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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: "HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN" by Louise Penny

"Superbly written, great plot, wonderful humour, and believable, rich characters"


As a fierce, unrelenting winter grips Quebec, shadows are closing in on Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department and hostile forces are lining up against him.

When Gamache receives a message about a mysterious case in Three Pines, he is compelled to investigate - a woman who was once one of the most famous people in the world has vanished.

As he begins to shed light on the investigation, he is drawn into a web of murder, lies and unimaginable corruption at the heart of the city. Facing his most challenging and personal case to date, can Gamache save the reputation of the Surete, those he holds dear and himself?


Not having read any of Louise Penny's previous seven novels featuring her detective character Armand Gamache, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was intrigued when I received a preview copy for review (it isn't out until November).

This deceptively slow-burning book puts character-development first - but don't be fooled into thinking that it will be a dull story as a result. The author cleverly draws not only the central protagonists but also the secondary people too, really getting under their skin until they feel familiar. The whole time though, she is also pulling together strands of a strange but unmissable tale involving the violent death of a quintuplet, the complex politics of Quebec's Surete police bureau, and an apparent suicide - and don't let's foget the surly poet who has a pet duck...!

This isn't a fast-paced rollercoaster ride of a novel, but the climax is far more high-octane than expected and certainly does ramp up the tension. Louise Penny's gentle start is subtly woven, and the intrigue will keep you guessing until the end - and what an end: as the trap closes on the detective, can he catch the killer before he himself is killed? It will leave you breathless and keep you guessing until the final page.

Superbly written, great plot, wonderful humour, and believable, rich characters; this book is definitely highly-recommended!

HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN, by Louise Penny, is published by Sphere. It comes out on 6 November 2014. Paperback £7.99.


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