A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15)
Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Surete du Quebec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny. It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search.As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.In the next novel in this "constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves" (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.What would you do if your child's killer walked free?

A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15) Details

TitleA Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 27th, 2019
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250066213
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Audiobook, Crime, Adult, Adult Fiction, Murder Mystery

A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15) Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Louise Penny is a treasure when it comes to the world of crime fiction, this is a stunning addition to this stellar series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada, featuring the incomparable and wise Chief Inspector Gamache, having now been demoted by those more spineless, self serving and ambitious, wanting to besmirch the reputation of a man they perceive as having too much power and a threat. They never expected Gamache to accept the demotion to Head of Homicide from being Chief b Louise Penny is a treasure when it comes to the world of crime fiction, this is a stunning addition to this stellar series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada, featuring the incomparable and wise Chief Inspector Gamache, having now been demoted by those more spineless, self serving and ambitious, wanting to besmirch the reputation of a man they perceive as having too much power and a threat. They never expected Gamache to accept the demotion to Head of Homicide from being Chief but they fail to comprehend the kind of man he is, why he inspires such loyalty and respect in others, he has no ego and wishes merely to be the best police officer he can be. It's a joy to see the return of beloved characters, even the rude, indomitable, cantankerous elderly poet, Ruth Zardo, and her familiar, the duck, Myrna, Reine-Marie, and all the others. The artist, Clara, is having a particularly tumultuous time, with her latest works, the miniatures, not being well received, in fact her reputation is being trashed on social media, with many questioning if she ever had any artistic abilities at all.Gamache's return to the Surete du Quebec goes down even less well on social media with a tirade of vile postings, not to mention fake videos. Those who know Gamache are outraged at the lies and vitriol being expressed but Gamache has an inner strength that can weather almost anything. Work colleagues and friends observe closely at how well he will take to being under the command of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his protege and son-in-law, around for 2 weeks before quitting the police to move to Paris to embark on a new life. Agent Lysette Cloutier and Gamache inquire into a missing pregnant woman, Vivienne Godin, who failed to turn up at her father, Homer's home. Homer is frantic, and with good reason, Vivienne is married to an abusive husband, the ceramic artist, the deplorable and nasty piece of work that is Carl Tracey. In the meantime, the weather is atrocious for April with no sign of spring, and even worse the worst flooding, threatening death and destruction is being forecast for Quebec. Herculean efforts are required from the Three Pines residents as they build sandbag defences on the banks of the Bella Bella river to try and save the village.Two phrases ring true throughout in this novel, all truth in malice, and what might appear to be more contradictory, things are strongest when they are broken. Penny writes with humanity and compassion, with insight and wisdom on the contradictions and complexities of individuals, no-one is purely good, not even Gamache, or just evil. The strengths of this series are the rich complicated, often quirky, characters, from Ruth to Jean-Guy, and their development. Three Pines is a village of people who love and support one another, a force to be reckoned with as they come together to fight the threat of catastrophic dangerous flooding, illustrating their strength as a community, no-one is alone. This was a fantastic, moving and profound crime read, one which I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending highly. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma. Do I read it quickly because really I don't want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don't want it to end? How does she do it? This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better. In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery. The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma. Do I read it quickly because really I don't want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don't want it to end? How does she do it? This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better. In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery. The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it causes, and the good and bad of social media. All combined seamlessly in the lives of various members of the community we have come to love. She shows us the many depths of personality that can live inside one person. Characteristics based on the past, the present, life experiences that make us the people we are. She shows us friendship, love, respect, integrity, compassion, kindness and the struggle to know when to hold on and when to let go. Ratchets up the tension and then fits in some appropriate humor that makes us laugh. Oddly enough a new character comes to Three Pines and affects the future of one member. This was a particularly emotional entry in the series as one chapter closes and a new one begins. And now I am resolved, as I await the next in this stellar series."That twisted reality, until malice and truth were intertwined and indistinguishable."ARC from Minotaur books.
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  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    January 1, 1970
    There WILL be a new Inspector Gamache book! #15 coming out in August.
