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Published September 16, 2020

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All the Devils Are Here
All the Devils Are Here
Chief Inspector Gamache #16
by Louise Penny

Hardcover (1 Sep 2020), 448 pages.
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN-13: 9781250145239
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The 16th novel by #1 bestselling author Louise Penny finds Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec investigating a sinister plot in the City of Light.

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand's godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man's life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen's possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d'Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand's godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen's Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

Coming Soon.

Excerpted from All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny. Copyright © 2020 by Louise Penny. Excerpted by permission of Minotaur Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Louise Penny takes readers to Paris in her latest Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery, a novel with appeal for fans of the series and first-time readers alike.

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In Louise Penny's All the Devils Are Here, the 16th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, readers find Gamache and his wife, Reine-Marie, in Paris for the imminent birth of their fourth grandchild. Celebrating with them are their two adult children and their spouses (all of whom are now living in France), as well as Gamache's godfather, 93-year-old billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Meeting Stephen in the garden of the Musée Rodin, Gamache is concerned by a few strange comments the elderly man makes, but decides they're simply age-related lapses. When Stephen is struck by a hit-and-run driver, though, Gamache becomes certain that his remarks were no accident — and neither was the attempt on his life. Leveraging his connections within the Paris police force, Gamache proceeds to delve into the mystery: What could Stephen possibly have been involved with that would incite someone to murder?

Penny's approach is tried and true — there's a reason there are 16 books in the series, after all. Slipping into an Inspector Gamache mystery can be like putting on a comfy sweater (in spite of the occasional dead body showing up), and this one's no different in that respect; it feels familiar and cozy, and devotees of the series won't be disappointed.

The novel is, however, a departure from the previous entries in a number of ways. First and most obvious is the fact that the book's setting is Paris, not Three Pines, Canada with its beloved quirky residents and isolated, old-fashioned ambiance. Some may find they miss the characters that are as much a part of the series as Gamache, but for these loyal readers the author throws in the occasional "Easter egg" — even Ruth Zardo's duck Rosa gets a mention. The move is a good one on Penny's part; fans are likely to work through any disappointment they feel in the omission, while those new to the series will find the simplification of the back story makes the book a much better entry point than most of her earlier works.

Another change is Penny's emphasis on Gamache's family. The author's mysteries have always been character-driven, but this is the first time the action has revolved so entirely around the Gamache clan. While Reine-Marie and Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Gamache's second-in-command and son-in-law) are staple characters in the other books, and the inspector's children Annie and Daniel have also made appearances, this is the first time that Gamache's relationships with family members — and with Daniel in particular — have played such a central, key part in the narrative. As a result of this and other plot elements, we learn much more about Gamache's past than has been revealed previously.

Last but not least among the book's differences is the faster tempo. Because the author doesn't have to spend a lot of time re-introducing her Three Pines characters, the novel's pacing is considerably tighter than in many of the other offerings in the series. The mystery that drives events becomes apparent early on, and some very entertaining action scenes make All the Devils Are Here more of a page-turner.

However, the novel does have its shortcomings. Gamache is, of course, always Gamache — too perfect, too likeable, too calm. Penny tries to combat this a bit by actually having him lose his polished façade once or twice over the course of the book, but generally he remains the stoic Chief Inspector and loving family man we've seen so often. Additionally, some aspects of the story seem unlikely. Gamache is permitted to take part in the investigation even though he's a close friend of the victim, never mind from another country and, as the plot thickens, a potential suspect. I found myself questioning if, in real life, professional courtesy would extend that far. Each member of Gamache's family is also put in the perfect position to aid him in his quest — they have the right contacts or professional access to critical information — which struck me as improbable. And finally, when all's said and done, I'm not sure I bought into various characters' motivations as they become apparent at the novel's denouement (the conclusion is rather complex, but that's not unusual for the series). While I couldn't completely overlook these complaints, overall I found that I didn't mind the book's failings, and I doubt that they'll concern the majority of Penny's readers.

All the Devils Are Here is a fun-filled, exciting read, perhaps Penny's best work to date and perfect escapism for mystery lovers. It's sure to please both the author's ardent fans as well as those new to the series.

Reviewed by Kim Kovacs

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
As always, Penny's mystery is meticulously constructed and reveals hard truths about the hidden workings of the world...If you're new to Penny's world, this would be a great place to jump in. Then go back and start the series from the beginning.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[E]xceptional...Penny's nuanced exploration of the human spirit continues to distinguish this brilliant series.

Booklist (starred review)
Series devotees will revel in both Penny's evocation of Paris—every bit as sumptuous as her rendering of Three Pines—and in the increased role she allots to librarian Reine-Marie, whose research skills are crucial to untying the Gordian knot at the mystery's core.

Library Journal (starred review)
The strengths of this latest procedural from the inimitable Penny will attract her longtime fans and also draw in new admirers. A deft touch with plotting, sensitive characterization, and the author’s warmth and humanity make this a must-have mystery, especially for collections owning the rest of series.

