Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  7,054 Ratings  ·  1,241 Reviews
Glass Houses by Louise Penny download or read it online for free
Glass Houses by Louise Penny
When a mysterious figure appears on the village green on a cold November day in Three Pines, Armand Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, knows something is seriously wrong. Yet he does nothing. Legally, what can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

From the moment its shadow falls over Three Pines, Gamache suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. When it suddenly vanishes and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

In the early days of the investigation into the murder, and months later, as the trial for the accused begins in a Montreal courtroom on a steamy day in July, the Chief Superintendent continues to struggle with actions he’s set in motion, from which there is no going back. “This case began in a higher court,” he tells the judge, “and it’s going to end there.”

And regardless of the trial’s outcome, he must face his own conscience.

In her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

“Three Pines is a state of mind. When we choose tolerance over hate. Kindness over cruelty. Goodness over bullying. When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical. Then we live in Three Pines.”

“November was the transition month. A sort of purgatory. It was the cold damp breath between dying and death. Between fall and the dead of winter.”


No murder. No Gamache.

The Cobrador: A tall, hooded figure robed in the midnight hour of black takes its position in the village center of Three Pines. The chilled November wind swirls around this individual who neither moves nor gestures to another soul.

High in the Pyrenees in 1841 a cobrador's presence signified a debt to be collected. Who is the cobrador eyeing for the recompense of something owed? And is it in the vein of money due or a kettle of moral debt never repaid?

Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Surete du Quebec, is seated among his friends in the quiet window area of the cafe. He's already been out to confront the dark forboding figure who stands erect and wordless. No crime committed. No reason for arrest. At least, not today.

But when Reine-Marie Gamache, Armand's wife, discovers a body in the church basement, the village is met with a tidal wave of accusations that hit the wall over and over again. Who is responsible and does the trail lead to the cobrador? Is anyone safe from the guilt laid upon them for what they perceive as their own debts?

Louise Penny has more incredible story frames locked within her mind than there are grapes in the Tuscany countryside. Once again, she gathers the familiar Three Pines' hearts and brings them together entwined in a plot of murder, guilt, familiarity, historic trails, and the pursuit of law against the lawless.

Penny sets this stage with quite an original flavor. The story opens with Gamache on the stand in the heat of July being endlessly questioned about the murder that took place the previous November. We, the readers, do not know the individual held for this heinous act. She also weaves a secondary level of intrigue with Gamache and his son-in-law, Jean-Guy, monitoring a heavy duty drug bust involving the sale of opioids. The endless battle with drugs is one that forces Gamache to look into the dark eyes of nearing defeat. "Admitting you are afraid takes courage."

If you are a long time fan of the Gamache series or even if you have newly arrived, please savor Penny's words in the Author's Note. Her previous book, A Great Reckoning, is my favorite of all. But oh, dear reader, this one sits right alongside it. Louise Penny knows how to touch your inner spirit....because she's been there and continues to leave a lasting imprint that is timeless.

I received a copy of Glass Houses through NetGalley for an honest review. My sincere appreciation to Minotaur Books and to Louise Penny for the opportunity.
The less said the better since I don't want to give anything away, so my review will be very brief. 
I will say fans of this series will not be disappointed, this one may well be the best so far. A hard thing to accomplish in series of this length. Gamache will put everything on the line. Something old will be mixed with a current scourge in many countries, has reached epidemic proportions, and is hurting and has hurt many. Ruth, my favorite, and her duck get a somewhat larger role and more of her poetry is quoted. It will all come down to who did what where and who knew what when. So, so good, very suspenseful and as always the characters of Three Pines will pull together. There is after all a great deal of love in this little town and a great deal of good. Remember to read the afterward, it is poignant and awe inspiring.
5 🥐 🥐 🥐 🥐 🥐
So you’re a fan and you’re starting to get stressed.
How much longer can the author keep our hero sustainable?
Or perhaps you’re superstitious and thinking #13 could mean bad luck rather than a baker’s dozen.
How many murders can one small town suffer?
How many times can you enjoy a cafe au lait with a warm croissant dripping butter?
I know.
As long as she keeps writing we will continue to turn the pages and be hungry.

This one was exceptional, the best one yet; she’s taken it to a higher level—a higher love.
There was so much goodness inside, if it was a restaurant it would be awarded 3 Michelin stars. It even made me cry and that happens about as often as Ruth Zardo handing out a compliment.
Rest easy fans. In Three Pines the woods are lovely, dark and deep, and Armand Gamache has miles to go before he sleeps.
4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars.

It's that time of year again, Armand. Labour Day weekend, and we get to spend a couple of days together...

