Summary and book reviews of The Long Way Home by Louise Penny

The Long Way Home

A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, #10

by Louise Penny

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2014, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2015, 384 pages

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Book Summary

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. Until his neighbor seeks him out, when her artist husband fails to come home.

Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he'd only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. "There is a balm in Gilead," his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, "to make the wounded whole."

While Gamache doesn't talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache's help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. "There's power enough in Heaven," he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, "to cure a sin-sick soul." And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it the land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.  

ONE

As Clara Morrow approached, she wondered if he'd repeat the same small gesture he'd done every morning.

It was so tiny, so insignificant. So easy to ignore. The first time.

But why did Armand Gamache keep doing it?

Clara felt silly for even wondering. How could it matter? But for a man not given to secrets, this gesture had begun to look not simply secretive, but furtive. A benign act that seemed to yearn for a shadow to hide in.

And yet here he was in the full light of the new day, sitting on the bench Gilles Sandon had recently made and placed on the brow of the hill. Stretched out before Gamache were the mountains, rolling from Québec to Vermont, covered in thick forests. The Rivière Bella Bella wound between the mountains, a silver thread in the sunlight.

And, so easy to overlook when faced with such grandeur, the modest little village of Three Pines lay in the valley.

Armand was not hiding from view. But neither was he enjoying it. Instead, each ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

USA Today

A counterintuitive and absorbing mystery from a superb author.

The New York Times

Ms. Penny’s books mix some classic elements of the police procedural with a deep-delving psychology, as well as a sorrowful sense of the precarious nature of human goodness, and the persistence of its opposite, even in rural Edens like Three Pines.

Publishers Weekly

Perceptive... perfectly paced... Penny offers real insight into the evolution of artistic style as well as the envy that artists feel about each other's success... The prose is remarkable fresh, filled with illumination and delightful turns of phrase.

Kirkus Reviews

Penny develops the story behind Peter’s disappearance at a slow, masterful pace, revealing each layer of the mystery alongside an introspective glance at Gamache and his comrades, who can all sympathize with Peter’s search for purpose. The emotional depth accessed here is both a wonder and a joy to uncover.

Library Journal

Starred Review. As with all the author's other titles, Penny wraps her mystery around the history and personality of the people involved.

Booklist

Starred Review. Penny dexterously combines suspense with psychological drama, overlaying the whole with an all-powerful sense of landscape as a conduit to meaning...Another gem from the endlessly astonishing Penny.

Reader Reviews

Lorraine Rothbart

Another great Penny!
As always, the author delivers an entertaining mystery with her usual twists!

Beckyh

I should have read the others first!
This was my first Inspector Gamache novel and that was a mistake. I should have read the preceding novels first! Even at the end of the book I was still sure I was missing important nuances of plot , conversation and place. That said, I enjoyed this...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Why Quebec Speaks French

We did not write a featured review or beyond the book article of The Long Way Home so here is an earlier "Beyond the Book" written for Bury Your Dead. We also have a delightful article all about ducks for How The Light Gets In (#9).

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 ...

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