Review – THE LONG WAY HOME by Louise Penny

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books Mystery (Chief Inspector Gamache series)The Long Way Home

Louise Penny took a big chance in this novel, moving a giant step away from her well-known investigational style and into the depths of philosophical and emotional exploration. Gamache and his wife have retired to the beautiful, tucked away village of Three Pines in south Quebec where Gamache spends his time ruminating about the horrible events that led to his early retirement. Of course, Penny cannot leave her characters alone to ponder life; they need to be busy solving mysteries, so the scattered, yet successful artist, Clara, draws Gamache back to the work he knows so well.

Several books back in the series, Clara’s husband, Peter disappeared. Also an artist, Peter was unable to handle the sudden and surprising success of his wife. Before she was discovered, she kept her talent as well hidden as the peaceful Three Pines, but when Clara seeks help from Gamache, he rises to the occasion. Forcing himself from his musings, he reaches out to his connections in the police world to find Peter. Those simple requests lead the team of devoted and bizarre neighbors from Three Pines to a quest into Scotland and lands beyond.

Exploring the art world, visiting a commune of sorts, and gathering a blend of fairy tales and gossip eventually lead the intrepid, mismatched team closer to the elusive Peter. He has been around the world on his personal search of discovery, finding danger and far more than he anticipated.

The past has a sinister way of sneaking up on people when they least expect it, and with Penny’s expert pen, she creates a convoluted plot bristling with intrigue and history that shatters beliefs and fidelities with bold strokes. Within the confines of each character’s profile lurks the richness that make Penny’s novels so personal. The characters is this series are a delightful blend of reality, imagination, and ingenuity ripe with emotion that make flipping the page a pleasure.

The books in this series artfully blend humor, tension, and mystery, but this book has an extra dose of humor from Gamache that made me laugh aloud at times. The people of Three Pines give each other space to explore their individual interests and private moments, but they are always watching, ready to step in to help each other. Have a tissue handy for a touching end to this story.

Review provided by Mahala Church for her column Barefoot Reviews in November 2014 issue of The Book Breeze.  To view the latest issue visit http://www.thebookbreeze.com

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