The morning after the village of Three Pines throws a big party to celebrate Clara Morrow’s show at the prestigious Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montreal, the body of a murdered woman is found in Clara’s garden. The body turns out to be that of Clara’s childhood friend Lillian Dyson, whom she has not seen in more than 20 years.
Clara’s friendship with Dyson was broken because Dyson cruelly betrayed her in art school. This puts Clara on the list of suspects. However, as Inspector Gamache’s team investigates Dyson, they find that she has a reputation for doing harm to others by trying to ruin their careers in art, providing a broad field of suspects, especially after a party celebrating an art debut.
On the other hand, Dyson is viewed completely differently by her new circle of acquaintances, which leads Inspector Gamache to wonder if people can really change their natures. Eventually, the police realize that Dyson was on a 12-step program and that she was probably intending to ask forgiveness of one of the people at the party.
On another front, Clara seems to be headed toward trouble in her marriage. Although her husband Peter has been happy with his own moderately successful career in the art field, now that Clara may be proving to be more talented than he is, he is becoming jealous and insecure.
Although this mystery has Penny’s usual hallmarks of beautiful description and insight into people’s characters, I do not like where the plot involving Jean Guy Beauvoir is going. Also, I thought it took the police an awfully long time to figure out about the 12-step program.