All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny: A review
The latest in Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series takes the inspector and his wife out of their little Quebec village of Three Pines and on to Paris. They have gone there to be with their daughter Annie who is about to give birth to their granddaughter. Both of the Gamache's children and their families live in Paris now and Annie's husband Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's former second in command, has left police work and is employed in the private sector. Also in Paris is Gamache's elderly godfather, billionaire Stephen Horowitz. So, it is family reunion time in Gay Paree.
The happy times come to a brutal end when Horowitz is run down by a van while crossing the street. The driver then speeds away. It was all witnessed by Gamache who is sure the "accident" was no accident. Horowitz survives, just barely, and is taken to the hospital in critical condition. When the Paris police seem skeptical that the hit and run was a deliberate attempt on Horowitz's life, Gamache decides to do his own investigation, assisted once again by Beauvoir. When Armand and his wife go to Horowitz's apartment and find a dead body there, a man who had been murdered, that clinches it - an attempted murder and now a murder. It can't be a coincidence.
The investigation into these events takes Gamache and Beauvoir all over Paris, from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the lowest basements of the Paris Archives as they search for the reason for the attacks. There are multiple surprises along the way, some dating from as far back as World War II and the history of the French Resistance, all of which is still very fresh in French memories. The two investigators trace the source of the attacks all the way back to financial moves that were being planned by Horowitz and they learn that betrayal is rife in the world of big finance. Corruption runs deep there and seems to have infected parts of the government, including the police. Whom can they trust?
In a Louise Penny mystery, the story is never just about investigating a crime, or even primarily about investigating a crime. The main point of the story is always about human relationships and about honor in those relationships. The most important thing always is to honor one's family, whether it is one's blood family or the family that one constructs of the friends and people that he or she cares about. That has never been more evident than in All the Devils Are Here where, in fact, all the Gamache family is here and is a part of the investigation. The bonds of family are strained by the challenges they face and by old hurts and resentments but in the end the bonds of honor hold. That seems to be the message that Penny wants to leave us with here: As long as we keep our honor intact, we can face anything and overcome any obstacle. It's a nice sentiment. I'd like to believe it.
At the end of the book, Penny once again gives us a glimpse of the village of Three Pines and all its quirky residents. It feels like coming home.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars