Summary and book reviews of Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Bury Your Dead

A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, #6

By Louise Penny

Bury Your Dead
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2010,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2011,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society - where an obsessive historian's quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?

Although he is supposed to be on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smoldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he is receiving disquieting letters from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. "It doesn't make sense," Olivier’s partner writes every day. "He didn't do it, you know." As past and present collide in this astonishing novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead.

ONE

Up the stairs they raced, taking them two at a time, trying to be as quiet as possible. Gamache struggled to keep his breathing steady, as though he was sitting at home, as though he had not a care in the world.

“Sir?” came the young voice over Gamache’s headphones.

“You must believe me, son. Nothing bad will happen to you.”

He hoped the young agent couldn’t hear the strain in his voice, the flattening as the Chief Inspector fought to keep his voice authoritative, certain.

“I believe you.”

They reached the landing. Inspector Beauvoir stopped, staring at his Chief. Gamache looked at his watch.

47 seconds.

Still time.

In his headphones the agent was telling him about the sunshine and how good it felt on his face.

The rest of the team made the landing, tactical vests in place, automatic weapons drawn, eyes sharp. Trained on the Chief. Beside him Inspector Beauvoir was also waiting for a decision. Which way? They were close. Within feet of their quarry.

...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. What are the three story lines, and how do they feed into each other? What are the connections?
  2. What do you think of the structure of the story, with the shifting time frames and points of view? How did the gradual unfolding of what really happened to Agent Morin and Chief Inspector Gamache affect your view of those events?
  3. How do you feel about the resolution of the crime in Three Pines?
  4. Why does the Battle of the Plains of Abraham have such an impact on Gamache?
  5. Both Gamache and Agent Morin greatly valued their relationships with their mentors, Emile Comeau and Gamache himself. Do you think they were right to do so?
  6. Does the relationship between the French and the English in...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

Bury Your Dead was a hit our First Impressions readers, garnering thumbs up from all 23 of them. Here's what some of them had to say:

Louise Penny's Gamache will remind readers of Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti. Like Leon's novels, Penny's depend on well-crafted characters and intricate plots rather than on violence and tough macho detectives (Carol G). Fans of a good mystery that keeps the reader engaged without resorting to gratuitous bloodshed will appreciate Bury Your Dead. The story is rich in characterization and setting, bringing to life tension between French and English interests in Quebec, the pain of an investigator dealing with loss of comrades, and the stark beauty of winter (Marta T). Murder mystery aficionados looking for more than a cozy or romantic mystery, who want to look into the depth of the human heart and its capacity to both wound and heal, would be well advised to look at Louise Penny's series (Nona F).   (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Gamache's excruciating grief over a wrong decision, Beauvoir's softening toward the unconventional, a plot twist so unexpected it's chilling, and a description of Quebec intriguing enough to make you book your next vacation there, all add up to a superior read.

Library Journal

Starred Review. Reminiscent of the works of Donna Leon, P.D. James, and Elizabeth George, this is brilliantly provocative and will appeal to fans of literary fiction, as well as to mystery lovers.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Increasingly ambitious in her plotting, she continues to create characters readers would want to meet in real life.

Booklist

Starred Review. Penny hits every note perfectly in what is one of the most elaborately constructed mysteries in years.

Reader Reviews
Maggie P. (Mount Airy, MD)

Bury Your Dead
"Bury Your Dead" grabbed me from the very beginning and kept me involved until the end. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, as he tries to recover from a previous incident, takes the reader on a tour of Old Quebec. Along the way, the reader learns ...   Read More

Alan K. (Westport, MA)

Bury Your Dead
Good characterization; excellent description of the many years-long stress and strife between the Quebecois and the Anglo Canadians; fun way to experience Quebec City; three mysteries solved ... all in all a fun book and, although part of a series, ...   Read More

Karen L. (Antelope, CA)

The best of the Three Pines mysteries
Author Louise Penny has hit a new high with "Bury Your Dead." Always strong with character development, in this book she also proves to be a skillful storyteller, with an intricate plot that comes together beautifully at the end. The author artfully ...   Read More

Jane R. (Plantation, FL)

I want to go to Quebec
I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more of Louise Penny's books. I liked the characters, but particularly liked the descriptions and history of Quebec. I will be planning a trip there soon - as soon as winter is over!

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Beyond the Book

Why Quebec Speaks French
The province of Quebec is Canada's second most populous province, after Ontario. It is the only Candian province to have French as its sole official language, and has a predominantly French speaking population with 4 out of 5 ranking French as their first language, and 95% able to speak it. Eight percent state that English is their first language, and about 40% claim to be bilingual in French and English. Most of the province's 7.5 million population live in urban areas near the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and the capital, Quebec.

Map showing QuebecSo, one might ask, how did the people of Quebec end up speaking French, when the rest of Canada has English as its official language?

The story starts in 1534, ...

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