A Better Man

A Better Man

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Surete du Quebec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny. It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, J...

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Title:A Better Man
Author:Louise Penny
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Edition Language:English

A Better Man Reviews

  • Heather

    I have enjoyed every book in this series, but some of them felt more like "coming home" to Three Pines than others, and this one was like that for me. This book is set back in Three Pines with the villagers with moments in Montreal, as always. Some of the aspects that I love the most in this series were especially present in this book:

    1) A lot of time with Gamache, Beauvoir, and Lacoste as a team (especially pertinent in this novel as things might change for them all moving forward)

    2) Themes of

    I have enjoyed every book in this series, but some of them felt more like "coming home" to Three Pines than others, and this one was like that for me. This book is set back in Three Pines with the villagers with moments in Montreal, as always. Some of the aspects that I love the most in this series were especially present in this book:

    1) A lot of time with Gamache, Beauvoir, and Lacoste as a team (especially pertinent in this novel as things might change for them all moving forward)

    2) Themes of bettering oneself as a person, struggles with morality, questions about what one would do in a similar situation

    3) The unexpected conclusion to the central mystery

    4) Side stories with the villagers including Clara, Myrna, and Reine-Marie

    Despite enjoying all of the Inspector Gamache stories, some of them have taken me a bit longer to sink back into. This was not the case with this book. Louise Penny's writing in this novel felt like I was sitting down among friends. Gamache is at his best in so many ways here and such a character to look up to in times of uncertainty. I don't know how she does it, but I'm so grateful that she does. Fans of the series will love this new addition.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Edelweiss and St Martins Press/Minotaur for the ARC of this book.

  • Diane S ☔

    Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma. Do I read it quickly because really I don't want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don't want it to end? How does she do it? This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better. In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery. The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it

    Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma. Do I read it quickly because really I don't want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don't want it to end? How does she do it? This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better. In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery. The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it causes, and the good and bad of social media. All combined seamlessly in the lives of various members of the community we have come to love.

    She shows us the many depths of personality that can live inside one person. Characteristics based on the past, the present, life experiences that make us the people we are. She shows us friendship, love, respect, integrity, compassion, kindness and the struggle to know when to hold on and when to let go. Ratchets up the tension and then fits in some appropriate humor that makes us laugh. Oddly enough a new character comes to Three Pines and affects the future of one member. This was a particularly emotional entry in the series as one chapter closes and a new one begins. And now I am resolved, as I await the next in this stellar series.

    "That twisted reality, until malice and truth were intertwined and indistinguishable."

    ARC from Minotaur books.

  • Emma

    She has done it again. With a vengeance. Take the same backwater in Québec, the same core of main characters, and write fifteen crime stories with that. You will probably end up with predictable plots. But Louise Penny doesn’t. Not ever. A Better Man is here to prove it. Once more.

    ...

    VERDICT: Louise Penny is a mystery in herself. Once again, for this #15 i the series, she managed to deliver a unique book, with an original plot. And red herrings. And many twists and layers.

    See my review here

    She has done it again. With a vengeance. Take the same backwater in Québec, the same core of main characters, and write fifteen crime stories with that. You will probably end up with predictable plots. But Louise Penny doesn’t. Not ever. A Better Man is here to prove it. Once more.

    ...

    VERDICT: Louise Penny is a mystery in herself. Once again, for this #15 i the series, she managed to deliver a unique book, with an original plot. And red herrings. And many twists and layers.

    See my review here

    with a link to Criminal Element, where it was a featured review

  • Esil

    Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet. Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual. Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.

    I found this year’s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start. Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missing person cas

    Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet. Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual. Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.

    I found this year’s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start. Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missing person case. And I must admit that the story itself didn’t really grow much in intensity for me. Armand continued to struggle. The people of Three Pines were thrown into turmoil because Clara’s paintings are getting bad reviews. And I quickly guessed what was meant to be a not so obvious resolution to the missing person plot.

    But for true fans of Louise Penny, like me, the plot is often beside the point. As usual, Armand, his family, his colleagues and his neighbours make up for any plot weaknesses. It’s hard not to be enthralled by these deep feeling and thinking characters, who are also equipped with a good sense of humour and a love for the good things in life. Despite the murders and carnage, Louise Penny presents an inspiring and warm world view of human connections. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but I can’t think of any other way to express it.)