  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet. Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual. Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.I found this year’s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start. Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missing person cas Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet. Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual. Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.I found this year’s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start. Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missing person case. And I must admit that the story itself didn’t really grow much in intensity for me. Armand continued to struggle. The people of Three Pines were thrown into turmoil because Clara’s paintings are getting bad reviews. And I quickly guessed what was meant to be a not so obvious resolution to the missing person plot.But for true fans of Louise Penny, like me, the plot is often beside the point. As usual, Armand, his family, his colleagues and his neighbours make up for any plot weaknesses. It’s hard not to be enthralled by these deep feeling and thinking characters, who are also equipped with a good sense of humour and a love for the good things in life. Despite the murders and carnage, Louise Penny presents an inspiring and warm world view of human connections. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but I can’t think of any other way to express it.)But because this was not my favourite of Penny’s books, I thought I should probably be fair and give it 4 stars rather than my usual 5 stars. And then I read her afterword, and I knew I couldn’t rate this one any less than 5 stars. Penny explains why she named one of the dogs in the book Fred, which made me teary. Then she explained that “these books are about community. About love and belonging. And the great gift of friendship.” Indeed! So the afterword pulled me over the 5 star line – not for the first time -- and it’s another five stars for me. Because, despite the plot’s weaknesses, these are the feelings I walk away with each year after I finish Penny’s latest offering.So, goodbye for now, Armand. I hope you’re planning something good for next year. In the meantime, enjoy your family and friends, and don’t get into too much trouble ;)Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Louise Penny really generates some great crime fiction and I enjoyed this book. The continuing characters are once again solving a murder in Three Pines, Quebec, Canada. This time a young woman married to a known abusive husband, is killed. Jean-Guy Beauvoir is in charge of the investigation. Gamache is working with him, but was demoted from and is now in charge of Homicide. The usual Three Pines residents are still around, Ruth Zardo, the foul-mouthed poet; Claire, the artist; Reine-Marie, Gama Louise Penny really generates some great crime fiction and I enjoyed this book. The continuing characters are once again solving a murder in Three Pines, Quebec, Canada. This time a young woman married to a known abusive husband, is killed. Jean-Guy Beauvoir is in charge of the investigation. Gamache is working with him, but was demoted from and is now in charge of Homicide. The usual Three Pines residents are still around, Ruth Zardo, the foul-mouthed poet; Claire, the artist; Reine-Marie, Gamache's wife; and others. Oh, and there's a major flood happening and threatening the town. It's an interesting investigation and the quirky characters make it fun.I'm glad I discovered Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. This is the third book I've read, but I plan to read them all!Thanks to Louise Penny and Edelweiss for an advance copy.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    She has done it again. With a vengeance. Take the same backwater in Québec, the same core of main characters, and write fifteen crime stories with that. You will probably end up with predictable plots. But Louise Penny doesn’t. Not ever. A Better Man is here to prove it. Once more....VERDICT: Louise Penny is a mystery in herself. Once again, for this #15 i the series, she managed to deliver a unique book, with an original plot. And red herrings. And many twists and layers. See my review herehttp She has done it again. With a vengeance. Take the same backwater in Québec, the same core of main characters, and write fifteen crime stories with that. You will probably end up with predictable plots. But Louise Penny doesn’t. Not ever. A Better Man is here to prove it. Once more....VERDICT: Louise Penny is a mystery in herself. Once again, for this #15 i the series, she managed to deliver a unique book, with an original plot. And red herrings. And many twists and layers. See my review herehttps://wordsandpeace.com/2019/08/29/...with a link to Criminal Element, where it was a featured review
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  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    January 1, 1970
    Her best one yet. Review to come.
  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    A build-up of trouble that had broken its banks, thought Reine-Marie. And the young woman was taken at the flood. After a slightly disappointing previous entry in Penny's series, this is much better but still perhaps not up to her best - it's hard to keep characters in play and developing over so many books and here the Three Pines stalwarts provide some quirk but are effectively side-lined much of the time which is a shame. At the centre of the book is case of a missing adult daughter which br A build-up of trouble that had broken its banks, thought Reine-Marie. And the young woman was taken at the flood. After a slightly disappointing previous entry in Penny's series, this is much better but still perhaps not up to her best - it's hard to keep characters in play and developing over so many books and here the Three Pines stalwarts provide some quirk but are effectively side-lined much of the time which is a shame. At the centre of the book is case of a missing adult daughter which brings together Gamache, Jean-Guy and Isabelle with a previous police character and a potentially interesting new one - but I'd spotted the denouement about a quarter of the way in and it's a long haul waiting for our heroes to catch up. There are places where this tips too much into repetitive sentimentality, though generally Penny steers on the right side of that line.Long-time fans, of which I am one, will want to read this but I fear the best of this series is in the past: it's still a delight to revisit Three Pines and there's an interesting development at the end which might shake up the dynamics of the books. Despite some qualms, Penny is still a force to be reckoned with in the area of police procedurals with high emotional intelligence: 3.5 stars rounded up.Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5* stars. It is always a joy to read a new book by Louise Penny, and to be transported to her stellar creation, the fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec and its residents. I not only appreciate the atmospheric storytelling where I can visualize the place and people, but I want to live there. I feel that I already know the villagers. This is the 15th book set in Three Pines, and the author has maintained her usual high quality. These books are police procedural/mysteries. With each new on *4.5* stars. It is always a joy to read a new book by Louise Penny, and to be transported to her stellar creation, the fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec and its residents. I not only appreciate the atmospheric storytelling where I can visualize the place and people, but I want to live there. I feel that I already know the villagers. This is the 15th book set in Three Pines, and the author has maintained her usual high quality. These books are police procedural/mysteries. With each new one, we get further insights into the well-developed characters, with all their strengths and human weaknesses. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a kind and wise man, had been head of the Surete du Quebec. After a high risk and mostly successful police raid, some officers were killed or injured. Gamache was demoted by individuals who resented his power and risk-taking. His loss was to be their political and professional gain. He is offered the position as head of the Homicide Department, never thinking that Gamache would not to prefer to remain retired in disgrace. He would now be working alongside, but under the command of his son-in-law, Jean-Guy, whom he once mentored and who he chose as his second-Jan-command. Gamache accepts, only wanting to solve crimes in any capacity. Most who knew Gamache still have great loyalty and respect for him. Powerful forces still resent his return to the Surete du Quebec. Vile postings and a fake video are circulating on the internet deploring his new posting. At the same time, Clara’s recent paintings of scenic miniatures are being reviled on social media, with postings indicating the belief that she never had any artistic talent. Clara is distraught, and her friend, Myrna tries to comfort her. They frequently meet at the inn, and the elderly and foul-mouthed Ruth, a prize-winning poet, is often in the background with her pet duck. She manages to keep things stirred up with her nasty comments. I regret we didn’t see more this time of Gabi and Oliver, owners of the inn. A catastrophic flood is threatening Montreal and also Three Pines. Most of the police force have been deployed to handle a possible natural disaster. Sandbags are being piled up along the river at Three Pines. A father, Homer Godin is frantic about his missing daughter, Vivienne, who he thinks was on her way to see him. She was married to a domineering and abusive husband, Carl, who did a bit of farming and dabbled in creating pottery. She was the victim of his beatings and was kept isolated from her father and potential friends. When her body is found it is believed she was escaping the abusive husband and was murdered. She was pregnant at the time of her death, and Carl is the prime suspect. Jean-Guy heads up the murder investigation. This is to be his final case as a police officer as he is soon moving to Paris to work in the private sector. Carl goes on trial charged with the killing of his wife but is freed due to technicalities. Homer, her father, is enraged, as Gamache assured him that Carl would be convicted and punished. Homer vows to kill Carl. He is moved into Gamache’s home, with the aim of protecting him from murdering the most likely suspect in his daughter’s death. The pace slows down as Jean-Guy, Gamache and team sit around discussing clues and evidence to order a new trial for Carl. They also ponder other possible suspects, their relationships with Vivienne, possible motives and methods.The murder investigation speeds up with a dangerous, pulse-pounding climax. There are some twists and help from unexpected sources during which a very complex plot is revealed. Recommended.
