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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 13 star ratings
4 reviews
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4.5 out of 5
13
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    Kingdom of the Blind

    If you love Gamache and friends ...you will love this book! Thank you Ms. Penny
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    Great characters as always, but uneven plot

    As with most of the novels in the Gamache/Three Pines series, there are two mysteries to be solved. One is the location of a cache of opioids, a small amount compared to the huge shipment recovered by Gamache’s team in the last book, but more than enough to kill thousands of people. Allowing any of the shipment to escape has caused Gamache’s suspension, and the Sureté is motivated to place all the blame on Gamache rather than let the institution face any consequences. Fine (or FINE, to series fans), Gamache will take his suspension and unofficially investigate to find the opioids. (Being suspended never seems to stand in the way of Gamache’s investigatory abilities.) The second mystery involves Gamache and Myrna, when they are appointed liquidators of the estate of a woman they never knew. Madame Baumgartner was known by others in Three Pines, though, for having been a cleaner for many years, and for insisting that she be called Baroness. How to square the deceased’s apparent state of poverty with her will’s terms for bequeathing millions of dollars, multiple homes in Europe and, of course, the royal title? This is another investigation Gamache takes on, along with Myrna and the third co-liquidator, an oddball young man named Benedict. This investigation quickly broadens, as intriguing facts are discovered, and when crime becomes involved, so do Gamache’s longtime colleagues Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Isabel Lacoste. The novel takes place during an intensely cold and snowy midwinter, and the locations are Montreal and Three Pines. As usual, a Three Pines novel set in winter involves frequent mouth-watering descriptions of food and drink to warm you, alongside cozy wood fires at the Bistro and at the Gamache home. (You already know this, but just in case, a warning that this is not a novel to be read on an empty stomach.) The scenes set in Three Pines have the charm of the usual cast of village eccentrics, with wisecracking dialog that entertains even if it occasionally strays over the line into cutesiness. The homey Three Pines scenes are contrasted by those in Montreal, where the two plots take the investigators from plush high-rise investment company offices to the filth and danger of Montreal’s dark alleys where the drug addicts and street prostitutes do their business. The Baumgartner plot is consistently interesting, but I can’t say the same for the opioid plot. I thought it was a largely failed attempt at contemporariness when Louise Penny introduced the plot in her last book, Glass Houses, and it hasn’t improved matters to have it continue into another book. Especially when it’s so obvious what’s going on with this book’s opioid plot. Right from the get-go it seemed clear to me exactly what (and whom) Gamache’s investigation involved and why he keeps nearly all of its details from his (normally) most trusted colleagues. As all my Louise-Penny-reading friends say, no matter how critical we are of her plotting in the recent novels, we know this is a series we’ll keep reading as long as Penny keeps writing. And that’s because of Penny’s genius in making us believe in Three Pines and its residents; believe we could move there and love being a villager, even in the bleak Québec midwinter.
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    Thank you Louise Penny.

    Always a pleasure to catch up with Three Pines and Armand Gamache.
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    Kingdom of the Blind

    Captivating, held my interest, great story line. Worth the read
13

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