It’s always interesting to see where the second book of a new detective series is going to take us. The Tana French novels upend the first book by essentially retiring the previous detective and handing the series off like a baton. In others like Poirot, it’s more episodic with the detective embarking just another case. And in others still, it’s the next day practically like the Tess Monaghan books more or less do.
Here it’s a little of both, at least so far, with Armand Gamache returning to the scene of the first book, Three Pines, Quebec for further adventures. But a year has passed and he’s presumably worked on other cases in the meantime.
It’s about 10 or more years ago, and there’s a reminder that time is a flat circle, because in this book we’re dealing with a proto-influencer being murdered at a curling match. CC de Poitier has spent a year styling herself as a small town Canada Martha Stewart and has desperately tried to build a brand, and like influencers today, the work is being put into the brand management and final goal rather than putting in the work. Her death is suspicious because of the several distinct things that had to occur for her to die in this particular way. She’s both unlikeable but also kind of unknown.
The book returns to the village and returns Gamache to thesmall group of compatriots from the first book, now no longer really in the suspect pool, and the book hits upon the same character study and other elements that made the first book successful. There’s even yet another intricate plot built upon the explanation of an esoteric sport, curling.