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I have enjoyed every book in this series, but some of them felt more like "coming home" to Three Pines than others, and this one was like that for me. This book is set back in Three Pines with the villagers with moments in Montreal, as always. Some of the aspects that I love the most in this series were especially present in this book:1) A lot of time with Gamache, Beauvoir, and Lacoste as a team (especially pertinent in this novel as things might change for them all moving forward)2) Themes of I have enjoyed every book in this series, but some of them felt more like "coming home" to Three Pines than others, and this one was like that for me. This book is set back in Three Pines with the villagers with moments in Montreal, as always. Some of the aspects that I love the most in this series were especially present in this book:1) A lot of time with Gamache, Beauvoir, and Lacoste as a team (especially pertinent in this novel as things might change for them all moving forward)2) Themes of bettering oneself as a person, struggles with morality, questions about what one would do in a similar situation3) The unexpected conclusion to the central mystery 4) Side stories with the villagers including Clara, Myrna, and Reine-MarieDespite enjoying all of the Inspector Gamache stories, some of them have taken me a bit longer to sink back into. This was not the case with this book. Louise Penny's writing in this novel felt like I was sitting down among friends. Gamache is at his best in so many ways here and such a character to look up to in times of uncertainty. I don't know how she does it, but I'm so grateful that she does. Fans of the series will love this new addition. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Edelweiss and St Martins Press/Minotaur for the ARC of this book.
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  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of A Better Man, the fifteenth novel to feature Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté de Québec.Gamache has returned to Homicide after a demotion working for his son-in-law and former deputy, Jean Guy Beauvoir, whom he will replace in a fortnight. He accepts the case of looking for missing woman, Vivienne Godin, as a favour to another teammate. Meanwhile social media is not reacting positively to his retur I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of A Better Man, the fifteenth novel to feature Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté de Québec.Gamache has returned to Homicide after a demotion working for his son-in-law and former deputy, Jean Guy Beauvoir, whom he will replace in a fortnight. He accepts the case of looking for missing woman, Vivienne Godin, as a favour to another teammate. Meanwhile social media is not reacting positively to his return with disinformation playing a large part.I thoroughly enjoyed A Better Man which is a character driven police procedural with a twisted case and social commentary at its heart. I found myself gripped, unable to put it down and constantly looking forward to the next development, although probably not for the reasons you would assume. There is a long and complicated back story to this series which I don’t fully know as it’s one I have dipped in and out of over the years, although Ms Penny always supplies enough for any part time reader to get enough gist to enjoy each novel as a stand alone, but essentially there is a large amount of politics at Sûreté headquarters most of which is bad feeling from the top towards Gamache and he escapes that pressure at his home in the village of Three Pines where he has the love and support of a cast of eccentric neighbours. In this novel Ms Penny uses social media hashtags at the start of each chapter to show the animus towards Gamache and, in a subplot, the animus towards his neighbour Clara Morrow, an artist whose latest work is being trashed. It is this latter plot that held me spellbound, fascinated and desperate to know more. It is so modern and so true, how trends can ruin a life in an instant. Nastiness, or malice as Ms Penny describes it, is becoming a way of life. Her simple recounting of Clara’s tale is devastatingly accurate. In sharp contrast Gamache’s battle is equally acutely portrayed but has a different outcome because he ignores it. The Vivienne Godin case, meanwhile, pits the top brains of the Homicide Squad against a lack of proof. There are plenty of twists and turns but, as usual in this series, it comes down to human nature. Who did what, who is lying, how and motive. At the same time the team has to work through their own personal relationships and that’s both nuanced and slightly oblique although always warm and well intentioned. Despite the subject matter this is a novel full of warmth and support which gives the reader a good feeling. I don’t feel that I can do the novel’s acuity, brought out in small details, full justice so all I can say is that it’s a great read which I have no hesitation in recommending.
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  • Lisa Wright
    January 1, 1970
    In two weeks Jean-Guy and Gamache's daughter and grandchild will leave for Paris. For good. Until then Gamache, who has accepted a demotion back to Chief Inspector, will be his subordinate. But those issues are swept aside by catastrophic flooding, a horrific social media smear campaign, and a missing woman with an abusive husband. Never a dull moment in Quebec or Three Pines as everyone is racing time and the elements. With so much provocation we will find out if Gamache will become a bitter ma In two weeks Jean-Guy and Gamache's daughter and grandchild will leave for Paris. For good. Until then Gamache, who has accepted a demotion back to Chief Inspector, will be his subordinate. But those issues are swept aside by catastrophic flooding, a horrific social media smear campaign, and a missing woman with an abusive husband. Never a dull moment in Quebec or Three Pines as everyone is racing time and the elements. With so much provocation we will find out if Gamache will become a bitter man or a better man. This is my favorite mystery series!
