Publication Order of Inspector Gamache Books
|Still Life||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Fatal Grace||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Cruelest Month||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Murder Stone||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Brutal Telling||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Bury Your Dead||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Hangman||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Trick of the Light||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Beautiful Mystery||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|How the Light Gets In||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Long Way Home||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is a french canadian plying his trade for the Surité du Québec He is cut from the classic inspector cloth; A modern day Hercule Poirot of sorts. He is in deep love with his wife of 35 years, Reine-Marie and has very good detective skills.
He is a very real character who most readers can identify with. Although he is the chief inspector he often relies on his colleagues and most mysteries are solved by teamwork. This removes the cliché image of the all knowing, problem solving super sleuth and makes Gamache more acceptable as a realistic character. There is no doubt that Gamache is in charge, but he is not above admitting that he may need help.
Still Life: First Glimpse
In the first novel of the series the reader is transported to a tiny town south of Montreal near the U.S. border. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has been called to the small town of Three Pines, to investigate the death of Jane Neal. Jane was found on a hazy Thanksgiving morning in the woods. She was not the typical target for foul play, being more of a “sweat old lady” than anything else. What might seem like a hunting accident is uncovered to be something far more sinister.
The cast of characters is rich and since the author allows the reader into the mind of many of the characters, you come out with a deeper understanding of each one of them. This is most evident with the protagonist, Inspector Gamache. We are treated to an examination of his thought process not only as a crime solving inspector, but also as a husband and a regular person.
He is a likable strong character that carries the book while allowing enough room for the supporting cast, which is strong in its own right.
Back to Three Pines: A Fatal Grace
In Louise Penny’s second novel in the series we are brought back to the quaint rural village of Three Pines. This is a treat for readers of the first installment of the series as all of the townsfolk are present. Once again however the most interesting and engaging character is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Gamache will once more be called upon to solve yet another murder in the artsy village.
Whereas in the first tome of the series the victim was universally loved by the villagers, the victim in the second is the complete opposite. CC de Poitiers has managed to alienate everyone in her life. Her husband, lover and daughter all despise her. The villagers have the same feelings as her family does, she is the most hated individual in the hamlet. When she gets electrocuted during the annual Boxing Day curling match, in the middle of a frozen lake, with the entire population of Three Pines looking on Gamache knows that he is dealing with a superior foe. Not only was the murder performed in front of the entire town, no one saw a thing. Undeterred and using compassion and courage, Inspector Gamache delves deep into the underbelly of the rural community and uncovers long-buried secrets that could lead to the culprit.
Even though the villagers know better than to reveal too much of themselves to Gamache, with the help of his partners he unravels the mystery.
Whereas Still Life gave us a glimpse into the autumn season in southern Quebec, A Fatal Grace shows the province in the winter, during the Christmas holidays. It provides a great insight into what a Canadian winter is truly like.
Not Only Three Pines
Although most of the books in the series take place in the quaint town of Three Pines, there are also images of other Quebec locales. In The Beautiful Mystery Gamache is solving a crime in a monastery located in a remote forest. In Bury your Dead most of the action takes place in Quebec city and in A Rule Against Murder the story takes place in a luxury hotel called le Manoir Bellechasse. This really helps the series, as much as Three Pines does. In the town of Three Pines you know everyone. The characters are developed in such a way that you feel a kinship to them. My taking the familiar out of the story line, Gamache really shines. He is strong enough to carry the entire story line without the elaborate entourage that is well known by the regular readers of the series.
When creating a television movie based on Inspector Gamache was first proposed, Louise Penny was against it. She stated that she was fearful of loosing control over her characters. These fears were real as she had created such rich personalities that to see them reduced to mere cardboard cutouts of her vision would have been a tragedy. Eventually she was offered the role of executive producer. She accepted and production on a TV version of Still LIfe began. It went to air on September 15th 2013 as a two hour made for TV movie.
Louise Penny has created a great mystery solving detective. Much in the style of the classic crime fighter we find ourselves drawn in by the intelligent controlled inspector. Gamache lacks much of what the modern mystery solving detectives all seem to have. Most of his contemporaries are flawed. The alcoholic police chief with a knack for problem solving, the divorced, depressed cop wondering where it all went wrong, have been done to excess. The fact that Gamache is still deeply on love with his wife and his deputies are helpful and not simply there as page filler is refreshing. This is a true believable character. Furthermore, Gamache has developed over the series to become a complex character with many facets and this human side of him makes him all the more believable.
If you enjoy mystery and enjoy character driven stories the Inspector Gamache series is a must. The stories set in the rural village of Three Pines are wonderful as the town becomes a secondary character as you grow accustomed to its intricacies. But the setting is not what drives these novels, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is the force behind this series. Even when he is taken away from the confines of rural village life, his character remains believable and true. He is a gem to discover.