In this second novel of the series, Inspector Gamache is investigating the death of an old bag lady when he is called back to Three Pines to solve the murder of a very unpleasant woman. C C de Poitiers is a minor celebrity who is poison in the village because she treats others so callously. Now she has met an unusual and complicated death, electrocuted while watching a curling game on the day after Christmas.
Gamache has lots of suspects, including the victim’s hen-pecked husband and her daughter, whom she continually heckled about her weight. But as he investigates, he finds that Poitiers was not who she said she was.
In an ongoing plot, Gamache’s career is threatened by an old case where he took down some crooked officers high in the force. He has two new members of his team, local agent Robert Lemieux and agent Yvette Nichol, taken on because he likes to mentor young officers. However, one of them is working for his enemies by helping them sabotage his career.
It is always a pleasure to return to Three Pines, and I like the generous Inspector Gamache. Apparently some readers who were charmed by the picturesque village in the first novel were disenchanted by this sequel, but a mystery series about murders in a small town is bound to affect the atmosphere of the location. My favorite of the series so far is actually the one that took place in Quebec City, and it’s hard to imagine how many more people Penny can kill off in this village, but I still enjoy the series.