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Synopsis

"What happened here last night isn't allowed," said Madame Dubois.
It was such an extraordinary thing to say it stopped the ravenous Inspector Beauvoir from taking another bite of his roast beef on baguette.
"You have a rule against murder?" he asked.
"I do. When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse we made a pact....Everything that stepped foot on this land would be safe."

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they're not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own.
The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

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    Whether set in Three Pines or, as in this novel, the Manoir Bellechasse in a secluded area in the Quebec countryside, Chief Inspector Gamache is a character that one wants to follow everywhere he goes. And, it seems that murder must follow him even when he is celebrating an anniversary with his wife. This book is more than a mystery and suspense novel, it is a story of character, the flaws and the triumphs. Inspector Gamache's deep and poetical thoughts and his respectful mannerisms are inspiring. I enjoy how he treats his wife, his friends, and brings out the best in his work colleagues. He is a man to admire. Although all of Louise Penny's books starring Armande Gamache are excellent, this one stood out because of the poetry of his thoughts and the intricacies of the murder. As we spend time with the obnoxious family of suspects, we gain a deeper understanding of the power of greed and selfishness to destroy - even ending in murder. Most murder stories are not inspiring, this one is.

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    Sibling rivalry

    The usual great plot, setting, characters and a novel setting. A bit heavy on the menu descriptions.

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