Summary: The threat running through most of this series comes to a head.
The Inspector Gamache series is a traditional murder mystery series. Every book, Chief Homicide inspector Gamache and his team respond to a murder and attempt to solve it.
But through most of the series there is a subplot about corruption within the police force. Gamache is against the corruption, but the bureaucracy is infused with it and that corruption wants Gamache out.
Gamache’s number two, a man Gamache thinks of as friend and son more than anything else, has turned against Gamache fully. Beauvoir, addicted to pain killers, and being psychologically bullied by other officers to turn against Gamache. Those against Gamache, whoever they ultimately are, are hoping that this final straw will push Gamache out.
The central murder of the book is based on a real story. (This is based on the Wikipedia entry). In 1934 there were naturally born Quintuplets born to a poor farm family in Canada. The girls were removed from their family by the state and essentially put on display for tourists to visit. Approximately 3 million visitors came to see them between 1936 and 1943 and they were the largest tourist attraction in Ontario, including Niagara Falls. Two of the sisters are still alive.
In the book, the last remaining Quint is murdered and Gamache, while trying to find out what is really going on with the corruption in the police force, also tries to solve the murder.
There is a finality about this book. Virtually everything is wrapped up in one way or another and it would be a natural place for the series to end. But there is one more book published and another that will be released in the fall.
Gamache’s weaknesses are on full display here. Even those closest to him are not sure that he has not lost his edge and/or is not able to let others in enough to help him.
I am satisfied with the ending and in some ways think this should be the ending of the series. The next book is one of the lower rated books in the series and I think I will take a bit of a break before reading it. (Although from reading some of the reviews at least some of the low rating seems to be about the change shift in the story, not the actual story itself.)