Summary: Gamache, Myrna and a guy neither of them knows, are called to be executors of a will for someone that none of them knows.
I am a huge fan of Louise Penny’s Gamache novels. Not all of them are perfect, but 14 books in, three of the five best books in the series are the most recent three books. That is impressive.
Part of what I like about the Gamache books is that they are about things. There is a mystery, The plot revolves around the mystery. But there is more to the books than just the mystery. There are ongoing characters. Those characters are smart, thoughtful, morally complex, flawed and generally likable.
The main theme moral question for the past several books has been around the idea of when it is acceptable to do morally and ethically questionable things, for a greater good. This is spoiler-y if you have not read the previous books, but in the last book, Gamache let drugs into the country so that he could lure in the higher up in the drug organizations and shut them down. He wanted to deal a fatal blow to the whole drug infrastructure. But in the process more drugs came into the country and some communities were harmed. Because of his unauthorized operation (because he was at the same time still smoking out dirty cops and politicians), he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
It is during that leave that the book opens. Gamache, and separately Myrna, are invited to an abandoned farmhouse. They are met by a notary (in Canada this includes writing and administering wills) who introduces them to a third person and tells them they are named as executors of a will.
The deceased has some very odd terms to her will. And that leads to investigations. At the same time Gamache is still working to get back all of the drugs that came in from the previous book, including a very deadly opioid. And a body shows up leading to an investigations. These three threads of the story weave together yet another excellent mystery.
There is a good bit of real humanity here. Even though some the mystery aspects seem a bit less than real, what draws me in are the people and the ideas, not the accuracy of the action sequences.
I have both read and listened to this series. Mostly I have listened and that is what I did here. The narrator is excellent (the first narrator of the series passed away and a second narrator took over.) I have thought the series came to a nice conclusion in previous books. But the series continued when I thought it would not. So I am not sure here. It again, feels like a series conclusions. But if she wants to, I am sure she can figure out how to keep the series moving along.