This book bored and frustrated me for the first third, and then something turned and the plot and interesting character stuff got going, and my annoyances were subsumed under actual interest for the characters and story. Subsumed is a fun word to use by the way. Do they still sell Word of the Day toilet paper? I heard about that one time but never investigated further.
So when I say that I was frustrated, I mean that I seriously contemplated not continuing with the series. It seemed to me that instead of doing new things with her series, and evolving her characters, everything felt stagnant and rote, and on top of that, are we serious here with the same small group of friends in a tiny town witnessing and playing large parts in not one, not two, not three, but FOUR murders? And not even four murders over a lifetime, which is also unbelievable, but four murders in a span of less than half a decade. What. This strains my credulity to the breaking point. And nothing else in the book was there to make me interested enough to ignore that problem, at least at the beginning.
Wait, I think there have been more than four murders? I can’t remember. AT LEAST four murders, MAYBE MORE.
Okay, griping aside, this book follows the Three Pines crew from books one and two after a séance in the Hadley House (and seriously again with this house witnessing another death???) leaves one of their number dead. At first they assume a heart attack killed Madeleine, whom everyone loved, but it soon turns out that she was actually murdered, so Gamache once again comes to town. Gamache is still dealing with the fallout from “the Arnot case”, and for whatever reason, my patience on this had nearly run out by the middle of this book, because I didn’t know when it would come to an end, and I was already tired of the spectre of it hanging over Gamache’s head. Storylines where good people are harangued for no reason are not something I really like to read about, even if done well, so I was already cranky. I think that was ultimately why I ended up enjoying the book, because it became clear halfway through that this book would actually bring resolution to that plot, and Penny tied it in thematically with everything else that was going on as well. The ending made up for a lot, here. I just wish I wouldn’t have been so cranky and frustrated at the beginning.
I still have eleven books left in this series. Next one is up later this summer.