Louise Penny, The Long Way Home

L-Pennywith an appreciation by Stephen Booth

1/55 signed and limited bound in leather bound collectors book with marbled papered sides

The crime fraternity has known for some time that the Canadian writer Louise Penny is a really big noise when it comes to captivating, thought-provoking and literate crime.  Peter Lovesey loved her books from when they were first published in 2005 and Colin Dexter is another big name that has told me she is a very good writer.   Her audience comes to grow with each book featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and a host of village residents of Three Pines, Quebec. This is her tenth novel.

The Long Way Home was a No 1 bestseller in North America – see the scan from the New York Times.

NY Times No 1 Bestseller

NY Times No 1 Bestseller

Anyone who read How the Light Gets In will love this follow-up. We get to see how all the characters are dealing with the aftermath of the previous story’s denouement…and follow them on a new journey.  Louise Penny writes about deep, emotional issues, yet makes her characters utterly sympathetic. I don’t want to give anything away so I will just say that, once into it this is a very satisfying next instalment in the totally addictive Gamache series.

Synopsis: 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 neighbour 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.

Stephen Booth, is the creator of two young Derbyshire police detectives, DS Ben Cooper and DS Diane Fry, who have so Stephen-Boothfar appeared in 13 crime novels, all set in and around England’s Peak District.  These novels are well received in the US and Stephen has a growing following.  We are delighted he accepted our invitation to write an appreciation of Louise Penny for this edition.


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