Every year in the late summer or early fall, I anxiously anticipate a new mystery by Louise Penny in her continuing Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series set in Three Pines, a small village in Quebec. The fourteenth book in the series is Kingdom of the Blind and it is clear that Penny’s writing is as strong as ever. I usually listen to the audiobook version of Penny’s books. The narrator is Robert Bathurst, a former character on Downton Abbey (Edith’s suitor Sir Anthony Strallan) and his voice brings the Canadian inspector alive. If you are new to the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, start with Louise Penny’s first book, Still Life.
The book begins with Armand Gamache, the former head of the Surete du Quebec, who is waiting to hear the verdict concerning his botched drug raid, which was a complete disaster. As the case hangs over his head, the drugs that eluded his squad begins to snake through the streets of Montreal with deadly precision. Gamache also learns of the betrayal of one of his “second chance” recruits, who has slipped back into addiction.
While waiting for the internal investigation to end, Gamache, along with friend and Three Pines resident Myrna Landers, have learned that they been named as executors of a woman’s estate whom neither of them know, along with third man who is a stranger to them. Why would this woman, who referred to herself as “The Baroness” appoint Gamache and Myrna as two executors when she was an outsider to their close-knit group in Three Pines?
After one of her beneficiaries is found dead in The Baroness’ dilapidated former home, Gamache is determined to find out more about the self-proclaimed royal and her family secrets. The case of the Baroness runs parallels with Gamache’s fate in the drug raid and its consequences. But, the Baroness is not the only one with secrets. Gamache has secrets of his own that will be revealed when all the pieces fit neatly into place.