The detective duo of Bill Smith and Lydia Chin are back, hot on the heels of the 2009 Dilys Award-winning The Shanghai Moon, in S.J.
RequiemLouise Penny's series of books featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, continues with this brilliant book, which delves into the mind and soul of her protagonist. He is trying to sort out his life and feelings after a deadly kidnapping and shootout which resulted in the deaths of a number of police officers as well as serious injury to himself and others of his comrades. Gamache holds himself responsible for not being able to defuse the situation without such a terrible price. We are given glimpses of what occurred, through flashbacks, while Gamache, who is on leave, delves into the mystery surrounding the death of a rather eccentric and prominent, though not well liked citizen of Quebec. The body was found in the Literary and Historical Society, a little known bastion of English life buried in the heart of French Quebec. More than just a body is uncovered as feelings run high in this land of split loyalties and centuries old animosities. Gamache's self doubt brought on by the recent tragedy also insinuates itself to his past, as he starts to question the validity of a recent murder conviction for a crime in the town of Tree Pines. It would be helpful although not essential, at this point, if the reader has already read the previous book in the series, "The Brutal Telling." The author skillfully balances all these themes and a rich cast of characters, while managing to touch the heart of both her characters and the reader. Penny breathes life into her creations and takes our breath away at the same time.