Book Review: All The Devils are Here by Louise Penny

Posted October 28, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: All The Devils are Here by Louise Penny

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All The Devils are Here by Louise Penny
Genres: Mystery
Published by Minotaur Books on September 1, 2020
Pages: 443
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Still Life, A Fatal Grace, A Rule Against Murder, The Cruelest Month, The Brutal Telling, A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery, The Nature of the Beast, A Great Reckoning, Still Life, Kingdom of the Blind, A Better Man, Bury Your Dead , The Beautiful Mystery , How the Light Gets In , The Long Way Home , The Nature of the Beast , A Great Reckoning , Glass Houses

Sixteenth in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series and revolving around Armand Gamache and his family.

My Take

Ooh là là…it’s off to Paris for us. It begins with a look back at the day Armand proposed to Reine-Marie, a story that is told within the family with regularity. It continues with Armand remembering the horror of life after his parents were killed, and how his relationship with Stephen grounded him. The past pops up throughout the story, so much of it heartwarming with some of it quite sad.

One story that sings throughout is that of The Burghers of Calais, a sacrifice that began with Eustache de Saint-Pierre and echoes the sacrifices forced on Armand by the politicians.

Penny uses third person global subjective point-of-view, mainly from Gamache’s perspective. We also hear from Jean-Guy, Daniel, Dussault, Reine-Marie, and Stephen.

Hmmm, there’s an interesting theory on cologne and the effect the fragrance can have on coworkers. Less interesting is Fontaine’s attitude! Good lord. It is curious that her prejudice is the only one in the police that is exposed.

Whew, that’s quite the assignment Gossette hands Jean-Guy, and I’m feeling more bewildered than him.

We finally learn what triggered the impasse between the so-very-hostile Daniel and Armand, and it’s so sad what started it and how long the confusion lasted. It’s too bad it takes such a horror to make a change in it. And the hostility seems to be expanding to include Annie and Jean-Guy when Daniel reveals their plans to move house.

“If there was a trap to step into, Daniel would find it.”

As for the smear the bad guys are planning on Stephen…jesus… Armand is quite vehement in his defense of Stephen…and I gotta say the man’s history bears out Armand’s views.

Oh, lordy. That bill at the George V. They might need several kidneys to pay that bill.

Hoo, boy, there is so much negligence going on in All the Devils are Here. Criminal negligence, which raises so much suspicion. As for all the red herrings…oy… I have to agree with Monique about GHS’ board of directors. Not a one with any engineering experience.

I know Armand and Jean-Guy hate that video from How the Light Gets In, 9, but I think it helps save their lives.

There are a couple of things, though, that I don’t understand. Why Stephen had to sell everything and why Dussault’s mortgage is paid off and by who.

It’s a jagged blend of action and character with a pace to match as it slips back and forth in time.

At the end, Olivier manages to get in a swat at Gabri who wants a child too, lol. Phew…

“Don’t believe everything you think.”

The Story

Life is good. Armand is back at work, and the family is able to come together in Paris for the upcoming birth of Annie and Jean-Guy’s second child, another grandchild.

A pleasant dinner out at a favorite restaurant. A stroll to enjoy the night. And a deliberate hit-and-run that knocks down Stephen.

Gamache is determined to find out why, which only opens a vast array of questions. Questions that will pull in Jean-Guy’s own troubles and reveal secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

Questions that will make Armand wonder if he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

The Characters

Despite both retiring after How the Light Gets In, 9, Armand Gamache is back to being the head of Homicide. Reine-Marie is Armand’s loving wife, a librarian who had retired as head of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and is now a freelance researcher. Their children are Daniel, a banker in Paris, and the pregnant Annie. Daniel is married to Roslyn who works marketing in a design firm, and they have two children: Florence and Zora. Annie is a lawyer married to Jean-Guy Beauvoir, the former head of Homicide at the Sûreté du Québec in Montrél who now works in the private sector at GHS. They have a son, Honoré.

The ninety-three-year-old German Stephen Horowitz, JSPS, is Armand’s genuinely kind and openly ruthless godfather and a self-made billionaire is based in Montreal and has an apartment in the Seventh Arrondissement. Mrs Agnes McGillicuddy is Stephen’s longtime secretary and assistant who treats him like her son. Alexander Francis Plessner is a Canadian engineer investing in startups. Madame and Monsieur Faubourg are the caretakers of the building where Stephen has his apartment.