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  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    January 1, 1970
    A better man or a bitter man?In #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Better Man, a dangerous spring flood causes the river to rise, social media displays its cruel side, and the search for a missing woman intensifies. Meanwhile, life is complicated for Gamache who returns to the Surete du Quebec as second-in-charge and reports to Beauvoir.Typical of Louise Penny’s stories, the setting of Three Pines is a safe haven, cases are complicated and sometimes morally ambiguous, and the character A better man or a bitter man?In #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Better Man, a dangerous spring flood causes the river to rise, social media displays its cruel side, and the search for a missing woman intensifies. Meanwhile, life is complicated for Gamache who returns to the Surete du Quebec as second-in-charge and reports to Beauvoir.Typical of Louise Penny’s stories, the setting of Three Pines is a safe haven, cases are complicated and sometimes morally ambiguous, and the character of leaders is explored and tested. Will Gamache return as a better man or a bitter man?It’s my opinion that the cozy, atmospheric setting of the series is its main draw. The amazing food descriptions make your mouth water. Most readers envision themselves relaxing in front of the roaring fire in the bistro surrounded by good friends and engaging conversation while enjoying hot chocolate and a croissant. Fans of the Chief Inspector Gamache series often refer to it as The Three Pines series.Here’s an excerpt that shows how the setting also serves as a metaphor for a safe haven and a place of acceptance and healing:“Dominica smiled as she thought of the residents peering through their curtains at the wild black woman in dreadlocks and combat boots sitting in the middle of their peaceful village. She must, she thought, scare them to death. She’d spotted the bistro when she’d arrived, and now she made for it. Her boots, veterans of sidewalk garbage and dog shit, squelched on grass and mud. She opened the door….what she found was a place both contemporary and somehow ageless. It seemed to straddle the centuries. Comfortable armchairs upholstered in fresh linens sat around an assortment of rugged old tables. Dark oak. Maple. Pine. Tables made from the forests that surrounded the village. They were scratched and dented and worn by a century or more of meals. Of drinks. Of companionship. And hardship. The place settings, displayed in an old Welsh dresser, were white china with clean modern lines. Oriental rugs, hand-tied, were scattered on the wide-plank floors. The walls were freshly plastered and painted a shade that contrasted nicely with the warm wood and stone. The bistro smelled of rich coffee and subtle maple smoke from the fieldstone fireplaces at either end of the room. It was a place of confidences. Of companionship. Where secrets were exchanged and yearnings admitted. Where children grew into adults, into seniors. Where homecomings were celebrated and lives celebrated by those left behind. It was a place where both grandmother and granddaughter would feel at home. “Bonjour,” said a young woman coming from behind the long bar to greet her. “Une table? C’est votre choix.” She smiled at Dominica, as though dreadlocked New York critics were their regular customers, and pointed to the near-empty room. It was midafternoon, between rushes. The few other customers had glanced at her, then gone back to their conversations. Showing little interest and no fear. “Ummm,” said Dominica, not at all sure what the young woman had said. “Oh, sorry. English. Sit anywhere you like. The fireplace has just come open. I’ll clean the table for you.” The young woman spoke in slightly accented English. As Dominica followed her to the large armchair by the fire, she thought she might have to do something rare for her. Reconsider her opinion.”Another strength of the Three Pines series is the character development and relationships. In A Better Man, Gamache and Bouvier are personally affected by the case of the missing woman because they ponder “What would I do if it were my daughter?” Gamache and Bouvier are also working out their professional relationship now that Gamache is second-in-charge and Bouvier is the acting Superintendent. This is further complicated because Bouvier is Gamache’s son-in-law. I appreciate that Penny creates these two examples of detectives that are thoughtful, trustworthy, and kind, and that they strive for moral leadership and value family.It takes quite a bit of time and consideration to solve the mystery of the missing woman in this story. At times, I feel like it was a little over-wrought, but the dynamics of the setting and interpersonal relationships carry the day. It also seems that the crisis that Clara faces is a distraction from the story and doesn’t add to it. However, it’s because of Clara’s story that we have the Dominica character (see excerpt above) and Penny can build her theme that Three Pines is a kind place that is free of intolerance and prejudice. Keeping the metaphor of Three Pines strong is as important as the mystery in every one of her stories.Content Notes: TW for descriptions of and references to domestic abuse (no actual scenes); the writing is also sprinkled with profanity (more so in this book than the others I think).I recommend A Better Man for all fans of the Inspector Gamache series. Although it’s possible to read this as a stand-alone, I recommend reading the entire series in order because of the overarching political intrigue and character development. Fans of gentle mysteries will appreciate this series for its thoughtfulness, cozy sense of place, and unique characters. Reading a new installment is like a visit with old friends.As with any series, some of the stories are stronger than others and everyone has their different favorites. Although they are all solid reads, I do have some favorites and they are How the Light Gets In, A Trick of the Light, and Glass Houses. I think Glass Houses is my VERY favorite!For more reviews visit my blog www.readingladies.com
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    I don't read many mysteries anymore. I resisted starting this series even though plenty of people recommended it. Somehow I ended up reading the tenth in the series and was hooked. I started with the first, which is the weakest in my opinion and got caught up in no time. I reread that tenth one and got a lot more out of it. A Better Man, however, is a good place to start if you've never read this series. It is written as a pretty straightforward police procedural. If you like it, then you should I don't read many mysteries anymore. I resisted starting this series even though plenty of people recommended it. Somehow I ended up reading the tenth in the series and was hooked. I started with the first, which is the weakest in my opinion and got caught up in no time. I reread that tenth one and got a lot more out of it. A Better Man, however, is a good place to start if you've never read this series. It is written as a pretty straightforward police procedural. If you like it, then you should read them in order. I consider these literary mysteries because they are about community, love, diversity. There is humor, drama, tension, twists you won't see coming. I love spending time in Three Pines every year. And this one is dedicated to a dog. How lovely is that? Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advanced copy. What a pleasure it has been.