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Scotlass
Another Louise Penny treasure
I eagerly await each Louise Penny book because her characters are fascinating, the settings are rich in description and enthralled the senses, and the plots are fast paced, twisting, and enthralling. This new book All the Devil’s are Here is one of the best in the Armand Gamache series. The book centers around family with love, misunderstandings, secrets, and bravery all mixed in in good measure. Great read, I just wish it was longer. (But then, I always do!)

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by CarolT
Louise spoils me
As always, Louise has spoiled me for the next few novels - or books of any type - I try to read. If only I could write like this!

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by lani
A new look at the Gamache family
I have loved all of Penny's books about Chief Inspector Gamache and the quirky inhabitants of Three Pines. When I read these books it felt like I was coming home, sitting at my desk with a cold beer on a hot day. Set in Paris this novel takes a different tack. The whole Gamache family is in Paris and his daughter is about to give birth. His godfather Stephen meets him in Rodin's garden but delivers some quirky comments. It turns out that those declarations would prove to unlock a sizable mystery. The plot felt much more involved and accelerated from her previous books, as the others were characterized by a languid gait. Stephen is hit by a hit-and-run driver and another person is found dead in his quarters. Uncovering the multilayered plot becomes the central issue of the book with an emphasis on family love, togetherness, and actions based on miscommunication. I really enjoyed it, but kept missing the old folks back home. However, that is not a criticism of the book at all. It is just Penny's ability to make one so involved with the characters that you ache when they are not there.

Print Article Publisher's View  

The Musée Rodin

The Thinker, Musée Rodin Several important scenes in Louise Penny's mystery, All the Devils Are Here, take place in the gardens of the Musée Rodin. Located in Paris, just south of the River Seine and about a mile east of the Eiffel Tower, the museum and its grounds boast thousands of Auguste Rodin's sculptures, casts and drawings, as well as thousands of works of art the sculptor accumulated throughout his life. It is open to the public and records over 700,000 visits annually. Rodin's most famous works — The Burghers of Calais, The Gates of Hell, The Kiss, The Thinker — can be found here.

The building where the museum is located started out as a mansion built for French banker Abraham Peyrenc de Moras. It was designed and constructed by the chief architect to the King of France, Jean Aubert, and was completed in 1732, although Peyrenc didn't live long enough to reside in it. It is a magnificent structure; according to the museum's web site, it remains "a shining example of the rocaille architecture that was fashionable at this time." Peyrenc chose the site because its location in Paris would allow it to be used as a town house, while the estate was large enough to feel like a rural escape (the grounds alone are over 300,000 square feet). Peyrenc's widow rented out the property after her husband's death and later sold it to Louis-Antoine de Gontaut-Biron, from whom the mansion got its current name: the Hôtel Biron. (In this case, "Hôtel" refers to a "hôtel particulier," or a type of luxury town house.) Biron went about improving the grounds around the manor, ultimately creating one of the best-known gardens in Paris. Descriptions and engravings from 1776 and 1778 confirm that Biron doubled the size of the ornamental gardens (designed in the classical French style), developed part of the land into an English-style garden and had a large circular pool added.

After Biron's death, the grounds were occupied by various tenants before being sold in their entirety in 1820 to three nuns, one of whom was the Reverend Mother Madeleine-Louise-Sophie Barat. Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a religious congregation for women that gradually converted the mansion to a girls' boarding school, selling off the building's decoration (including the woodwork and ironwork) to help fund the institution. The surrounding land was transformed as well; the ornamental gardens were turned into a large kitchen garden, the grounds became pastureland and orchards, and the circular pool was filled in to become the base of a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Structures were added over the decades, including a chapel designed by renowned architect Jean Juste Gustave Lisch, completed in 1876.

In 1904, the sisters were evicted due to laws enforcing the separation of religious and educational institutions, and the mansion was divided up into apartments, many of which were rented by the artistic elite of the day, such as painter Henri Matisse and dancer Isadora Duncan. Rodin moved into the building in 1908, first renting four rooms on the ground floor that opened onto a terrace. By 1911 he had expanded his occupancy, becoming the sole resident. When the mansion was sold to the French government, which intended to turn it into a secondary school, Rodin proposed the following:

I give the State all my works in plaster, marble, bronze and stone, and my drawings, as well as the collection of antiquities that I had such pleasure in assembling for the education and training of artists and workers. And I ask the State to keep all these collections in the Hôtel Biron, which will be the Musée Rodin, reserving the right to reside there all my life.

His scheme was officially adopted in 1916 and the museum opened in 1919, two years after the artist's death. The Hôtel Biron was listed as a historical monument in 1926, and both it and the grounds have undergone extensive restoration work since, as well as renovations to make it more tourist-friendly.

Auguste Rodin's The Thinker (Le Penseur), Jardin du Musée Rodin, by Yair Haklai on March 31, 2007

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

By Kim Kovacs

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