Kingdom of the Blind

Kingdom of the Blind

by Louise Penny

Overview: When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder. None of them had ever met the elderly woman.

The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane? When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing. But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.

The investigation into what happened six months ago—the events that led to his suspension—has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception. Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers. As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.

Deanna Boe (08/02/19): I am always happy when I accidentally stumble upon a book by an author I have liked in the past and not found for awhile. I discovered there had, unfortunately, been a tragedy in Penny’s life, and thus the reason for the silence. Her readers, I am sure, are pleased she has been able to return to her writing, which is not only good for us, but also for her. Louise Penny actually lives in a village close to Montreal, Canada, which enables her to create, for our enjoyment, a wonderfully close-knit community in Quebec called Three Pines.

The main character is Armand Gamache, who was the former head of the Surete du Quebec, and is now on leave due to a previous problem he was involved in as told in her last book. Gamache is named as an executor in a will to a woman who is a complete stranger to him. Why would she do this? Ironically he finds out there are two other people who also claim they do not know this woman, and are also named as executors to this will. Gamache knows the other woman, Myrna Landers, who is a book seller in their village, but does not know the other young man at all. He happens to be a struggling builder; obviously they have nothing in common.

The woman who died claims she was a Baroness, a title she insists goes back to the late 1800’s and has been tied up in litigation ever since. She has three children who are all named equally in her will so there doesn’t seem to be a problem until one of them turns up dead. It is only as the storyline progresses that we discover there is a connection between the young builder and a possible connection to the will. This is not the only storyline to the book. We also continue with the problem of Gamache’s from the last novel, opioids which Gamache had somehow allowed to slip through his control. Would they be able to regain control of them before they spread throughout Montreal? This problem includes a young lady that Gamache had gone to bat previously to be a policeman and he now insists she be kicked out of the training. Was she guilty as described?

As usual, this is a well-written mystery, with characters you would enjoy knowing yourself. I can only hope there are more by this author.
Rating: ****


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