Saturday, October 10, 2009
"Murder Stone", by Louise Penny
Published in the USA under the title “A Rule against Murder”
This is an intricate mystery that gives us a new spin in the life and character of Inspector Gamache. Here we see a more personal side of him and his relationship with his wife Reine-Marie.
This old fashion story opens at the Manoir Bellechase, an isolated lodge by Lake Massawippi where the Inspector and Reine-Marie have enjoyed celebrating their wedding anniversary in the past. This year, they find themselves sharing this luxurious inn with a highly dysfunctional wealthy English family, who have come to pay tribute to their deceased father. Murder is suspected when a member of the family is found dead, a victim of unusual circumstances. Naturally, the charming Inspector Gamache gets involved, digging beneath the family bitterness to solve the devious crime.
Ms Penny is meticulous in her description of this very unpleasant family, all have secrets to hide and the narrative superbly captures the resulting emotions and tension. Humour is successfully added to portray this greedy, selfish family. True to her tradition she also gives us what we come expect: the usual attention to the domestic details, such as menu and gardening and other day to day activities of the Inn.
Although I enjoyed this novel, I admit it is not my favourite. I found it is slow in action, too centered on the family and a murder lacking plausibility.