I have read the 137th book for the book challenge. It was How The Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Novel by Louise Penny.
Chief Inspector Gamache’s homicide division is in shambles. Most of his inspectors and trusted agents have transferred out to other divisions. The only one left is Isabelle LaCoste. Jean-Guy Beauvoir is assigned to the Serious Crimes Unit under Sylvain Francoeur. He is being sent on dangerous raids. He is is seriously drug addicted and is unwell. Gamache tries to talk to him but is rebuffed. Beauvoir thinks that Gamache left him to die in the factory when he was shot. He can’t get over this.
Myrna Landers calls Gamache from Three Pines. Her friend, Constance Pineault, is missing. She was supposed to come to Three Pines for the holidays but didn’t and isn’t answering her phone. She is an elderly lady. Gamache and LaCoste go to investigate. They find Constance dead in her bedroom, her head smashed in by a lamp. Someone has murdered her as she packed for the trip to Three Pines. They also discover that she was really Constance Ouelette, the last of the Ouelette quintuplets. Gamache delves into the background of the qunituplets, staring with the death of the first quint, Virginie, from a fall. Was it an accident, suicide, or murder? What was Constance coming to Three Pines to tell Myrna? And what does her Christmas gift to Myrna mean, that it is the “key” to the quints?
Gamache’s friend Superintendent Therese Brunel and her husband Jerome are researching the leaking of the video of the factory shoot-out. But they finding much more. They are finding something far more ominous. They have tripped alarms and are afraid to look further. Gamache has a plan. The Brunels pretend to go to Vancouver to visit their daughter. They ship their cell phones to her and tell her of their plan. They really go to Three Pines and rent Emilie Longpre’s home. Gamache enlists the help of Yvette Nichol to set up satellite computer connections in Three Pines. With the help of Gilles with the satellite dish in the hunting blind, they set up a computer center in the old school house. From there, with passwords from the zoo and the library, Nichol and Jerome enter the Surete files and the files of the Ministry of Transport and find corruption and graft. They also find that the Premier is involved in the scandal as well as the convicted Arnot and Superintendent Francoeur. They believe the target is the Champlain Bridge and that explosives have been placed on the piers beneath the bridge to bring it down. It is a race against time for Gamache to confirm this and capture Francoeur.
Gamache finds Andre Pineault, the supposed younger brother of Harriet Ouelette. He had been close to the quints. But there is something fishy about him. Gamache figures out that he is really a younger brother of the quints who remained hidden and he killed Virginie. He also killed Constance before she could tell Myrna the truth about the quints.
Beauvoir drives Francoeur to Three Pines. Francoeur has his henchmen wire the school house with explosives to blow up if the door is opened. The people of Three Pines and Nichol capture the two henchmen. Beauvoir is given Rosa the Duck by Ruth and comes to his senses. He realizes that Ruth loves him and that Gamache really loves him. He said it in the factory and he said it in the elevator at the Surete. Beauvoir goes back to Three Pines and kills Tessier, Francoeur’s second in command. Gamache and Francoeur fight and Gamache kills Francoeur. Gamache is running toward the school house. He is about to open the door. Jean-Guy can’t let that happen. He fires his gun and shoots Gamache in the back while yelling “Stop!”
The last chapter happens some months later. Jean-Guy is back from rehab and Gamache is out of the hospital and walking with a cane. It is Jean-Guy and Annie’s wedding in Three Pines at St. Thomas Church. Madame Gamache walked Annie down the aisle. Gamache has retired from the Surete. Therese Brunel is now the Chief Superintendent and Isabelle LaCoste is Chief Inspector. Jean-Guy is working part time and still battling his addictions. But he has married Annie and is happy. Gamache and his wife and the dog Henri have moved into Emilie Longpre’s house in Three Pines.
This sounds like it may be the last book in the series. I hope not, but it sounds like it is. It rather ties up everything. But it is a good story. I don’t know if I buy the whole story about the bridge being blown up to implicate the federal government and further the cause of the separatists. It seems rather extreme. And the players are so high up in government. It doesn’t seem plausible. But maybe. Anyway, it was a good story. I enjoy these Gamache stories and he is my favorite detective. I am glad it ended this way.