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Kingdom of the Blind

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The entrancing new crime thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from number one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.Armand never knew The entrancing new crime thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from number one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional - until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem far more menacing.But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots - and the terrible things hiding there. Praise for the award-winning Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series: 'One of the most interesting detectives in crime fiction' The Times 'Fascinating characters, a twisty plot and wonderful surprise endings' Ann Cleeves'Wonderfully satisfying' Kate Mosse


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The entrancing new crime thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from number one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.Armand never knew The entrancing new crime thriller featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, from number one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside of Three Pines, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as an executor of her will.Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects the woman must have been delusional - until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem far more menacing.But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into the events that led to his suspension has dragged on, and Armand is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify previous actions. As he does, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots - and the terrible things hiding there. Praise for the award-winning Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series: 'One of the most interesting detectives in crime fiction' The Times 'Fascinating characters, a twisty plot and wonderful surprise endings' Ann Cleeves'Wonderfully satisfying' Kate Mosse

30 review for Kingdom of the Blind

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Unfortunately I have finished. I tried to make it last as long as possible, reading it slowly, even though I wanted to rush to the end. Three Pines, such picturesque village, I would love to live there, if it was real of course. I mentioned that to someone and they said, Yes, but they have alot of murders for such a small town. True, I had to laugh, but it is the characters, the the people that live there, and the way they care for each other, even the demented poet Ruth. Well, this time no murd Unfortunately I have finished. I tried to make it last as long as possible, reading it slowly, even though I wanted to rush to the end. Three Pines, such picturesque village, I would love to live there, if it was real of course. I mentioned that to someone and they said, Yes, but they have alot of murders for such a small town. True, I had to laugh, but it is the characters, the the people that live there, and the way they care for each other, even the demented poet Ruth. Well, this time no murder in the village. Instead Gamache and Myrna, arrive separately, not knowing the other was coming, at a tumbled down farmhouse. They are tasked, along with another new arrival, with a very strange request. Despite their doubts, they are intrigued and accept. This brings them into a mystery over 160 years old and bearing a famous name. Also of course, are the remnants from the last novel, missing drugs and a suspended Gamache. This may well be my favorite entry, so far in this series. Trademark humor, tenderness, and of course some great investigative ability is shown. Gamache and his complicated character is fully displayed. A few new characters too, and one that attaches to another, will be very surprising indeed. At books end, just when explanations are given, the cases wrapped up nicely or in some cases not, we are presented with a most unexpected zinger. Now I wonder just where the next book will take us. So I wait. ARC from Minotaur books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    James Patterson

    Just got done reading an advance copy of Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny. It's a fantastic book that had me guessing the entire way. You're not going to want to miss out on this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    It is always a joy to return to Three Pines and its eccentric and offbeat residents, and this is a blisteringly brilliant addition to the Detective Armand Gamache series. Gamache has been suspended as the Head of the Surete du Quebec, a result of the fallout from his last case. His son-in-law, Jean-Guy is now the Acting Head, caught between political machinations that are looking to laying the blame squarely on Gamache to pay the devastating price for his actions. Gamache feels he deserves to lo It is always a joy to return to Three Pines and its eccentric and offbeat residents, and this is a blisteringly brilliant addition to the Detective Armand Gamache series. Gamache has been suspended as the Head of the Surete du Quebec, a result of the fallout from his last case. His son-in-law, Jean-Guy is now the Acting Head, caught between political machinations that are looking to laying the blame squarely on Gamache to pay the devastating price for his actions. Gamache feels he deserves to lose his job as he holds himself responsible for the nightmare entry of the most deadly of opoids, carfentanyl, looking set to flood Montreal and wipe out thousands. In his desperation to locate the drugs, he is willing to take risks and do whatever it takes, as he launches an undercover operation in the menacing streets of the city that are riddled with death and danger. Gamache, psychologist and bookseller Myrna Landers, and a young builder from Montreal, Benedict Pouliot, find themselves named as the liquidators, instrumental in implementing the will of a recently deceased woman, a cleaner called the Baroness, Bertha Baumgartnor. None of them knew her, and it is a bizarre will, distributing monies and estates that the Baroness does not have. With their curiosity aroused, they accept the role and learn more when they meet the Baroness's adult children, Anthony, Caroline and Hugo, the recipients of the non-existent bequests. The will is the latest piece of a longstanding family drama in a delusional and poisonous inheritance that goes back well over a hundred years ago, involving the descendents of twin brothers in Europe. A murder has Gamache and Jean Guy delving more closely into the family and its history. It turns out that current developments in Vienna might provide motive for murder. Nothing is as it appears as financial fraud investigator, Agent Cloutier finally gets to deploy her specialised skills that make her feel more settled in the police team, whilst deeply buried family secrets and lies are exposed. What makes this series so special are the long established characters that Louise Penny has developed with care and flair, with the best of locations in Three Pines. There is the foulmouthed poet, Ruth and her duck, Rosa, Myrna, artist Clara Morrow, Gamache's wife, Reine-Marie and a slew of others. This is a novel and series about community, belonging, kindness, comic humour, wit, love and affection. The addition of compelling new characters, such as Benedict and Katie Burke keep this story fresh and ever evolving. The theme of blindness is strong in its application to a range of people, including Gamache, who cannot stop engaging in machinations with mixed results. This is a fantastic read, entertaining with top notch storylines, and so fabulous to revisit the well loved people that I have got to know so well. Highly Recommended! Many thanks to Kirsteen Astor and Little, Brown for an ARC.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cathrine ☯️

