“The Long Way Home”

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“The Long Way Home” is Louise Penny’s newest addition to her Chief Inspector Gamache series.  Although she uses the same cast of characters that appear in all her other books, the plot is very different and the ending an interesting surprise.

Penny’s last two books in this series were closely tied to each other.  In the “Beautiful Mystery” Gamache and his second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir have a major break in their relationship.  When we next meet them in “How the Light Gets In,” the rift has deepened and Gamache finds himself deeply embroiled in Quebec police department intrigue. But at the end of the novel, Penny has seemed to tie up all the loose ends of the ongoing police department corruption and Gamache and Beauvoir’s relationship.

My question when I started to read this book was “Where is she going to go with the characters and plot?”  She has relocated the now retired Gamache and his wife to the village of Three Pines.  Beauvoir is married to Gamache’s daughter Annie.  Life is quite different for everyone.

The conflict arrives when long-time friend and painter Claire asks Gamache to help her locate her husband Peter.  She and Peter have separated, but after a year’s time Peter has not returned nor contacted Claire.

The plot traces Peter’s wanderings to various places in Europe, but ultimately leads the investigators to a remote area at the mouth of the St.Lawrence River.  SPOILER ALERT.  Whereas in most mysteries, a corpse appears very early in the story, Perry has waited until almost the last few pages to present the reader with a death; actually two murders.

After reading several mysteries in this series, I can say I was disappointed in “The Long Way Home.”  It did not keep me at the edge of my seat, and after a while I really didn’t care where Peter was or why he was on his journey.  Hopefully, Penny’s next installment in the series will have more suspense and tension.

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