By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton
Inspector Beauvoir is no longer Chief Inspector Gamache’s right-hand man. After a gun battle that nearly cost his life, Beauvoir is addicted to pain pills and blames the chief for his problems. He has changed his loyalty to Superintendent Francoeur, who provides the pills as an assurance of that loyalty. Francoeur is on a mission to rid the Provincial Police of Quebec of what he considers the narcissistic Gamache.
When Gamache is called to Three Pines to assist in solving a missing-person situation, he finds that the lack of the promised arrival is only a peripheral problem. It turns out that they are not looking for who they think they are. Giving her name as Pineault on her first visit to Three Pines, the woman is absent for her promised second visit, which is soon explained when it is discovered that she has been murdered in her Montreal home. They also become aware that rather than a Pineault, she was the last of the famous Ouelette Quintuplets.
The call to Three Pines was somewhat of a relief. Superintendent Francoeur has done his best to make life miserable for Gamache. His best agents have been transferred out and replaced with an insolent lot. Beauvoir has been turned against him. He didn’t think it could get much worse. The Ouelette case gave him something to work on that he had proven very good at over the years — solving murders
As he researched the Ouelettre Quintuplets, their charmed lives as miracles of God, as they had been promoted, had turned to be almost child abuse. They had been taken away from their parents and paraded around as celebrities with little privacy and no parental love. As adults, they had withdrawn from the public. And it turned out, this murder was not the only strange death that had happened to the sisters.
Gamache now must solve the murder and deal with the Francoeur manufactured crisis in the police department. Besides not liking the Chief Inspector, there must be a bigger reason thatFrancoeur is causing all the chaos. Turns out, there is — much bigger. So big that Beauvoir, the Chief and anyone associated with him is on the path for elimination.
Since the murder and the chaos aren’t related, the situation is doubly problematic. There is also a time element involved. The reader is treated to two very involved mysteries and a good deal of suspense.