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  • Joe Jones
    January 1, 1970
    Three Pines. Gamache. The Bistro. A death to solve. All the usual and I was so happy to go back to this series once again. I hope I never tire of these characters who by now seem more like friends than words on a page. Everything I wanted and more. Put this on your must read list.
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    The first Louise Penny book Still Life was published in 1990. I didn't 'discover' this series until Book #10, The Long Way Home(2014), and not realizing it was a series, I read it and fell in love with Three Pines, all the quirky characters, and the author's writing style. I had 9 prior books to enjoy, so that year flew by until another book was released.It is now time for Book #15, A Better Man, and I can honestly say it was lovely to spend some more time in Three Pines. As the series has progr The first Louise Penny book Still Life was published in 1990. I didn't 'discover' this series until Book #10, The Long Way Home(2014), and not realizing it was a series, I read it and fell in love with Three Pines, all the quirky characters, and the author's writing style. I had 9 prior books to enjoy, so that year flew by until another book was released.It is now time for Book #15, A Better Man, and I can honestly say it was lovely to spend some more time in Three Pines. As the series has progressed, I would say you would be much better off not reading this if it is your introduction to the series. Many things that are part of this story were explained in earlier books. Whether you plan to buy the books, borrow them from the library( mine still always has a waiting list on the first 14), or have a friend willing to share, you will understand and appreciate the character development if you start at the beginning(IMHO).As for A Better Man, Armand Gamache has been demoted and will return to his former position as Chief Inspector. TPTB didn't think he would accept this and really, would just like him gone. He becomes involved in a missing person investigation, and lurking in the background, is spring, a time when the vagarities of the weather can change on a dime. Spring thaw means the rivers are rising, and many towns including Three Pines are threatened with devastating floods. Amid all the chaos, finding the missing woman, dead or alive, the weather, and Armand's superiors who wouldn't mind if he disappeared( permanently), there are the good people of Three Pines. Without spoilers, I can say that there is a question central to the story and often repeated by various characters, asking what would you do if a loved one was missing.I like to think of the release of each book as a well-needed mini-vacation as the heat of the summer wanes and fall is looking me in the eye. Another intriguing story, and so far, I have never gotten tired of visiting Three Pines.I received a DRC from Minotaur Books through Edelweiss +.
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  • Morgan Tallman
    January 1, 1970
    This is the only book in this series I’ve not listened to the audio version of, but its also my new favorite in the series. When a series gets to 15 books, it can be hard to pick a favorite (books 5, 9, 11, 13 - you’re all still runners up), but this book was closure. Not on the series, because I believe there’s more coming, but on storylines that have been building for the previous 15 books. We see relationships end, relationships begin, struggles with power, and overwhelming feelings of love. This is the only book in this series I’ve not listened to the audio version of, but its also my new favorite in the series. When a series gets to 15 books, it can be hard to pick a favorite (books 5, 9, 11, 13 - you’re all still runners up), but this book was closure. Not on the series, because I believe there’s more coming, but on storylines that have been building for the previous 15 books. We see relationships end, relationships begin, struggles with power, and overwhelming feelings of love. What would you do if your daughter was murdered? How do you know who is lying? How do we get justice, when it seems so far away? We grapple so many tough questions in this book, and I could not stop reading. “A Better Man” is not the continuation of past storylines, but more the ending of old and beginning of new. Read this series and get to this book when it releases, thank you Edelweiss for the advanced copy - I cannot wait to own it personally and read again
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  • K. East
    January 1, 1970
    I've now read seven Inspector Gamache novels, not in any particular order, and with varying degrees of appreciation. The last one I had read before this one -- The Long Way Home -- was so long and dark that I gave up reading this series for almost 5 years until I won this book in a GoodReads/Minotaur Books giveaway. When I started reading this book, I was immediately drawn into the story, even without the benefit of knowing the terrible incidents that occurred in the previous novel. And as the s I've now read seven Inspector Gamache novels, not in any particular order, and with varying degrees of appreciation. The last one I had read before this one -- The Long Way Home -- was so long and dark that I gave up reading this series for almost 5 years until I won this book in a GoodReads/Minotaur Books giveaway. When I started reading this book, I was immediately drawn into the story, even without the benefit of knowing the terrible incidents that occurred in the previous novel. And as the story progressed, I excitedly thought this book would rank up there with The Nature of the Beast, my favorite book in the series among the ones I have read. But two elements prevented me from giving it the 4 stars I initially thought it deserved. On a minor note, the inclusion of Clare's fall from artistic glory seemed a diversion whose meaning I could not determine. While Penny often carries plot elements from one novel into another, I couldn't help wondering if Clare's issues were somehow representative of the other, bigger plot line in this novel. But if so, the parallel eluded me, and so the excerpts dealing with her art seemed only a distraction.But the bigger issue for me was the ending. It wasn't the revelation of who was the murderer, because that was not a huge surprise. What didn't feel right to me was the vaguely-suggested nature of the distorted relationship between the murdered woman and the man who killed her. [If you don't want to know how it ends, stop reading here]. I could not in my heart of hearts believe that Vivienne's mother would have stood by while her husband beat their child. I could understand if the crime was sexual abuse because that is often a horrible secret shared only between the abuser and the abused, but how do you hide the screams of a beaten child, the bruises, the potential broken bones? And what warped bit of Homer's nature caused such abuse? Where were the details that lead to that conclusion? The ending felt so empty, so flimsy, given the intensity of the preceding manhunt for her killer and the raging flood, that the disappointment I felt regretfully colored my whole view of the novel.I have to say that this entry in the series was not my favorite, but it reminded me how much I like the character of Gamache and the village of Three Pines, and I will now go back and read some of the titles I skipped over. I thank Minotaur Books for this copy because it reminded me why I enjoy Louise Penny's books.
