Whenever I get a new Louise Penny book in my hands, I make a giant mug of tea and park myself on the sofa to be transported to the small village of Three Pines and the collection of eclectic residents living there to heal, hide or create. And…for another rendezvous with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, whose ability to read people and evidence is legendary.
The Long Way Home is the latest in Louise Penny’s “Three Pines” mystery series. The cover feels like an artist’s canvas (at least the Canadian edition does), foreshadowing which character might be in difficulty. In this novel, Gamache is “retired” (I won’t spoil anything for those who are not up to date in the series) in Three Pines and trying to help an artist friend search for her husband. This novel seems to have a slower pace than the others in the series, which makes sense given the changes the characters have undergone, but I am in no way disappointed.
I love how Penny varies the seasons in her novels to better highlight the landscape and food of Quebec, showing them at their best and allowing them to transcend setting and become characters in their own right. If you enjoy mysteries that are not gory, investigate what it is to be human, and revel in the joie de vivre of good food and good friends, these books are for you. Read them in order! No cheating – let the characters’ lives unfold.