Wednesday, July 13, 2011
"Bury your Dead", by Louise Penny
6th book the Chief Inspector Gamache series
'Bury your Dead', won numerous awards in Canada and other countries for being the 'Best Crime Novel' in 2010 and consequently became profitable for everyone in the business. Browsing reviews from different sites before I finalized my thoughts, I discovered most readers' qualified it as extraordinary; the best in the series'.seems I am one of the few to question this assessment.'OMG did I dislike one of Louise Penny's cosy novels? What did I miss?
I agree with those saying that Louise Penny ran out of ideas in this one, after creating so much murder and suspense in Three Pines she seems to have lost focus and direction in this one. The action moves to Québec City, dead of winter, Carnival time, where we learn the loveable Inspector has suffered a traumatic event. Initially I wondered, did I miss something, where, when and how did this event happen?
This latest instalment is a rather quiet introspective story that intertwines three plots:
1) Inspector Gamache while in recovery mode decides to spend some time with his mentor in Québec City and rehash some of his memories that still haunt him and try to tie up some loose ends. While there, he stumbles upon the Lit& His Library/Museum at the time when a body is discovered in the basement. Naturally our Québec 'Columbo' takes the reins of the investigation, an investigation that brushes the delicate aspects of history between the French and Anglo communities.
2) While in flashback mode Gamache rehashes the events of a deadly police investigation that went terribly wrong. A deadly raid that always comes back to haunt him.
3) Another case that has also haunted him over time is brought to the forefront. He was never happy with the outcome and asks Jean Guy Beauvoir to revisit the case with the hope of answering some of his unanswered questions. It is a step back in time covering the events in the novel 'The Brutal Telling'
The author hopscotches her way between plots that are not linked in an awkward manner making it very hard to follow, even with a full background of the previous novels, I found it a challenge. MS. Penny passion for Québec can be overwhelming at times, French terms and expression add atmosphere to the prose but may not have full effect if not understood. Gamache wandering the cobble stone streets of the Old City munching a baguette or a croissant spells tourist rather than a native of the province in my books'.The pacing pussyfoots all through the story, the only serious action surfaces in the last pages with Gamache's step by step recount of the botched investigation.
This was a tedious read, a disappointment. I preferred when Inspector Gamache focused on one case at a time