    4✚ 🦆🦆🦆🦆 “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Admit it fans. When you finish the last page and the road to Three Pines is closed until another winter comes, quoting Rosa is the only way to assuage our anguish. It is currently very cold in Three Pines. So cold that Reine-Marie and others can be heard muttering “Why do we live here?” as the town loses power and is buried in snow. But not to worry, comfort foods that rarely fail in their one great task are abundant. “Oh heaven…do you have power? Non. A generator. Hooked 4✚ 🦆🦆🦆🦆 “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Admit it fans. When you finish the last page and the road to Three Pines is closed until another winter comes, quoting Rosa is the only way to assuage our anguish. It is currently very cold in Three Pines. So cold that Reine-Marie and others can be heard muttering “Why do we live here?” as the town loses power and is buried in snow. But not to worry, comfort foods that rarely fail in their one great task are abundant. “Oh heaven…do you have power? Non. A generator. Hooked up to the espresso machine? And the oven and fridge, said Gabri. But not the lights? Priorities, said Olivier. Are you complaining? Mon Dieu, no, she said." I really, really liked it. Not as awesome for me as the last 2 in the series, hence the missing star but I would trade my café au lait and warm apple crisp with cream for a copy if I were you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    After a lengthy binge-read of Louise Penny’s spectacular series, I was forced to wait a few weeks for this latest release. The wait was worth it, as Penny continues to impress while building on established story angles. Fans will surely find something with which they can relate in this highly detailed novel. On a cold day in the dead of winter, Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache finds himself searching for a nondescript home. He received a letter from a notary, asking that he attend this locati After a lengthy binge-read of Louise Penny’s spectacular series, I was forced to wait a few weeks for this latest release. The wait was worth it, as Penny continues to impress while building on established story angles. Fans will surely find something with which they can relate in this highly detailed novel. On a cold day in the dead of winter, Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache finds himself searching for a nondescript home. He received a letter from a notary, asking that he attend this location, though cannot make sense of what might be taking place. Gamache soon notices that his longtime friend and fellow Three Pines resident, Myrna Landers, has also been summoned. When a third individual, the eccentric Benedict Pouliot, arrives, things begin to make sense, in a way. All three have been named liquidators—read: executors—of the will of a woman they do not know. While trying to piece together this mystery, the hierarchy of the Sûreté du Québec are working through the major gaffe Gamache facilitated, which is just now reverberating through the streets of Montreal. In order to neutralise a major drug cartel, Gamache permitted a huge supply of opioids onto the streets, including the new carfentanil, which is exponentially more potent than fentanyl. Gamache remains suspended and his eventual permanent demise is a certainty, given time. While Quebec’s Justice Ministry is now involved, it is close to impossible to stay ahead of this, as drugs tend to move at light speed. The Sûreté Academy is rocked when one of its cadets is found with a significant amount of drugs in her room, forcing her immediate expulsion. Gamache knows this woman all too well and wonders if her past experience with street drugs might help him track down the new shipments as they hit the streets. Gamache is staying busy as he tries to peel back the layers on this drug shipment, as well as the details of the will, which poses numerous financial hurdles that span over a century. Soon, all three liquidators can understand their connection to the deceased, though when an immediate relative is found dead inside a collapsed house, questions arise as to who whether there may have been a murder to grease the financial wheels within this family. With all this taking place, needy addicts are turning up marked with ‘DAVID’, though no one seems to know who this could be. Gamache and his second-in-command, Jean Guy Beauvoir, work to piece it all together before more people die at the hands of these new drugs, which may also be the only way for Gamache to save his job. A thrilling addition to the series that will keep Penny fans wanting more. I would highly recommend this book to series fans who have a great handle on the characters and writing style. Readers new to Penny’s series ought to begin where the stories began and progress accordingly. Those who follow my reviews closely will remember that I recently completed a major Louise Penny binge, reading her entire collection of Gamache novels. I saw a great deal of development in the series, both in the settings—particularly Three Pines—and the characters, especially Armand Gamache, the constant protagonist. Some readers were critical of such a major undertaking, but I found it highly refreshing. Penny places her protagonist in an interesting spot as the novel opens—the head of the entire Sûreté du Québec and yet on active suspension—which enriches the entire reading experience. He seems sure that his past choices related to drugs and the cartels will be vindicated when the bureaucrats see the bigger picture. As usual, Gamache seems unfazed by the trouble that awaits him, content to find a mystery that needs his attention. Gamache is pulled in by this ‘liquidator’ mystery, which takes over much of his time, though the opening with former Cadet Amelia Choquet returning to her life as a drug addict is an interesting subplot that permits the Chief Superintendent a glimpse into the drugs he has permitted to hit the streets. This character struggle is a brilliant angle that Penny adds to the mix of this piece, which enriches his already-strong character. While Jean Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste are active throughout the book, their police presence blends in with Gamache’s work, rather than standing out alone. There are references and entire scenes related to the Three Pines residents, though the story takes place out of the community, making these unique and highly entertaining characters more decorative than essential. There are a handful of other characters whose presence help propel the story forward, in true Penny fashion, and offering the reader some wonderful development opportunities. The story is well done and it pulls on both threads left hanging from past novels and new ideas, which serve as a mystery that keeps the narrative moving forward. Penny finds new ideas to entertain and educated the curious reader, as well as showing her great abilities at painting a scene that pulls the reader in and does not let go. While some may have panned the latter part of the series, I cannot offer enough praise for this novel or the entire collection. Penny has a grip on things and there is no sense that it is in trouble, even with more than a dozen novels completed. I cannot wait for more and hope Penny has more ideas over the coming years to keep the characters exciting for all. Her acknowledgement section is worth a read for those who have followed the series, as Penny reveals an interesting tidbit. Kudos, Madam Penny, for allowing me to be fully committed throughout. This is a series I will not soon forget or regret! Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I've never read anything by Louise Penny before, and I've definitely never read her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, but you don't need to in order to follow along with Kingdom of the Blind. The author provides a lot of developments along the way for the reader to quickly get up to speed about the characters and their mishaps. While Armand Gamache is under suspension from the Sûreté du Québec, he receives a letter summoning him to preside over the execution of a will of a woman he's neve I've never read anything by Louise Penny before, and I've definitely never read her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, but you don't need to in order to follow along with Kingdom of the Blind. The author provides a lot of developments along the way for the reader to quickly get up to speed about the characters and their mishaps. While Armand Gamache is under suspension from the Sûreté du Québec, he receives a letter summoning him to preside over the execution of a will of a woman he's never met in his life (her name is Bertha, but is nicknamed The Baroness). When he arrives to this woman's house, he notices that there's two other people who have been included as co-executors of the will as well—Myrna Landers, a bookseller residing in Three Pines, and Benedict, a builder who also resides in Three Pines. Neither Myrna nor Benedict have ever met this woman, but the three are intrigued by this mystery and decide to distribute this woman's estate to her family. When the trio start allocating the estate to the Baroness's family, they stumble across a murder, linking them to this family's dark history. Armand's skeletons of the past also become a factor in this tale, leading to an ultimate showdown between the police force in Quebec, the estate of this deceased woman, and the trio themselves. I questioned whether or not my low rating was given because I've never read anything in this series. I may be in the minority, but I just wasn't a fan of how the story was written. It's a very dialogue-based novel, reminiscent of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling's pseudonym). If you've enjoyed that series, then please ignore me and pick up this novel! There's enough action throughout the story to entertain, but the driving force in this tale is the dialogue between Armand, Myrna, Benedict, Armand's wife, and the family of the Baroness. While the story had entertaining moments, I was bored to death by the dialogue. It could be because I haven't grown to care for the characters, as I would've if I read the series from the beginning, but I'm not confident enough in that statement to really confirm that theory. If you have read this series before and are curious, I do think it's worth a try in reading—prove me wrong!