The original Zora had been Armand’s adopted grandmother who survived the camps in World War II and whose Parisian apartment Armand inherited.

GHS Engineering is…
…a multinational engineering firm based in La Défense in Paris where Jean-Guy heads up the new Quality Control department. Eugénie Roquebrune is the head of the company. Séverine Arbour is Jean-Guy’s snotty second, a brilliant engineer. Carole Gossette, a mechanical engineer, is Jean-Guy’s boss and the head of operations, who finally lets him know why they hired him. Thierry Girard is their current head of security; he had been Dussault’s second-in-command. Xavier Loiselle is a scary security guard. The board includes Annette Forrester Poppy, a former British Foreign Secretary, and Alain Flaubert Pinot, the son of an old family friend of Judith’s.

La Brigade criminelle is…
…the elite police unit in Paris. Claude Dussault is the Prefect of Police in Paris and an old friend of Armand’s who likes to play saxophone. He’s still based at the 36 (36, quai des Ofrèvres). He’s married to Dr Monique Dussault, a pediatrician. The prejudiced Commander Irena Fontaine is Dussault’s new second-in-command. The Procureur de la Rápublique must give the okay to launch a murder investigation. Clément Prévost had been Dussault’s predecessor and mentor. Inspector Stefan Juneau.

The GIGN is a French commando unit.

SecurForte is…
…an elite and very powerful security company that contracts with anyone who needs them, including GHS and the George V. The Helm of Awe is their logo.

The Hôtel Lutetia is/was…
…a favorite place of Stephen’s. Bar Joséphine is a brasserie in the hôtel. Jacques has been the maître d for decades. In World War II it was commandeered to be the headquarters of the Nazi Abwehr, a counterespionage unit.

George V is a very, very nice hotel in Paris. Auguste Pannier is the duty manager. Jacquelin Béland is the general manager. Juveniles is a favorite restaurant the Gamaches have been patronizing for decades. Tim is still the Big Boss, but his daughter, Margaux, and her husband, Romain, who is the head chef, run it now. Pain de Sucre is the Gamaches’ favorite bakery. Le Bon Marché is the oldest department store in Paris, predating Selfridge’s. Its owner built the Hôtel Lutetia to give his shoppers some place to stay. Cercle de l’Union Interalli&ecute;e is Gossette’s private club, a very elite one where Marie works. Lycée Stanislas is an elite private school, famous from the Madeline stories. Le Comptoir is a bistro in the Odéon.

Agence France-Presse is a news agency owned by Pinot. Anik Guardiola had been a stringer for AFP.

Allida Lenoir is the head of the Archives nationales; her wife, Judith de la Granger, is the head of the Bibliothéque nationale, the Chief Librarian for France. Professor Bernard de la Coutu is a curator in the Louvre’s Department of Paintings.

The Bankque Privée des Affaires is…
…where Daniel works. The bank is investing in Screw-U, a company inventing a new screwdriver.

Three Pines is…
…the Canadian village that usually figures quite prominently in so many of the books. The Gamaches’ dogs include Henri, Gracie, and Fred. Ruth Zardo is an elderly poet who is frequently drunk and always nuts. Rosa is her duck. Both are friends of Stephen’s and the Gamaches’. Gabri and Olivier run a B&B and bistro. Clara Morrow is an acclaimed artist. Myrna runs the bookstore. Monsieur Beliveau runs a general store.

Isabelle Lacoste is the acting head of Homicide in Canada.

Michel had been Armand’s best friend as a child. Hélène, a.k.a. Arlette, was saved in the war.

The Cover and Title

The cover reminds me of a Van Gogh painting with its myriad swirls of blues with the black silhouettes of the Eiffel Tower in the center with the tops of trees on the lower sides. The info blurb at the top and the author’s name are in white. The title is in a colonial blue, taking up more than half of the cover. I would prefer to see the series information just above the tower’s arch, instead the information that this is “a novel”, in white, is there.

The title is true enough, All The Devils are Here, in Paris.

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