Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is the head of the Surete du Quebec. While on leave in Quebec City, he becomes involved in the investigation of the murder of a local man. The investigation causes the police to focus on a centuries old mystery.
This book is really about looking back at history. The history of Samuel Champlain, the founder of Quebec. The history of a previous case that Gamache begins to doubt. The history of the last case, which resulted in a horrific shootout that left an agent dead and several badly injured.
This is really three stories in one. Each of them was intriguing and easy to follow. Both Gamache and Beauvoir are interesting characters. Gamache is a very hurt and haunted man. The full reason for this is not revealed all at once, but slowly over the course of the book as one of the storylines. Gamache’s second in command, Beauvoir, is the main investigator in the second of the storylines. He is re-investigating the case from the 5th book in the series. The main storyline involves Gamache investigating the death of a French man found in the basement of an English library. The man is a local legend who is obsessed with finding the burial site of Samuel Champlain, the founder of Quebec.
This book is full of wonderfully beautiful descriptions of Quebec in winter. I have never been to Quebec City, but having grown up near the Quebec border, I know it can be quite the sight. There was also quite a bit of history mentioned in the book, creatively woven into the story. For anyone familiar with Quebec (and Canadian) history, reading it gives a little thrill of recognition.
This story is a excellent example of a stand alone book within a series. I have not read any of the previous books in the series, in fact I didn’t know it was part of a series when I first picked it up. I chose it because it was named the One Book, One Community read for 2011. Having this read this book, I will be reading the previous books in the series. I will also look forward in participating in some of the events related to this program.