  7. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    First Sentence: Armand Gamache slowed his car to a crawl, then stopped on the snow-covered secondary road. Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Quebec, Myrna Landers, a bookseller, and a young builder have been named as liquidators (executors) for the will of an apparent stranger. But why the three of them, and not the woman's children? And how does a murder play into the disposition? Of greater concern to Gamache is locating the highly dangerous missing drugs over which Gamache was suspe First Sentence: Armand Gamache slowed his car to a crawl, then stopped on the snow-covered secondary road. Armand Gamache, former head of the Sûreté du Quebec, Myrna Landers, a bookseller, and a young builder have been named as liquidators (executors) for the will of an apparent stranger. But why the three of them, and not the woman's children? And how does a murder play into the disposition? Of greater concern to Gamache is locating the highly dangerous missing drugs over which Gamache was suspended. Cadet Amelia Choquet, a former prostitute and drug user, has been kicked out of the Sûreté Academy for possession. What is her connection? One instinctively knows these threads will join; or will they. One is compelled to find out. Reading Louise Penny can be a very personal experience. It can take one back to childhood with the inclusion of a favourite poem, the memory of meeting a special author and a very kind man before dementia clouded his memories or a lovely, but simple, childhood song. For those who have read the series from the beginning, it is a reminder as to why these books have become important to us. For new readers, it is a welcome to, yet a reminder of, life's truth that—"Things sometimes fell apart unexpectedly. It was not necessarily a reflection of how much they were valued." And haven't we all, at some point, proclaimed that we are FINE, hoping a listener would truly understand. Although each book stands on its own, much is gained by having read the previous books. Not only do the characters and their relationships become better known, but one then truly feels a part of the Village of Three Pines. One of the things of which readers may be assured is that Penny's characters don't stagnate. They evolve and grow, certainly no one's more than Jean-Guy, acting head of homicide, and Gamache's son-in-law There are so many dynamic, strong characters; characters one comes to know and who become personal and real, such as Myrna, Gabri, Clara, Ruth and Rosa, the duck. A new character, Benedict, is appealing. The poetry battle between him and Ruth is delightful. Isabelle Lacoste, now the head of homicide, is the type of person one wants to be; determined, trusted by someone one admires, and wise. Agent Cloutier is transferred into a department she dislikes and is stuck there by circumstances. It is the realness of her character which is so appealing, as it is she who brings a touch of humour and veracity to the story, but also an opportunity to witness her growth. Ruth, who, for all her eccentricities, has a sense of clarity. Most of all, there is Armand Gamache, a man guided by a code of conduct—the four statements that lead to wisdom, whose underlying foundation is kindness, but is far from naïve and understands, too well, Matthew 10:36. Even the title, when one learns the meaning behind it, not only makes perfect sense but is something one may tuck away and remember. It is the story's balance which makes Penny so remarkable. This is not a cozy which ignores the hard realities; especially those of Gamache's job and responsibilities, of the losses or injuries, or the often-overlooked fact that—"When a murder was committed, more than one person died." Penny also acknowledges the importance of being conscious and remembering the good things; the things one loves. There is wisdom here. One need only take the time to absorb it. In case one is concerned about a lack of suspense, fear not. There is a situation which causes one to catch one's breath and fear for the safety, if not lives, of the characters. Yet even then, there is the reminder of hope through the explanation of the book's title. For all it's quality, the plot does bog down a bit in following the money trail, but is saved by the final, climatic scene. There is also a small plot inconsistency. Still, it is the characters and their lives in whom one becomes truly invested and, therefore, willing to forgive the small weaknesses. Even a less-than-perfect book by Penny exceeds most other books available and, in the end, one finds oneself thinking about the story long after closing the book. "Kingdom of the Blind" has a well-done twist and a wonderful summation containing humour, love, and is bittersweet. This is an excellent and somewhat more complex book than those in the past, and it certainly provides an interesting transition for the books to come. KINGDOM OF THE BLIND (Pol Proc-Armand Gamache-Canada-Contemp) – VG+ Penny, Louise – 14th in series Minotaur Books – Nov 2018

