Series fiction is a tricky thing. Veer too far from what made the stories popular and fans will complain. Stick with what made the series popular too closely and even the fans will get bored.
So Louise Penny has been wise to approximately every other book move the crime away from Three Pines while still keeping the character development and the threaded storyline that runs through the series going.
A Trick of the Light returns the story to Three Pines. Clara, the most important of the Three Pines characters to the series is finally getting her first real gallery show to showcase her art. Nearly 50 years old, she has worked in obscurity on the edge of the art world and thought of as a lesser artist in comparison to her husband Peter. But the series has always understood that Clara is the better artist, just not recognized.
The murder occurs in Clara and Peter’s garden at an after party. The body is not discovered until the next day and dampens the celebration.
In addition to the murder, this book has a lot of character development for Clara. The murdered woman ends up being an old (but estranged) friend of Clara’s, Clara and Peter’s marriage hits some rocks because of Clara’s new promenince and Peter’s own issues. And Clara finally seems to be coming into her own.
Beauvoir’s (Gamache’s second in command) also continues to deal with some of his issues that were introduced in the last book but are not resolved in this book (or the next.)