Oct 22 2017

Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #13) by Louise Penny

Another excellent installment in the Gamache series, tho certainly not the best. The format is very clever: it opens in a scorching midsummer, where an unnamed defendant is on trial for a murder committed the previous winter in Three Pines, Gamache’s beloved village home. Gamache is on the witness stand as the star witness for the prosecution, but the Crown Prosecutor is treating him with a surprising hostility that does not go unnoticed by either the presiding judge or by the journalists who have packed the courtroom. As the novel unfolds, we go back to the circumstances of that winter’s murder, as well as of the greater problems facing the Surete de Quebec: of a war against crime that they will surely lose if they do not embrace the unthinkable.

Glass Houses is an excellent examination of the morality of crime-fighting. I’m not entirely sure how plausible it is in the context of current events in Canada, tho perhaps I just consider Canada an idyll in comparison to America (the grass is always greener etc.) Regardless, it is a fine meditation on evil and the rule of law and the cost of conscience, and is certainly one of the finest crime novels ever written. Yes, that does mean that certain other of the series are even better and that you should avail yourself of them when you can.

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