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  • Marion
    January 1, 1970
    Oh how I love Three Pines. Such wonderful characters live there and each time I get to visit it is always memorable, exciting and cleansing. Thank you Edelweiss and Minotaur Books for giving me this opportunity to read the eARC.Once again, Inspector Armand Gamache does not disappoint. How can I not love a man with such integrity, such wisdom. A man who is not afraid to admit to mistakes and vulnerabilities. The changes in other characters as well is is heartwarming to see. There is so much chara Oh how I love Three Pines. Such wonderful characters live there and each time I get to visit it is always memorable, exciting and cleansing. Thank you Edelweiss and Minotaur Books for giving me this opportunity to read the eARC.Once again, Inspector Armand Gamache does not disappoint. How can I not love a man with such integrity, such wisdom. A man who is not afraid to admit to mistakes and vulnerabilities. The changes in other characters as well is is heartwarming to see. There is so much character development in these books.The story leads you to believe what is only in front of your eyes and then turns you around a few times before its end. I agree with other reviewers that the dilemma the reader faces is whether to read fast to find out “who-done-it” or read slowly and enjoy the ride. Louise Penny is such a wonderful writer. I love how I am taken into a world I would love to live in, Three Pines, but not the world of murder, greed and fear. What I love is that in these stories she always gives fresh flowers and friendship to cleanse the soul after the horror. Cannot wait to listen to the audio version.
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  • Matthew Galloway
    January 1, 1970
    I have quite a few thoughts about this one and it will tae me a bit of time to pull them apart enough to put them out here. For now, the short review would be that the mystery was fine, though in some ways rather more frustrating than an interesting deductive romp. There are, however, excellent reasons why the mystery works the way it does. I was probably thinking three stars through most of the book. However, the end raises a star and part of that is the exploration of non-mystery elements that I have quite a few thoughts about this one and it will tae me a bit of time to pull them apart enough to put them out here. For now, the short review would be that the mystery was fine, though in some ways rather more frustrating than an interesting deductive romp. There are, however, excellent reasons why the mystery works the way it does. I was probably thinking three stars through most of the book. However, the end raises a star and part of that is the exploration of non-mystery elements that I thought were well done and important.Now, this is also my first entry into the series. The mystery section worked perfectly fine as a standalone. I couldn't love the more personal bits -- particularly with the other villagers -- as it's quite obvious they have so much history. I imagine you get used to their lives and quirkiness piece by piece as the series moved along. Missing that means I didn't automatically find them endearing.
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    I was so pleased to receive an advance copy of the newest Louise Penny Three Pines novel, A Better Man. Louise Penny has created her masterpiece with this brilliant new work. I thought we had heard the last of Inspector Gamache with Glass Houses and was surprised to hear about a new novel in the series. Each book in the series has offered us an inside look at the Surete and Three Pines. The characters are rich, real and full of life. Gamache is the ultimate in kind wisdom and integrity. A Better I was so pleased to receive an advance copy of the newest Louise Penny Three Pines novel, A Better Man. Louise Penny has created her masterpiece with this brilliant new work. I thought we had heard the last of Inspector Gamache with Glass Houses and was surprised to hear about a new novel in the series. Each book in the series has offered us an inside look at the Surete and Three Pines. The characters are rich, real and full of life. Gamache is the ultimate in kind wisdom and integrity. A Better Man offers up a real mystery, one of the darkest in the story, with many twists and turns to keep readers on their toes. This is also one of the most suspenseful novels in the series. I loved this book and hope there are more to come. I will never tire of spending time with Inspector Gamache and the reidents of Three Pines.
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  • Mary Beth MacLeay
    January 1, 1970
    First a thank you to Goodreads and Minotaur Books for a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway contest. I was pretty darned excited to receive this in the mail since the Gamache series is a personal favorite.No disappointment in reading #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series set in provincial (in so many ways) Three Pines, Quebec. There are three story lines, linked clearly by the end, including catastrophic flooding throughout the province, Clara Morrow's career challenge, and the murder First a thank you to Goodreads and Minotaur Books for a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway contest. I was pretty darned excited to receive this in the mail since the Gamache series is a personal favorite.No disappointment in reading #15 of the Chief Inspector Gamache series set in provincial (in so many ways) Three Pines, Quebec. There are three story lines, linked clearly by the end, including catastrophic flooding throughout the province, Clara Morrow's career challenge, and the murder of a young abused wife. The title (as with most of Penny's books) speaks to the deepest meaning. Police officers and every person are continually called to make decisions that are making them better or worse. The waters are muddy. I cried multiple times. It was great.
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  • The Book Shelf
    January 1, 1970
    I love, love, love these books. The stories intrigue me and I feel like the characters are my friends and that I get to visit with them each time a new book comes out. Ms. Penny always seems to throw some unexpected information and/or twists in to the story at the end and I enjoy it. I am already hoping that the next book will come out soon. Keep writing Louise Penny!
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  • Sonia
    January 1, 1970
    Great as usual.
  • Cora
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know how she manages it, but Louise Penny is so consistently solid. These books just get better as she goes along, and this one is no exception.
  • Terri Pilate
    January 1, 1970
    Louise Penny has done it again! A novel that goes deep into the dark motivations that result in the central murder mystery. But more importantly she takes Readers into the community of Three Pines and invites us to sit in the Bistro and drink wine with the characters who have become part of our family.
