A Better Man

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Mrs. Salad has read all the published novels in Louise Penny's "Inspector Gamache" series. I put it on my TBR list at some point; I can't remember why. But we own it on Kindle, so…

It's a series, and this is book number fifteen. Maybe not the best place to start. There are a lot of continuing characters, a number of references to events that happened in previous series installments, ongoing plot threads. Reader, if you've read books 1-14, you don't need me to tell you to read this one. You've already done that, or will soon.

In this book, Armand Gamache has returned to the Sûreté du Québec after unpleasant events shook up the department in one of those previous books. He takes on the case of a missing woman, Vivienne, who may have been the victim of foul play. Suspicion immediately falls on her brutish husband, a drunk who's abused her in the past. Vivienne's father is inconsolable, and also vengeful. Gamache not only has to find the woman, but keep her dad from wreaking violence on the perpetrator everyone seems to agree is guilty.

But is he, really? Since I hadn't read Penny books before, I had no clue: does she typically cast suspicion on one character, just to reveal the actual perpetrator in a Shocking Plot Twist?

Let it be said: I assumed the husband, vile as he was, was innocent. And I had a good alternate suspect lined up. Was I wrong? Not sayin'.

Oh, and spring flood waters are threatening Ganache's charming little Quebec village. And an art critic is threatening to wreck the career of one of the charming little village's painters.

Ms. Penny is a very good writer. (I'm disagreeing with some of the reviewers on Amazon here, who thought her effort here was poor, compared to her previous books.)