  8. 5 out of 5

    Penny Watson

    Buckle up, people! I have many, many thoughts about this book, and series in general, and Louise Penny. 1. The beginning of this book is strong. As always. One of Louise Penny's strengths is her beginnings. She sucks you right into the story with the characters, the mystery, the unknown. Everything feels profound. She throws in poetry. Philosophy. Art. Strangely, however, the familiarity of the characters/town we know actually dragged this story down. That is no longer a strong point for the serie Buckle up, people! I have many, many thoughts about this book, and series in general, and Louise Penny. 1. The beginning of this book is strong. As always. One of Louise Penny's strengths is her beginnings. She sucks you right into the story with the characters, the mystery, the unknown. Everything feels profound. She throws in poetry. Philosophy. Art. Strangely, however, the familiarity of the characters/town we know actually dragged this story down. That is no longer a strong point for the series, but a detriment. At one point, there was a scene with our familiar cast of characters, in their familiar setting, and I thought to myself..."I've read this before." It's getting redundant, and that's a bad thing. Dialogue feels recycled, character reactions feel recycled, even the twists/big reveals are things we've seen before (Gamache has a big secret...yeah, we know. HE ALWAYS HAS A BIG SECRET). 2. There are certain scenes/moments/events in this book with huge impact. The collapse of the house, the angst-filled scenes with Amelia returning to her old life. I love the whole symbolism of the house collapsing/the family collapsing. Penny did an extraordinary job bringing that symbolic event to life. Unfortunately, these are overshadowed by many tedious scenes that dragged and ruined the pacing of the narrative. Too many scenes with financial folks, figuring out documents, etc. These bits were dull and ruined the energy and flow of this story. 3. Pacing was a problem. The flow of the story felt disjointed. Usually, I find that Penny does an excellent job blending high-action scenes with internal POV, character bits with setting and storyline. But it was pretty choppy going in this book. 4. I love fiction that blends multiple storylines. This is a trademark for the Gamache Series. Sometimes, it works very well, and sometimes it's not as successful. The parallel storylines for this book--the Baumgartner will and the continuation of the drug storyline from the last book (GLASS HOUSES)--did not work well together, IMO. There has to be both contrast and commonality for blended storylines to work. The mystery about the Baumgartner family started very strong, then fizzled and died. The storyline about Amelia had its strong moments as well, but the "twist"--Gamache has a secret from everyone else--is something we've already seen in this series. That reveal was disappointing. The "reveal" about the Baumgartners also lacked punch. It was fairly expected. That was the biggest disappointment about this book for me...it started with a lot of energy and suspense, and it all sort of fizzled out and died by the end. The "post-mortem" scene at the end (everyone sitting around and discussing who/how/why-dunnit) was painful. It was an uninspired way to resolve the main mystery of this book. I do appreciate a few new characters thrown into the Three Pines world--even the promise of romance for some of our regular characters--but that is not enough to pump fresh life into this series. 5. My big assessment about The Gamache Series: This series has lost its magic. Louise Penny has not, however, lost her magical touch as a writer. She just needs to use her "powers" with a new project. She needs a new town, new characters, maybe even try out a new genre. She has a lot left to say, and a wonderful way to say it. But Gamache and his buddies and Three Pines have been wrung out like a wet sponge. I got the feeling several times that Penny is writing her "default" setting with this series. I honestly feel like it's wasting her talents. 6. Most series drag on too long. There's a fine line (or not) between exploring and re-exploring the same characters/relationships, watching them change and grow. At some point, it's done. You know a series is still working when you return to that world and it's like putting on a favorite snuggly cardigan and going along for a wonderful adventure with "friends." I didn't get that feeling this time. My friends felt flat and almost cartoonish. The mystery became predictable and underwhelming. Even Gamache, who is one of my all-time favorite characters, was missing something. Overall grade for KINGDOM OF THE BLIND: Disappointed. Here's hoping Louise Penny tries something new and different soon. I would really like to see that happen! Signing off from Watsonville, Penny/Nina

