fortune to her three children, who all believe her to be delusional. At first, the three executors also presume that the fortune and title are not real. When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will seem less peculiar and far more menacing.
Gamache isn’t far from Montreal, when at home in Three Pines. His second investigation , which is simultaneous to the first, takes him to the city. The investigation into what happened six months ago – the events that led to his suspension – has dragged on into winter. While most of the opiods he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception. Enough narcotic to kill thousands has surfaced in Montreal. Gamache races for answers and recovery before it hits the streets.
Faced with two ongoing crimes, Gamache begins to see his own “blind”spots, and the terrible things hidden there. Armand is thankful for the aide of his son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, a fellow police inspector, in the resolution of both investigations. Working two stories back and forth throughout the novel keeps everyone on alert. Penny artfully weaves her numerous, well developed characters into an intricate story line that will keep you a bit “blind” and guessing until its conclusion.
Louise Penny packs her stories with intriguing details. Her research gives insight into the elements she presents:
- Fake accounts, money laundering
- Legal plot points where there is a will
- Drug trafficking
- Preparation to launch opiods onto the streets
- Poisonous plant gardening
- Driving techniques for the dead of winter in Quebec
- References to comfort foods
Whether major or minor, all the details play a part in the story. These are just a few and this in why I am always eager for a new Louise Penny release.
In Kingdom of the Blind, Penny wraps up some continuing story lines and sends recurring characters in unexpected directtions. Another unpredictable and excellent plot. Gamache is never one to back away, no matter how difficult and dangerous the road to justice weaves.