“Penny excels at capturing the inner life, whether it’s a criminal’s or a resentful child’s. Series novices and die-hard fans alike will be left breathless — and moved.”
— People, Book of the Week
“This is a rare novel that will definitely linger in your thoughts long after finishing the last page.”
— Fresh Fiction
In Louise Penny’s latest novel, All the Devils Are Here, (Minotaur) Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of Homicide for the Sûreté du Quebec, is in dire need of a vacation to Paris. It will be a chance to reconnect with his ex-pat children, revisit his childhood haunts and celebrate the arrival of his newest granddaughter. However, after fifteen novels, dedicated readers know that murder and intrigue are as inseparable from Armand’s life as the Eiffel Tower is from Paris.
On the night of their arrival, Armand and his wife, Reine-Marie, are strolling home after a family reunion at a bistro when Armand’s godfather, Stephen Horowitz, is struck down by a van. The entire Gamache family, including their children and spouses, are witnesses to the terrifying hit-and-run, which leaves Horowitz comatose. Immediately, questions arise as to whether it was an accident or a plot against the elderly man’s life.
A strange key found among Horowitz’s possessions unlocks the mystery of the billionaire — corporate raider — Resistance hero’s past, a corporate cover-up, and, of course, a gruesome murder. When the police thwart the investigation, the Gamaches step in and quickly discover that old friends, colleagues and even family are not who they appear to be. Armand must rely on his instincts to determine whether his old friend, Claude Dussault, the Prefect of Police in Paris, is corrupt, and whether his son, Daniel, is a traitor to Horowitz’s agenda.
FAMILY, LOVE AND A MORE INTIMATE SIDE TO GAMACHE
By far, All the Devils Are Here is Penny’s most intimate entry in the Gamache series. As she explains in her acknowledgements, this is a story about family, love and friendship, and that “lives are shaped by our perceptions, by not just our memories, but how we remember things.” While the story is propelled by conspiracy and murder, Armand learns to face and make peace with Horowitz’s weakness as well as his own failings as a father. She finally examines the strained relationship between Armand and Daniel, as well as Daniel’s jealousies over Armand’s relationship with Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his former second-in-command and husband to Armand’s daughter Annie. Armand’s heart-wrenching lesson is one that we can all learn from; that words left unsaid can lead to a lifetime of misery.
The novel also examines how during a time of crisis the Gamache family’s love for Stephen Horowitz, and each other, binds them together. Each member possesses a unique talent, which they contribute to the homicide investigation. For example, when Reine-Marie smells an unusual perfume in Horowitz’s apartment, she remains vigilant on the scent of the crime. Her perseverance helps sniff out a major clue to the identity of the murderer. Armand’s daughter Annie’s legal skills, Daniel’s financial background and Jean-Guy’s investigative talents prove essential to solving of the crime and proving that they work better as a unit than alone or by relying on the police.
A WELL-DESERVED DEPARTURE FROM ARMAND’S THREE PINES
Throughout the Gamache series, readers have come to cherish Penny’s Armand for his compassion and intellect when investigating crimes, and his intense love for his friends and family. Her novels have never shied away from challenging contemporary issues such as nuclear disarmament, drug addiction, mental illnesses and sexual abuse. And always they’ve occurred in Penny’s native Canada, with the novel’s heart beating within the remote fictional village of Three Pines.
Readers rely upon this cozy setting, with its cast of characters including Ruth Zardo, the wacky poet, Olivier and Gabri, the owners of the local bistro. In All the Devils are Here, as the Gamaches untangle the web of lies, Penny takes the reader on a glorious tour-de-force of Paris’s luxury hotels, the top of the Eiffel Tower, corporate boardrooms and the bowels of the Paris Archives. While Armand lived in Paris with his grandmother as a boy, he has long since left Paris behind. By returning Armand to Paris, he must deal with the contradictions between his memories and the changes of present-day Paris. He must slay these personal demons in his pursuit of truth and justice.
While Penny aficionados may balk at the change of scenery to Paris, both she and Armand have earned a well-deserved holiday. We’ve all experienced trips that were a bust, but hopefully none as perilous as the Gamache’s. In All the Devils Are Here, it’s a deadly and intriguing vacation that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the last line. I’m confident that Armand would agree that while it’s exciting to travel, there’s still no place like home. Especially Three Pines.