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Penny continues to show her incredible mastery -- whereas so many series would have long begun to disappoint by book 14, the Three Pines/Gamache series just keeps getting better and better. In KINGDOM OF THE BLIND, we have the storylines of the continuing investigation (and suspension) of Gamache following the incidents of GLASS HOUSES, the hunt for the drugs the Surete failed to capture at the end of that last book, and the curious events surrounding Gamache and Myrna being asked to be liquidat Penny continues to show her incredible mastery -- whereas so many series would have long begun to disappoint by book 14, the Three Pines/Gamache series just keeps getting better and better. In KINGDOM OF THE BLIND, we have the storylines of the continuing investigation (and suspension) of Gamache following the incidents of GLASS HOUSES, the hunt for the drugs the Surete failed to capture at the end of that last book, and the curious events surrounding Gamache and Myrna being asked to be liquidators (or executors) of a will for a woman neither of them knew. To keep these multiple storylines in balance and full of intrigue: that's one of the reasons why the Gamache series is such a pleasure. Longtime fans know that what sets the books in this series apart is the unique combination of Penny's skill at writing incredible, real characters that readers feel they truly know; the way in which she captures the spirit of southern Quebec and Montreal's surroundings, inviting us into small towns, bistros, and homes, sharing the spirit of friendship, family, and food, without seeming the least bit trite; and the complex mysteries that hinge often only on a small detail that would seem forced in the hands of someone less talented. Each of the last several books has ended in such a way that I couldn't help but wonder if it would be our last adventure with Gamache, and this is no exception. I both shudder to think of the series ending and having the book I've just finished be the last and also hope each time Gamache will be honored in perpetuity by the fantastic story I have just read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    4.5 stars! I always open a new book by Louise Penny with joy. This is the 14th book in her 3 Pines series and have read them all. She has a unique style of writing which I am unable to compare with books by any other author. I enjoy the conversations which are sometimes infused by a sly sense of humour. There is mystery, often murder, action, and characters so well developed it is like visiting old friends. The books feature Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, his police officers and the village of 4.5 stars! I always open a new book by Louise Penny with joy. This is the 14th book in her 3 Pines series and have read them all. She has a unique style of writing which I am unable to compare with books by any other author. I enjoy the conversations which are sometimes infused by a sly sense of humour. There is mystery, often murder, action, and characters so well developed it is like visiting old friends. The books feature Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, his police officers and the village of 3 Pines. The author has an amazing ability in establishing a sense of place. The atmospheric description makes the fictional village seem real. I not only want to visit, but I also want to live there, even while being aware of the frequent murders. I want to eat at Gabe and Oliver’s gourmet Bistro, browse through Myrna’s bookstore, view Clara’s paintings and even listen to the foul-mouthed Ruth reciting her poetry. The author is a lyrical, visual writer with a great talent in conveying emotion. I was disappointed with books #10 and 11 in the series, I am glad to say that she is back in great form with her latest three books. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has been suspended after a drug operation he conducted went horribly wrong. After a raid, some very deadly drugs went missing in Montreal and have not surfaced yet or been recovered. Thousands of users may die. Gamache is desperate to find them before they circulate. Gamache, Myrna and a young man, Benedict, from Montreal have been brought together to litigate the will of an addled old woman who died near 3 Pines. They find this very strange as none of them had heard of her. The woman had worked as a cleaning lady and insisted on being called Baroness. She left a huge fortune to her three adult children which is dismissed as a delusion. The Baroness lived in a crumbling old house. Benedict, who calls himself a builder, is trapped in the house when it collapses. He is rescued by Myrna, Gamache, Inspector Jean-Claude, and the snowplow operator who are all endangered in a second collapse. A body is found among the ruins, and the victim had been murdered. This leads to several threads in a murder investigation. There is a complicated investigation involving a huge case of embezzlement in the money market and hidden funds. Alongside there is a plot involving a 130-year-old inheritance which began prior to the two World Wars in Austria and caused a series of lawsuits and hatred between two branches of a family. This was never resolved and the inheritance vanished through time and history. I was sorry that so much of the story took place in Montreal, rather than with the intriguing characters in 3 Pines. In a previous book Gamache, newly on suspension from his duties, worked as Commander of the Sûreté Academy which trained police officers. He accepted the cadet Amelia although she had a history of drug abuse and prostitution. She was tattooed, rough speaking, and had body piercings. She proved herself as an intelligent, resourceful officer and I hoped we would see her again in the books. She shows up again here. This was the plot which interested me the most. Some drugs were found in her possession and there was a hearing where she appeared to be under the influence. Gamache has her dismissed from the police force and thrown out onto the mean streets of Montreal. She has no choice but to return to the old criminals, drug addicts and prostitutes and homeless people which made up her previous life. This plot had a surprising outcome. The book ended nicely with all the mysteries resolved, but some statements have been decided to be either truthful or lies and left as such. This is especially the conclusion in regards to Benedict and his Montreal girlfriend. I want to see more of Gamache and his family, even when it seems some of his family members will be absent in the next book. I hope there will be some clarification regarding Gamache's position in the police force as I think he is not ready for the quiet life of retirement yet. I want to see more of the people who live in 3 Pines as I have come to regard them as old friends. 4.5 stars!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Hill

    Do yourself a favor and start at the beginning of this remarkable series (with Still Life). I thoroughly enjoyed this book - as I have the entire Gamache series - but it definitely marks a change in the narrative arc of the story. If you've invested in the other books in the series, the end of this novel will pack an emotional wallop!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joe Jones

    If you have read this far into the series you know what to expect. Louise Penny is one of those authors who I will put down any book I am currently reading to start hers. She never disappoints and this was not the exception! Get this as soon as you can!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I fell in love with Armand many years ago, and I just can’t get enough of him! Superintendant Armand Gamache is still on suspension from his position at the head of the Sûreté du Québec, but that doesn’t prevent him and his trusty sidekicks, Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste, from setting out to solve the latest murder investigation and clear up some serious loose ends from the last book. I find it amusing to pick up on clues and read on to find out if I’m right. But of course, it is never t I fell in love with Armand many years ago, and I just can’t get enough of him! Superintendant Armand Gamache is still on suspension from his position at the head of the Sûreté du Québec, but that doesn’t prevent him and his trusty sidekicks, Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste, from setting out to solve the latest murder investigation and clear up some serious loose ends from the last book. I find it amusing to pick up on clues and read on to find out if I’m right. But of course, it is never that simple… Actually, I think the biggest appeal, for me anyway, is not the murder investigation, but the quirky characters of Three Pines who won my affection from the start. They are so well developed that I feel I am almost acquainted with them. Or I’d certainly like to be. Black psychologist turned bookshop owner, Myrna takes a more important place in the story this time, and I am glad, because she is such an interesting character. Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series is one of my two all-time favourites (the other one is Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid & James series). This latest novel, “Kingdom of the Blind” (#14), is every bit as captivating as its predecessors and definitely deserves a five star rating. Many thanks to Little, Brown Book Group and NetGalley for allowing me to read this before publication.

