All the Devils Are Here – Louise Penny

I’ve certainly tried to enjoy Louise Penny but after 6 books (!)  spread apart by years, I now officially give up, convinced that this author is just not for me.  So many of my friend adore what are known as the Three Pines series and these books have had so many raving reviews on the various boards (Amazon, Audible, GoodReads) that I kept trying over the years. If these others liked the books so much what could be wrong?  I told myself that I must have gotten the wrong books. – nope – I don’t think that’s the problem.  

All the Devils are Here
By Louise Penny – 2020
Read by Robert Bathurst – 13h 59m
Rating –  3 (because I finished) / crime series 

This latest one seemed different and many said it was her best yet. Also, I thought it might be a nice escape from 2020 and all that entails.    

From the publisher:   
On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life. 

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded works of art. 

Yeah –  it’s “Three Pines Goes to Paris” where they find a complex international corporate crime to get into trouble with.  Taking your characters abroad is a common ploy used by the authors of series whose lead “detectives” have already solved too many murders in their small hometowns but the series is still strong

Gamache continues to be morally and intellectually superior even on the international scene.  He is also always loving and sensitive, even in the face of the current case when his beloved son exhibits intense rage, maybe hatred.    

The claustrophobic atmosphere of Three Pines and it’s artsy-quirky characters is gone, but the other characters here are flat. The superior Armand Gamache has brought the whole family and Armand is just as superior as he was in the tiny Three Pines. Reine Marie is okay but the rest of Armand’s doting entourage have not improved – but they’ve not got worse (I wasn’t really familiar with his sons.) 

Like most novels about Paris which are written for Americans/Canadians there are too many Parisian street names, food names, building names. Whatever will give a French atmosphere and it feels fake and very touristy. I love Patrick Modiano, Marion Barbery, and Michel Houellebecq and others who don’t need to do that because there’s a great story underneath the language.  The story here is so-so but it has a good ending.

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