Last year, I went gaga over Louise Penny's annual dose of Armand Gamache and the folks in Three Pines. This year's fare was lovely, but I can't quite give it five stars because I didn't love the end. But, still, I remain a true fan, wishing I could stumble onto the village of Three Pines, have a croissant and cafe au lait at the bistro while meeting my favourite characters and trying not to blush when shaking Armand's hand -- and trying to keep out of death's path.

I absolutely loved the set up of this year's book. Starting in a court room in Montreal, with Armand as a witness, Penny depicts the minutiae of a trial dealing with a murder that took place several months earlier -- I love good courtroom dramas so this aspect of the book was a real treat for me. The story moves back and forth in time from the appearance of a strange dark figure in Three Pines, slowly revealing what happened after its appearance, while connecting those events to the tension of the trial in Montreal. The dark figure turns out to be a brilliant device. And Penny introduces a new character I really enjoyed -- Maureen Corriveau who is the judge presiding over the trial.

I can't say more about the plot because the way in which this one unfolds is masterful and it would be a shame to ruin the effect. I will only say that the only part I didn't love was how the end gets resolved. But my enthusiasm for this series is not in the least diminished. I continue to be awed by how Penny mixes great characters with interesting and important issues, always engaging my emotions, intellect and moral compass.

And, again this year, Penny managed to make me teary with her afterword. Her husband, Michael who is the model for Armand's personality, died of complications from Alzheimer's in September last year. She talks about him with such grace and love. I am awed that she was able to complete this book while grieving, and appreciate that writing is her escape.

So, Armand, I feel the fall coming. School starts tomorrow. It's Labour Day. It feels like it's time to pull my socks up and get back into the busy rhythm of work and home life. It's time to part once more. Thanks again for allowing me to spend time with you and your family in Three Pines this weekend. You've recharged my batteries. I'll see you next year, and in the meantime please make sure to get into more interesting trouble while keeping safe...
 "There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts." ~Gandhi

In this 13th book of Louise Penny’s “Inspector Gamache” series, the peaceful village of Three Pines is being threatened by something menacing. A tall figure stands still and silent in the village square wearing a black robe and black mask. Menacing just by virtue of its dark presence, like a personification of Death itself.

The stories of the cobrador of Spain tell of a person wearing dark clothing and a top hat following a debtor around until they are shamed into paying what is owed. The author adds a dimension to this and the figure in this story becomes one of Conscience rather than debt. A reminder that we all have, or should have, a conscience to guide us toward right action.

A group of friends is on their annual visit to the village and one of them is murdered. The majority of this well-paced novel unfolds during the trial of the murderer with flash backs to actual events elaborating on Chief Superintendent Gamache’s testimony in response to the Crown Prosecutor’s questions.

Armand Gamache is now the head of the entire Surete and in his capacity of Chief Superintendent he has launched a final battle strategy in the war on crime - specifically the drug cartels whose products directly feed into almost all other crimes. The risks he is taking are huge and there are no guarantees that things will work out according to plan.

This is one of Louise Penny’s best novels in the series so far – and that is saying something, as I have loved every one of them!

Unique to the series, Glass Houses opens with Armand Gamache on the witness stand giving evidence in a murder trial. It is July and the courtroom is stifling hot. His recounting of the events which led to a murder in Three Pines the previous November bring chills to those in the courtroom. Armand is often interrupted by the prosecuting attorney and his actions leading up to the murder are questioned. It becomes apparent to the judge that all is not as it appears. Gamache is a witness for the Crown. Why then is the Chief Crown Prosecutor baiting his own witness?

I admit to struggling with the opening format as scenes in the present fold into memories from the past. Once the story gets rolling and some new characters begin blending with the fabric that is Three Pines I had no trouble finding my place by the fire in the Bistro, fully engaged and eager to learn. And learn I did.

Glass Houses is a masterpiece. It is far more than a simple murder mystery. It is a work of art. We have the usual beautiful prose we’ve come to expect from novels penned by this author. She adds details and quotes which sent this reader off to research, hoping to understand, with deeper analysis, what is going on in the hearts and minds of the speakers. Penny doesn’t write over the heads of her readers. Instead she invites us to dig a little deeper into our own perceptions and our views of the human condition.

The author softens the deep and profound with moments of humour. When Gamache looks at his dog Henri he ponders how the dog keeps everything important in his heart and cookies in his head. The Three Pines gang slip into their expected roles and add light to what is often a very dark read. She refers to Ruth as “the verbal speed bump that was the old poet”.

So, what is this book about? As the title implies, can you criticize the bad qualities in others when your yourself are not perfect? Glass Houses looks at acts of conscience and acts of terror. The actions caused by fear over facts. It is impossible not to equate the fictional with our own current political realities. It makes for a powerful essay on the danger someone acting “in good conscience” can have on society.

It is a powerful read.

5 stars only scrapes the surface.

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