Louise Penny’s Three Pines mystery series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has grown from the early books that struggled to find a readership to its current ubiquity where the series is so incredibly beloved and every new entry is almost guaranteed instant bestsellerdom. Over the course of fifteen novels, Louise Penny has made Three Pines and its residents feel like home for so many readers. On rare occasions she has strayed from the confines of her mythical village to explore other parts of Canada, such as Quebec City, an isolated monastery, a luxury resort hotel, and even the Canadian/United States border. However, All The Devils Are Here (the sixteenth and latest novel in the series) will be the first to take Gamache outside of Canada. Where, one might ask? The series is off to Paris, France.
Not unlike predecessors such as Jessica Fletcher and Hercule Poirot, where Armand Gamache travels, murder is sure to follow. Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie are in Paris for a much-needed respite: one that allows them to reconnect with their children, to be present for the birth of another grandchild, and to provide Gamache precious time with his godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. After a lovely dinner, their serene walk home is shattered by a tragic accident that gravely injures Stephen. Even though Gamache is certain this was an intentional attack on his cherished father-figure, being in a foreign country strips him of any authority – however that does not mean that he is unable to investigate.
What follows is a refreshingly slow excavation of Stephen Horowitz’s history – and the many secrets within. The word slow here is used to imply a methodical and organized examination of every small facet of the case, not as a pejorative meant to criticize in any way. Louise Penny’s writing skill allows her to create tension out of even the most innocuous of details and to elevate the risk with every sublime moment, so what readers end up with is a fully-immersive experience where they journey with the investigators through the course of their inquiries.
Investigators is the correct word here, as well. Since Gamache has no agency to run an official investigation in Paris, France, he must rely on his team – his family – in new ways. Of course, his former colleague-turned-son-in-law Jean-Guy Beauvoir is by his side at every turn and each dead-end. Longtime series fans will relish the prominent role Reine-Marie is afforded in All the Devils Are Here. Her research skills as a librarian prove invaluable and it is delightful to see her interact with her husband on this more professional level – with their core love and respect always serving as the foundation.
While dedicated fans will no doubt be dismayed that most of the other Three Pines residents only appear briefly in this novel, that development makes All the Devils Are Here an ideal place for new readers of the series to begin. There has been a larger story at play over the course of the previous few novels that may have been challenging to join in medias res, but with most of that resolved at this point, readers unfamiliar with the Three Pines series can pick up All the Devils Are Here and following along with little confusion.
Louise Penny has never been a writer to follow any set formula, so these deviations in All The Devils Are Here are not unexpected. Readers can rest assured that this still feels like an authentic Three Pines/Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery and in many ways it is setting the stage for the novels moving forward. There is no doubt that Louise Penny’s existing fans and the new ones who discover her with All the Devils Are Here will gladly follow her wherever that journey takes us.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel