Louise Penny’s newest mystery, featuring former Chief of Homicide for the Surete du Quebec, is one of her best. In “A Great Reckoning” the author continues to weave the story of Armand Gamache’s personal and professional life. All the characters that appear in her previous novels, plus several new ones, all play a part in solving a murder at the Surete Academy.
After resigning as Chief of Homicide, Gamache has now assumed a new job as the commander of the academy that trains new officers for the Surete. Gamache was responsible for uncovering and weeding out the corrupt officers and leadership at the Surete. Now he is faced with doing the same at the Academy.
After firing many of the professors who were fostering militant attitudes among the new recruits, Gamache’s task is to redirect the focus of training for these young men and women. To everyone’s surprise, he keeps on staff Serge Leduc and hires Michel Brebeuf. Gamache has been gathering evidence of corruption against Leduc and needs only to verify his suspicions and have Leduc arrested. Brebeuf, a disgraced former colleague, is someone Gamache feels the new recruits can learn from and profit from his mistakes.
Against this backdrop, Gamache now faces a murder investigation. Serge Leduc has been murdered–one shot through his head. The suspects mount up as Leduc’s past is revealed; those suspects include Gamache himself.
One of the key clues in the murder investigation is an old map that was uncovered in the walls of the bistro in Gamache’s home village of Three Pines. How is the map connected to the murder and how and why was the map created are all key plot points in discovering who killed Leduc and why.
For old fans of Louise Penny and her cast of characters, “A Great Reckoning” is a pure delight. I couldn’t put it down. For new fans, you are in for a mystery-lover’s great read.