  14. 4 out of 5

    BookGypsy

    Armand Gamache receives a strange letter that is one of the executors of a will from a person he doesn't even know. The will is strange and bizarre even ts happen. A body is found and Armand has personal issue of his own that taunt him. This is very thought provoking. Dark and gets more dark as you read it. Everything I expected from a Lousie Penny novel. I enjoyed this so much. Dawnny Ruby-BookGypsy Novels N Latte Book Blog Novels & Latte Book Club Hudson Valley NY

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    Objectively, this isn't one of the best of Penny's wonderful series but given the disruptions in her private life, we're lucky to have it at all... After an uncharacteristically slow start, things start to knit together more smoothly in a complicated case of contested wills, financial fraud and murder. Less successful, is the side-story left over from the previous books, and the final resolutions have a valedictory air. As ever, Three Pines is as much a character as any of the people and remains Objectively, this isn't one of the best of Penny's wonderful series but given the disruptions in her private life, we're lucky to have it at all... After an uncharacteristically slow start, things start to knit together more smoothly in a complicated case of contested wills, financial fraud and murder. Less successful, is the side-story left over from the previous books, and the final resolutions have a valedictory air. As ever, Three Pines is as much a character as any of the people and remains an oasis of warmth, love, friendship and sanctuary. Old favourites perhaps play a more minor role than before and no-one even seems to go into the bistro - though the food is as delicious-sounding as ever, and Gabri gets some great lines! The series may have peaked earlier with all tension resolved around our protagonists, but this remains gripping and clever. More importantly, in our increasingly toxic world of division, hatred and poisonous rhetoric, Penny's vision is one of positive community and the celebratory embracing of difference. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC via NetGalley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    These books are ones you want to hurry through to find out what happens, and then should probably read again slowly to enjoy the writing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Lamont

    Well, it's not often that I finish a fiction book and immediately google the *DEA and a certain drug, but by golly I did this time. Scary, scary stuff -- and major props to Ms Penny for always being ahead of the curve on whatever's really going on out there regarding the latest in getting high/hooked/dead. Now, that said, I'm going to pick nits. I'm entitled, right, as a longtime reader? Loyal dissent and such. (Yes I have read the entire series to date.) First, that whole "the junkies and trannie Well, it's not often that I finish a fiction book and immediately google the *DEA and a certain drug, but by golly I did this time. Scary, scary stuff -- and major props to Ms Penny for always being ahead of the curve on whatever's really going on out there regarding the latest in getting high/hooked/dead. Now, that said, I'm going to pick nits. I'm entitled, right, as a longtime reader? Loyal dissent and such. (Yes I have read the entire series to date.) First, that whole "the junkies and trannies and whores" phrase went from being a thoughtful insight to a repetitive conceit. A condescending, repetitive conceit. Which is not like Our Louise. So I'm really puzzled by it (or maybe I'm just puzzled by my reaction to it?). To the point where two hours later I'm still actively troubled. Second, I figured just about everything out about the plot/s way early on. Usually, that doesn't happen with this author's books. Part of me wants to say, "Give her a break, she wrote this in the near-immediate aftermath of her husband's death." And the other part of me, with whom you'd like to drink wine but not coffee, thinks all manner of snarky thoughts about plots and character development being stunted/rehashed and the like. Having said all that, it comes down to this: If Louise Penny were to write another Armand Gamache book I would read it. In. A. Heartbeat. So why won't Goodreads let me give it 3.5 stars? Also? She really sums up everything better than I could myself (in the Acknowledgements section): "I realized, too, that the books are far more than Michael. Far more than Gamache. They're the common yearning for community. For belonging. They're about kindness, acceptance. Gratitude. They're not so much about death, as life. And the consequences of the choices we make." Yep. Take me to Three Pines, please. Just not in the winter. * https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/20...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Oh my, I need to go back and re-read the whole series. This book feels like a culmination of all of the 13 books that came before it, and I wanted to remember them in more detail than I do. All that aside, this book is powerful. Gamache and Myrna discover that they have been named the executors of the will of a woman they do not remember meeting, along with a carpenter from Montreal. The book opens as the meet at an abandoned farmhouse for the reading of the will. Meanwhile, Jean-Guy Beauvoir who Oh my, I need to go back and re-read the whole series. This book feels like a culmination of all of the 13 books that came before it, and I wanted to remember them in more detail than I do. All that aside, this book is powerful. Gamache and Myrna discover that they have been named the executors of the will of a woman they do not remember meeting, along with a carpenter from Montreal. The book opens as the meet at an abandoned farmhouse for the reading of the will. Meanwhile, Jean-Guy Beauvoir who is acting head of the homicide division of the Surete, is under pressure by a group investigating Gamache for the release of drugs by Gamache. We're not sure what they are pressuring Jean-Guy to do, but he is resisting. And then there is a murder (but you knew that, didn't you). But that's just one of the plot threads in this complex novel. There wasn't as much of the plot set in Three Pines as usual, since the murder didn't take place there, but we doe see a lot of Myrna, Clara, Ruth, Gabri & Olivier. The characters in this series are one of the things I love about the books. The tone felt darker than some of Penny's other books, but Gamache is still kind (well, mostly). Another excellent book from Louise Penny.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    More like a 4.5; could not quite give it a 5, much as I love Louise Penny and think she can do no wrong. I was in a reading slump - nothing was holding my interest - and then someone gave me an ARC of Kingdom of the Blind. Goodbye reading slump - could not put it down, as usual. Her books make me laugh, make me cry, make me think, make me smile, make me roll my eyes, make me marvel at her way with words and her observations about life and everything else... they are the full package. Perhaps whe More like a 4.5; could not quite give it a 5, much as I love Louise Penny and think she can do no wrong. I was in a reading slump - nothing was holding my interest - and then someone gave me an ARC of Kingdom of the Blind. Goodbye reading slump - could not put it down, as usual. Her books make me laugh, make me cry, make me think, make me smile, make me roll my eyes, make me marvel at her way with words and her observations about life and everything else... they are the full package. Perhaps when the final version comes out I will move it up to a 5 - some small things might get tightened up. I always read her books at least twice, and she is the only author that I preorder the hardcover (and often the Kindle, too). After I read one of her books I am spoiled for a while, and have trouble reading other authors - so I often go back and reread one or two or more of her books. She is just amazing, and I hope she writes for a long time!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bloss ♡

