There are all kinds of stories about heroes, stories that say when others are running away, heroes run toward trouble. That's the best way I know to summarize Louise Penny's latest book, Glass Houses, and her lead character, Armand Gamache. Because of the unusual format of the book, it will take the reader quite a bit of time to understand that opening sentence.
The book opens with Gamache on the witness stand, identifying himself as Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Quebec. As the reader discovers, despite his position, Gamache could only warn the person on trial. Gamache slowly reveals a story that alternates between the courtroom and Three Pines, where all the action actually took place.
It's a story that started at a Halloween party when a black robed figure appeared in the village. And, the day after the party, the mysterious figure was still there, a figure that seemed to accuse the villagers, to taunt them. They grew restless, and Gamache was forced to quiet an unruly crowd. But, what had the figure actually done? There was nothing Gamache could do except warn the anonymous person to be careful. Then the figure disappears, and a body is found.
There is so much I would like to reveal about the black robed figure, about the story itself, about Gamache. But, when I summarize, because I never feel as if I review a Louise Penny novel, I never want to spoil the story. At some point when I read one of Penny's books, it ceases to be a book, and becomes a world. I'm drawn into the world of Three Pines, observing Gamache's actions just as the villagers do.
Louise Penny's books are always about the dark and the light, good and evil, what's hidden from the world. Gamache has a terrible decision to make in Glass Houses, and he dwells on conscience, and answering to a higher power. It's a decision that weighs on him, weighs on others. Make no mistake about it. When others are running away, heroes do run toward trouble. Count Armand Gamache and some of the other beloved characters in Glass Houses as heroes.
Louise Penny's website is www.louisepenny.com
Glass Houses by Louise Penny. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250066190 (hardcover), 391p.
Note: Read the Author's Note!
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.