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  • Bill Berger
    January 1, 1970
    The best of the series-great storyline and new characters. How Ms Penny does it is beyond me. Same village, same characters and each novel is amazingly different. Can’t wait for the next. Many thanks to Edelweiss for the advance e-pub.
  • LJ
    January 1, 1970
    First Sentence: "Merde."Inspector Armand Gamache may be bruised by the events of the past, but he is not beaten. He may no longer have the authority he once did, as evidenced by those in charge ignoring his recommendation to keep citizens safe from the rising river waters due to torrential rains, but he still has the respect of the team who once reported to him, and of his son-in-law and temporary superior, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. A fellow officer is concerned about the disappearance of her close fri First Sentence: "Merde."Inspector Armand Gamache may be bruised by the events of the past, but he is not beaten. He may no longer have the authority he once did, as evidenced by those in charge ignoring his recommendation to keep citizens safe from the rising river waters due to torrential rains, but he still has the respect of the team who once reported to him, and of his son-in-law and temporary superior, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. A fellow officer is concerned about the disappearance of her close friend's daughter who, she suspects, is in an abusive relationship. Being assigned to lead the investigation brings Armand into the triple dangers of an angry man, his father-in-law, and nature.Let's get this out of the way; the book begins with profanity. However, considering the situation for both artist Clara, whose career is at a crossroads, and the team in the Serious Crimes Unit, it is well justified and nothing more than most of us have said.Whether it's a bistro in Three Pines, a conference room in the Sûreté du Québec, or standing by a raging river, Penny draws one in and makes one feel present in the environment and in the community of people associated with each. Even for those who may be discovering Penny with this book, her writing, and inclusion of just enough back story, makes one feel welcome and up to date with the people and situations.Penny's descriptions aren't merely visual, they are emotional and anthropomorphic—"The waters were rising up, not in protest but in revenge." Yet in the midst of danger, there is humor such as that inspired by an old dog—"'Your dog shook,' explained Beauvoir. 'Oh, dear.' 'Yes. That's pretty much what I said as I washed myself off and scraped down my desk. Gosh, I said, Bit of a mess.' His eyes widened in a crazed look, and Lacoste laughed."--and Gamache's complete inability to understand anything said by Billy Williams with his thick, regional accent. For those who live in areas affected by natural disasters, it is poignant to see the characters contemplate what things they'd take were they being evacuated and faced with the loss of everything else they own.While the plot is strong, compelling and deals with difficult issues, it is the characters which keep readers engaged. None of Penny's characters are stereotypical or unimportant. Each is fully developed and complex. Each has a purpose in the story. Gamache is the depiction of a person one should aspire to be. Through him, Penny gifts the reader with the four statements that lead one to wisdom—"I was wrong. I'm sorry. I don't know. I need help."--and the admonition of poet Seamus Heaney "Noli timere," "Be not afraid." However, it is somewhat reassuring that even the best people have weaknesses. Circumstances, pain, grace, and self-awareness have matured Jean-Guy. His relationship with Gamache is complex, deep and abiding, one which has survived many conflicts and internal struggles. What is interesting is that Penny uses the character of Billy as the eyes to see the true strength of the relationship, understanding, and love that Gamache has for Jean-Guy. It is also the communities of Three Pines and of the team at the Sûreté which demonstrate the solidity of the wider circle. There is wisdom to be found within the story—"Before speaking…you might want to ask yourself three questions…Is it true? Is it kind? Does it need to be said?"--followed by a very human reaction to fear—"Don't pee, don't pee, don't pee." There is also well-done forensic information which is interesting and informative. However, there is also a very good plot twist and a very dramatic climax.The book is a mystery and a very good one. One may not figure out what had happened until the reveal. And there's suspense and twists which cause one to catch one's breath. But as always with Penny's books, it is about the characters; about relationships; strong, toxic, messy, or just forming. It is about compassion and conscience, growth and change. It is about us; we complicated humans. Penny's ability to describe emotions is unmatched."A Better Man" is an excellent book in an outstanding series. It presents one with a lot of here, here. There is suspense, humor, and things which make one think—"Things are strongest where they are broken." The ending touches the heart and may bring tears to one's eyes. Most of all, it leaves one wanting to re-read the series from the beginning while wanting the next book right now. A BETTER MAN (PolProc-Armand Gamache-Canada-Contemp) - Ex Penny, Louise – 15th in series Minotaur Books, Aug 2019
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  • Marlene
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published at Reading RealityJust as the massive spring flooding brings massive destruction and wipes all away in its wake, so does the story in A Better Man sweep away what has come before it in this series and returns much (and many characters) back to the places where they began.So, in spite of this being the 15th book in this marvelous series, it also feels like a great place for new readers to step into Three Pines and see what it’s all about.Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, after Originally published at Reading RealityJust as the massive spring flooding brings massive destruction and wipes all away in its wake, so does the story in A Better Man sweep away what has come before it in this series and returns much (and many characters) back to the places where they began.So, in spite of this being the 15th book in this marvelous series, it also feels like a great place for new readers to step into Three Pines and see what it’s all about.Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, after the harrowing events at the end of The Long Way Home, is back where he began at the beginning of the series, Chief of the Homicide Bureau of the Sûreté du Québec. But this time his position is a demotion, as he had been Chief of the entire Sûreté, until his horrendous gamble nearly put millions of dollars of drugs back on the streets.It’s supposed to be a humbling experience for him, so humbling that he wasn’t expected to accept it. Particularly as the outgoing Homicide Chief is his son-in-law and former second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir. But Jean-Guy is moving to Paris and leaving not just the Sûreté but his time as a police detective behind.So Jean-Guy’s last case as Chief becomes Gamache’s first case, the disappearance of a battered young woman, a disappearance most likely caused by her violent, abusive husband, and most likely a fatal one.The floodwaters are rising, Gamache’s career seems to be sinking, and the village of Three Pines stacks sandbags in a desperate hope to stem the rising tide. The solutions, to the murder, to the flood, to the seeming destruction of a storied career, and to the deep and difficult questions that always lay at the heart of ever story in this series, touch the heart at every twist and turn.As the quote from Moby Dick that threads throughout this book goes, this is a story of “All truth with malice in it”. The truths are hard, and the malice is deadly.Escape Rating A+: On the one hand, this entry in the series feels very much like a reset. When we began, all the way back in Still Life, Gamache was the Chief of Homicide in Montreal and Clara Morrow, one of the more interesting residents of Three Pines, was an unknown artist. When this book opens, Gamache is back to being Chief of Homicide, although he and his wife Reine-Marie now reside in Three Pines. And Clara has screwed up her once-thriving art career to the point where she’s back at her own beginning, certainly not unknown but definitely struggling again.One of the threads of this story is Clara finally accepting that the terrible reviews she is receiving really are truth with malice in them, and that it is time to go back to the kind of brave work that she does best. Playing it safe will not serve her.Just as playing it safe with the rising floodwaters will not save either Three Pines or Montreal, and it is up to Gamache to do the hard thing and risk his career (again) to save people’s lives.It’s too late to save Vivienne Godin. It’s up to Gamache and Jean-Guy, together again one last time, to bring her justice. Not just for her murder, but for her life.I’ll admit that I figured out part of the truth of Vivienne Godin’s murder fairly early on. But knowing the kernel of it did not make the story any less compelling, because as is so often the case in this series, it’s not about the murder. It’s about the human beings who are involved, the victims, the perpetrators, the bereaved family and friends AND the investigators.It’s never just whodunnit and how they done it but more importantly why they did it – and that’s where Gamache and this series always grab the reader by the heartstrings.One weird thought I had while reading this particular entry is that Gamache, in a very strange way, reminds me of Captain James T. Kirk. Not his swashbuckling cowboy persona, and not his lack of belief in the no-win scenario, because Gamache is all too aware that there are plenty of those, but in his eager willingness to take the demotion and return to the place where he could be his best and truest self. For Kirk it was being Captain of the Enterprise. For Gamache, it is just as clearly being Chief of Homicide of the Sûreté du Québec.So as Jean-Guy flies off into the sunset, Gamache returns to the places where he belongs, the Homicide Bureau of the Sûreté and the town of Three Pines. And I can’t wait to go back there with him again.
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  • Kat Dietrich
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsA Better Man by Louise Penny is the 15th in the Detective Armand Gamache/Three Pines series.First, let me thank Edelweiss, the publisher Minotaur Books, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Series Background:    (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie moved to the small village of Three Pines a few years ago, where they have found peace from their 4.5 starsA Better Man by Louise Penny is the 15th in the Detective Armand Gamache/Three Pines series.First, let me thank Edelweiss, the publisher Minotaur Books, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Series Background:    (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books)Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie moved to the small village of Three Pines a few years ago, where they have found peace from their daily struggles, and have found a home among the locals…who often play a large part in the mysteries that surround Gamache.  While Armand Gamache was the head of the Surete du Quebec, he made a lot of enemies.  He was on a lofty mission to rid the police force of the corruption that had enabled the drug cartels to take over, and he was building a new police force. Unfortunately,  a large amount of the deadly drug carfentanil escaped his net, and although he got it back, the powers that be held him accountable.  His suspension has now ended, and he is going back as Chief Inspector of Homicide.My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)It is spring in Quebec, and it looks like it's going to be a nasty one.  The banks of the St. Lawrence River look like they will flood, which means tributaries will also.  Decisions have to be made.  Three Pines stands in the path of the potential flood, and already the banks of the Bella Bella river are rising.  Residents have been sandbagging, but they may not hold.But there is no rest for the police force.  On the request of one of his officers, Armand, Jean-Guy, and Isabelle are looking into the case of Vivienne Godin, a missing pregnant woman.   Her father is sure that her abusive husband has killed her, but evidence is scarce.  The more the team digs, the more circumstantial the case becomes.  Just trying to keep the woman's father calm is almost more than they can handle.  The flooding is not helping matters, and they are starting to question the little evidence they have.Meanwhile, Armand is again being blasted in the media, and it becomes evident that someone high up has started a campaign to discredit him yet again.  It seems to be working.  Ruth has an idea that she feels may help.Armand is not the only one getting a bad rep.  Clara's newest artwork is not having the response she had hoped for.   While she feels all the negative tweets are unfounded, even some of her friends have doubts.  Again, Ruth has an idea that she feels may help.My Opinions:  Louise Penny is amazing.  Even after 14 books, she continues to add details to the characters, and put them in new and interesting (albeit dangerous) scenarios.  Really, her characters ARE the books.  Yes, the plots are always good, but the characters are what make the books good.I am, however,  getting a little tired of Armand always having his integrity questioned,  it's getting old.   Just having him solve crimes would be okay, instead of always being under pressure to fight for his reputation.  I still love him, but it's a bit exasperating, hence this book loses 1/2 a star.   However, all the characters continue to have a place in my heart.  The last two books have dealt, in some way, with Jean-Guy and Annie moving to Paris, and his reasons were really explained in this book.  I will pray for their return.This book is about how far a father would go to protect his daughter, it is about questioning your own morality, your own judgement,  your own conscience.  It is about speaking your truth, whether it will hurt someone or not, and then living with those words or actions.  But overall, it is about love, between families and friends.Three Pines is one of the happy places in my head.  It is there that I relax, grab a cup of coffee and curl up with a good book.  You should join me :)Thank you Louise Penny!!
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