    Louise Penny is an absolute treasure. I am chuffed beyond belief that we get another Gamache story!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of Kingdom of the Blind, the fourteenth novel to feature Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache of the Sûreté Québécoise. Gamache is suspended pending investigation after perceived errors in a previous case when he receives word that he, fellow Three Pines resident Myrna Landers and carpenter Benedict Pouliot have been named as liquidators (executors to us Brits) of Bertha Baumgartner’s estate. They are mystified as I would like to thank Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for an advance copy of Kingdom of the Blind, the fourteenth novel to feature Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache of the Sûreté Québécoise. Gamache is suspended pending investigation after perceived errors in a previous case when he receives word that he, fellow Three Pines resident Myrna Landers and carpenter Benedict Pouliot have been named as liquidators (executors to us Brits) of Bertha Baumgartner’s estate. They are mystified as none of them knew her and have no idea why they were named and even more mystified when the will is read. In the meantime Gamache’s protégée, Amelia Choquet has been dismissed from the police academy for drug dealing and is hell bent on revenge and self destruction. I thoroughly enjoyed Kingdom of the Blind which is the usual mixture of eccentric characterisation, secrets and twists. I must admit that I guessed a few of the twists before they were revealed but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the novel. I was hooked from the creepy beginning where Gamache meets a strange man with an unknown agenda (that certainly had my mind working overtime) to the last pages when most of the personal issues were resolved. It is a complicated read where nobody is revealing all they know, after all, in the kingdom of the blind the one eyed man is king, so it requires concentration to keep it all in context, especially as Ms Penny has an elliptical style, dropping hints and confirming nothing. I love the tone of the novel which is charming and folksy in Three Pines but has a much harder edge in Montreal, whether it is the crime, the politics, the social conditions or Gamache’s attitude. It’s like a compare and contrast assignment and yet it all flows naturally. Armand Gamache is a bit of an enigma to me, even after all these novels. He is kind and considerate but he is also a charismatic, hard man whom it is unwise to cross. That much is obvious but being a simple soul I struggle with his strategic thinking. He always seems to be not only several steps ahead of everyone else but has a plan in place. Do people like that really exist? The other characters are much as they usually are although there are changes in store for some of them which moves the series on. Kingdom of the Blind is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Kingdom of the Blind, the fourteenth novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by bestselling crime writer Louise Penny, is a compelling and exciting addition to what has become a fantastic crime series. Once again the chocolate-box village of Three Pines is as much a major part of the plot as the characters and I very much enjoyed returning to it. This is a complex, multilayered mystery that is gripping and held my interest from first page to last. However, because a running storyline Kingdom of the Blind, the fourteenth novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by bestselling crime writer Louise Penny, is a compelling and exciting addition to what has become a fantastic crime series. Once again the chocolate-box village of Three Pines is as much a major part of the plot as the characters and I very much enjoyed returning to it. This is a complex, multilayered mystery that is gripping and held my interest from first page to last. However, because a running storyline is featured alongside a self-contained one I would advise readers to grab the others before tackling this one. Gamache remains one of my favourite investigators and that's really saying something given I read an inordinate amount of books from this genre. He is a complicated, multifaceted and masterfully developed character who I have grown to love as he has evolved. As always the writing is incredible and draws you in from the outset, the characters believable and real and the plot exciting whilst packing an emotional punch. If you're a fan of intelligent mysteries then this is not to be missed. There's no doubt in my mind that Penny is a master of her craft. She makes subtle details that many authors would neglect an integral part of the story and her quirky characters and message regarding the importance of friendship, community and celebrating our individuality whilst not allowing our differences to divide us, is a one we are all in need of right now. A highly entertaining and wonderful must-read author and series. It fully deserves all the stars! Many thanks to Sphere for an ARC

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This was a very satisfying addition to the stories involving Three Pines residents. Anyone reading #13 in this series knows there is much to be resolved with Gamache still on suspension, including the prevention of drug distribution connected with that suspension. Interesting story that is more the focus of the book involves the will of a local cleaning woman known as the Baroness. The author's notes are heartwarming. I meant to add that this really is a great book to read in a snowstorm!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Wonderful visit with my friends from Three Pines. Just what I needed before my hectic holiday schedule begins.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beth Anne

    I received a free advance copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own. This is probably my favorite current detective series, and it always feels a bit like meeting up with friends I haven’t seen for a while to start one of these books. I made myself read slowly to savor the book in part, but also because of the way Penny always writes. Small details are important, and she takes such care as an author to be very purposeful with her characters, her setting, and all of the little I received a free advance copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions are my own. This is probably my favorite current detective series, and it always feels a bit like meeting up with friends I haven’t seen for a while to start one of these books. I made myself read slowly to savor the book in part, but also because of the way Penny always writes. Small details are important, and she takes such care as an author to be very purposeful with her characters, her setting, and all of the little details in between. This was not the strongest book in the series, especially on the heels of the previous two books which were both near the top of the series for me. But I always felt like these characters I love were in safe hands and that I trusted where Penny was taking me throughout.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana Blazsek

