Top Pick in Mystery, December 2018
Louise Penny’s novels are unique for how seamlessly they straddle the line between charming small-town mysteries and big-city police procedurals. As Kingdom of the Blind opens, protagonist Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Québec, receives a strange invitation to an abandoned farmhouse, and an even stranger request to act as executor of a will crafted by someone he never met. It is something of a wacky will, with bequests that suggest that the writer was not playing with a full deck of cards. And then a body turns up, and the document takes on a decidedly darker aspect. Meanwhile in Montreal, a huge drug shipment is about to hit the streets, in part because Gamache allowed it to slip through the cracks as part of his plan to bring down the cartels. Most of the drugs were rounded up—except for one large shipment that threatens to destroy many lives, perhaps including Gamache’s. Each Gamache adventure (we are now at the 14th) displaces the previous one as the best in the series. I have read each one twice—first as a one-sitting page turner, and then shortly afterward as a leisurely reread in which I revel in the artistry of the prose, the characterizations, the locales. It’s not to be missed!