Book Review: Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

Posted March 4, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Kingdom of the Blind 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.

Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny
Genres: Mystery, Detective, Cozy
Published by Minotaur Books on November 27, 2018
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
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, 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 , All The Devils are Here

Fourteenth in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache cozy detective mystery series revolving around a core cast of characters in Three Pines, Québec, Canada, with the focus on Armand.

My Take

It starts out with one mystery and opens a flood more that reaches back into history. Stories within stories, from the inside of investment firms, family feuds, the effects of addiction and life on the streets, building a gang, the inside of worker relationships (and Cloutier’s evolution), and the political machinations of those more interested in appearance with the political maneuvering at the Sûreté, where, per usual, it’s more important to save face than find the truth. Who cares about doing right?

“I don’t know.

I need help.

I was wrong.

I’m sorry.

As usual Penny’s tale is full of warmth, particularly with regard to Benedict and the lost girl on the streets and the care Gamache takes of them. It’s also a tale of reflection for Gamache, for it’s a hard thing, sending men to die. It’s even more difficult to figure out what Gamache has planned for Choquet. At times I lean one way and then the other. Penny really kept me off-kilter.

The the twists and turns and those red herrings Penny salted the story with helped as well! And the story was made richer in using third person global point-of-view, so we gain perspective from a number of characters.

It’s scary, the life Amelia is reduced to on the streets. That landlady…egods!!

I love it!! Who knew Ruth would troll for trolls…and attack them. Go, Ruth! Although Rosa seems to be a bad influence on Honoré, lol.

Hmmm, I wonder if there is a future with Ruth and Stephen… I also wonder if Paris will be welcoming more than one family…

The Story

A quirky provision in a will pulls Armand Gamache into a century-old feud, providing him some relief from the Sûreté’s “investigation” into his decisions…and his own investigation into his own blind spots.

The Characters

Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache is on suspension while his actions are investigated. Reine-Marie is his wife. Gracie is their foundling; Henri is their German shepherd. Annie and Daniel are their children. Daniel lives in Paris with two daughters, Florie and Zora.

Sûreté du Québec is…
…the Canadian national police force. Chief Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir was his (and now Isabelle’s) second-in-command and is his son-in-law, married to Annie Gamache. They have a baby son, Honoré. Isabelle Lacoste is in command of Homicide but is still recovering from events in Glass Houses, 13. Memory and physical issues, including not remembering the names of her children, who include Sophia. Agent Paul Morin. Inspector Dufresne will partner up with Beauvoir to investigate the murder in the house. Dr Sharon Harris and Dr Harper are the coroners. Agent Cloutier is not a field agent but specializes in accounting, on the Sûreté’s budget. Gamache arranged her transfer to Homicide, and she’s horrified.

Marie Janvier and Francis Cournoyer who is with the Ministère de la Justice are part of the “investigative” committee.

The Academy
The Commander is a friend of Gamache’s. Cadet Amelia Choquet, an autodidact, was encouraged to attend by Gamache, and now this former addict is in major trouble mere months from graduation.

Marc has known Amelia since they were toddlers, and now she’ll become the one-eyed man. Anita Facial is a caring tranny. David is a marker. Dr Boudreau works at the hospital.

Three Pines is…
…a tiny village that can’t be found on any map. The Gamaches’ friends include Dr Myrna Landers who had been a psychologist who retired to open a book store in the village. Ruth Zardo is a gifted poet and major PITA whose best known work is F.I.N.E.; Rosa is her pet duck. Clara Morrow is a famous artist. Gabri Dubeau and his partner, Olivier, run the bistro and B&B. Timmer Hadley used to own the old Hadley house. Billy Williams does odd jobs and maintains the roads.

The Duchess is/was…
Bertha Baumgartner, a.k.a., a cleaning lady in the countryside around Three Pines who moved into Maison Saint-Rémy. She’s named Armand, Myrna, and Benedict Pouliot, a builder in Montréal, as liquidators, a.k.a., executors, in her last will. Her children include Anthony who is divorced from Adrienne Fournier, Caroline who sells real estate, and Hugo who is also an investment advisor. The family was lucky enough to escape Germany in the 1920s. Helga, Hans, Ingrid, and Horst Rose all died November 10, 1938. Kristallnacht.

Taylor and Ogilvy Investments is…
…where Anthony works as an investment advisor and is a senior vice-president. Bernard Shaeffer was his assistant…and lover. Bernice Ogilvy is the daughter of the CEO and the chairwoman of the board. Louis Lamontagne is a broker.

Horowitz Investments is…
…where Hugo is a senior vice-president. Stephen Horowitz is president of the company and Armand’s godfather.

Maître Laurence Mercier is a notary who died six months ago. His son, Lucien, took over his business. Jeanne Halstrom is the president of the Caisse Populaire, a bank. Filatreau was the moronic steel magnate Horowitz didn’t like. Monsieur and Madame Kinderoth had been clients with an odd will. In Germany, Kontrollinspektor Gund thinks Armand is a lunatic. Justin Trudeau is the prime minister of Canada. Patricia Houle has a poison garden. Joseph works for the nursing home. Katie Burke was a frequent visitor to the Duchess. Pierre is the waiter at the Ritz.

1885, Vienna
Baron Shlomo Kinderoth set the cat among the pigeons with that will of his.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a texture of white and gray frosty ferns, that pure frame of frosty window with the author’s name in an embossed copper with the title immediately below it in an embossed deep blue. Beneath that, in tiny text, is the information that it’s a novel with a round copper decal with an info blurb to the right. I do wish she’d put the series info on.

The title refers to Amelia as well as Gamache for being in the Kingdom of the Blind, desperate to find drugs.

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