    I would like to preface by saying I love, love, love this series of books. After hearing about it on What Should I Read Next , book one happened to go on sale. And from there I was hooked. I put down all the books in less than a year. However, book 14 fell majorly flat for me. The dialogue felt forced and honestly repetitive. Even the dialogue between Armand and Jean-Guy did not feel as natural as it did in previous books. Glass Houses left off in a such an intense and wonderful place. I honestl I would like to preface by saying I love, love, love this series of books. After hearing about it on What Should I Read Next , book one happened to go on sale. And from there I was hooked. I put down all the books in less than a year. However, book 14 fell majorly flat for me. The dialogue felt forced and honestly repetitive. Even the dialogue between Armand and Jean-Guy did not feel as natural as it did in previous books. Glass Houses left off in a such an intense and wonderful place. I honestly think that could have been the last one in the series and readers could have gotten behind that. The plot here felt disjointed, and at times I wondered if we were ever getting back to the other story line of the narcotics that went onto the streets after GH. The "twist" for this story line was obvious and the ending was rushed and a bit too clean for me. Also, the beloved characters of Three Pines did not really even fit into the plot. They were there just to be there because they are loved. But they did not fit into either plot line in any way to either plot. The characters were misused and I did not find myself wanting to eat dinner with them as I normally do. But I must mention that in no way does Louise Penny's writing lack. Her prose is beautiful and I still would love to reside in a town similar to Three Pines. But I would love to see her channel herself into a different set of characters with a fresh start.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Conley

    There simply are not enough stars for this book. Each Gamache book has been better than the previous one and this one will be hard to top. The story goes light years beyond surpasses being a “crime” story. It may tell us more about Gamache and Jean Guy than any other book. I simply adore Louise Penny.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

    My favorite series and this one was read in two days, I just could not put it down. Two storylines going (still fallout from the drug network breakout as Gamache tries to recover all the drugs) but the one I particularly enjoyed was the front & center murder investigation that involves a very old will, dating back to Vienna in the 1800s. I know the series will continue but I wonder, after this one's resolution, in what direction? I'll definitely follow it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    All good writers have themes they like to re-explore and think through in many of their books. In Kingdom of the Blind Louise Penny returns to a theme that has long been of interest to her, that of the unreliability of mere appearances. The pleasant facade masking rot within. As she focuses thematically on the yin and yang of her characters and thoughts – at one point, Gamache thinks to himself “that conversation had gone both well and badly. Was comforting and nauseating. Successful and humilia All good writers have themes they like to re-explore and think through in many of their books. In Kingdom of the Blind Louise Penny returns to a theme that has long been of interest to her, that of the unreliability of mere appearances. The pleasant facade masking rot within. As she focuses thematically on the yin and yang of her characters and thoughts – at one point, Gamache thinks to himself “that conversation had gone both well and badly. Was comforting and nauseating. Successful and humiliating”, she forces the reader to examine his or her own preconceptions. And she forces the reader, while reading, to carefully consider each character as they are introduced onto the canvas of her story. This particular installment begins with Gamache and Myrna heading to an appointment at a rundown, secluded farmhouse near Three Pines, where they meet two strangers. One is a notary who is executing a will, and to the surprise of Gamache, Myrna and Benedict, a young builder from Montreal, they are the liquidators (in the states we’d refer to them as the executors) of a stranger’s will. The stranger, who called herself the Baroness, is eventually recalled by Ruth Zardo to have been a cleaning woman. Someone who is seen, but overlooked. She has left her three children fifteen million dollars, and there seems to be no possible way she has left them even fifteen dollars, much less fifteen million. The three children – two men and a woman – seem unfazed by their mother’s claims but neither do they expect to inherit anything other than the falling down house where they were raised. When one of the three is killed in an accident – or is it a murder? – the real investigation into the Baroness’ estate begins. Meanwhile Inspector Beauvoir is dealing with the fallout of Gamache’s final actions in the last book (Glass Houses), which released a large quantity of an incredibly powerful opioid onto the streets of Montreal. Gamache is suspended but desperately attempting to find the drugs before they hit the streets and start killing people. He’s also being asked to assist in the murder investigation by Inspector Beauvoir. In keeping with the theme of the novel, there are two metaphorical “streets” in the narrative. There’s the “street” of the financial world, where the Baronesses’ two sons are employed and where much of the murder mystery takes place; and there are the streets of Montreal, the ones populated by junkies, prostitutes and in general, the desperate and poor. Penny does not seem to find one “street” less important than the other, and I think that is her point. A junkie may have goodness hidden underneath, just as a financial broker may have evil hidden underneath the surface. ‘ Appearances don’t matter – at least to this author, though not always, alas, to the rest of the world – so keep that in mind as you read. As always all these themes are wrapped up in a well paced and plotted mystery that will have you flipping pages faster and faster as you reach the end of the book. This is another fine installment in one of the greatest mystery series being written at the moment.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Margene

    Kingdom of the Blind starts out with Gamache arriving at an old, neglected farmhouse. He is curious as to why he's been summoned and even more curious when Myrna arrives. This isn't the only mystery in Louise Penny's 14th Inspector Gamache novel. The other mystery has to do with the drugs Gamache had failed to stop from being released into the streets of Montreal at the end of Glass Houses, the last Louise Penny novel. The tension surrounding the horrific hunt for the drugs, the gut wrenching an Kingdom of the Blind starts out with Gamache arriving at an old, neglected farmhouse. He is curious as to why he's been summoned and even more curious when Myrna arrives. This isn't the only mystery in Louise Penny's 14th Inspector Gamache novel. The other mystery has to do with the drugs Gamache had failed to stop from being released into the streets of Montreal at the end of Glass Houses, the last Louise Penny novel. The tension surrounding the horrific hunt for the drugs, the gut wrenching and heart rending feelings Gamache has over his part in all that happens are well handled by Penny. The characters you've grown to love and know are true to form, perfectly drawn. Gamache is at his analytical finest, John Guy is solidly himself, and each character in turn does not disappoint. Your heart will be in your throat right until the last word and you'll be aching for the next Louise Penny mystery. I received an Advanced Readers copy of this book from Minotaur Books.

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