    But because this was not my favourite of Penny’s books, I thought I should probably be fair and give it 4 stars rather than my usual 5 stars. And then I read her afterword, and I knew I couldn’t rate this one any less than 5 stars. Penny explains why she named one of the dogs in the book Fred, which made me teary. Then she explained that “these books are about community. About love and belonging. And the great gift of friendship.” Indeed! So the afterword pulled me over the 5 star line – not for the first time -- and it’s another five stars for me. Because, despite the plot’s weaknesses, these are the feelings I walk away with each year after I finish Penny’s latest offering.

    So, goodbye for now, Armand. I hope you’re planning something good for next year. In the meantime, enjoy your family and friends, and don’t get into too much trouble ;)

    Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy.

  • Stacey A.  Prose and Palate

    Her best one yet. Review to come.

  • Paromjit

    Louise Penny is a treasure when it comes to the world of crime fiction, this is a stunning addition to this stellar series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada, featuring the incomparable and wise Chief Inspector Gamache, having now been demoted by those more spineless, self serving and ambitious, wanting to besmirch the reputation of a man they perceive as having too much power and a threat. They never expected Gamache to accept the demotion to Head of Homicide from being Chief b

    Louise Penny is a treasure when it comes to the world of crime fiction, this is a stunning addition to this stellar series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada, featuring the incomparable and wise Chief Inspector Gamache, having now been demoted by those more spineless, self serving and ambitious, wanting to besmirch the reputation of a man they perceive as having too much power and a threat. They never expected Gamache to accept the demotion to Head of Homicide from being Chief but they fail to comprehend the kind of man he is, why he inspires such loyalty and respect in others, he has no ego and wishes merely to be the best police officer he can be. It's a joy to see the return of beloved characters, even the rude, indomitable, cantankerous elderly poet, Ruth Zardo, and her familiar, the duck, Myrna, Reine-Marie, and all the others. The artist, Clara, is having a particularly tumultuous time, with her latest works, the miniatures, not being well received, in fact her reputation is being trashed on social media, with many questioning if she ever had any artistic abilities at all.

    Gamache's return to the Surete du Quebec goes down even less well on social media with a tirade of vile postings, not to mention fake videos. Those who know Gamache are outraged at the lies and vitriol being expressed but Gamache has an inner strength that can weather almost anything. Work colleagues and friends observe closely at how well he will take to being under the command of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his protege and son-in-law, around for 2 weeks before quitting the police to move to Paris to embark on a new life. Agent Lysette Cloutier and Gamache inquire into a missing pregnant woman, Vivienne Godin, who failed to turn up at her father, Homer's home. Homer is frantic, and with good reason, Vivienne is married to an abusive husband, the ceramic artist, the deplorable and nasty piece of work that is Carl Tracey. In the meantime, the weather is atrocious for April with no sign of spring, and even worse the worst flooding, threatening death and destruction is being forecast for Quebec. Herculean efforts are required from the Three Pines residents as they build sandbag defences on the banks of the Bella Bella river to try and save the village.

    Two phrases ring true throughout in this novel, all truth in malice, and what might appear to be more contradictory, things are strongest when they are broken. Penny writes with humanity and compassion, with insight and wisdom on the contradictions and complexities of individuals, no-one is purely good, not even Gamache, or just evil. The strengths of this series are the rich complicated, often quirky, characters, from Ruth to Jean-Guy, and their development. Three Pines is a village of people who love and support one another, a force to be reckoned with as they come together to fight the threat of catastrophic dangerous flooding, illustrating their strength as a community, no-one is alone. This was a fantastic, moving and profound crime read, one which I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending highly. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Carolyn

    *4.5* stars. It is always a joy to read a new book by Louise Penny, and to be transported to her stellar creation, the fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec and its residents. I not only appreciate the atmospheric storytelling where I can visualize the place and people, but I want to live there. I feel that I already know the villagers. This is the 15th book set in Three Pines, and the author has maintained her usual high quality.

    These books are police procedural/mysteries. With each new on

    *4.5* stars. It is always a joy to read a new book by Louise Penny, and to be transported to her stellar creation, the fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec and its residents. I not only appreciate the atmospheric storytelling where I can visualize the place and people, but I want to live there. I feel that I already know the villagers. This is the 15th book set in Three Pines, and the author has maintained her usual high quality.

    These books are police procedural/mysteries. With each new one, we get further insights into the well-developed characters, with all their strengths and human weaknesses.

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a kind and wise man, had been head of the Surete du Quebec. After a high risk and mostly successful police raid, some officers were killed or injured. Gamache was demoted by individuals who resented his power and risk-taking. His loss was to be their political and professional gain. He is offered the position as head of the Homicide Department, never thinking that Gamache would not to prefer to remain retired in disgrace. He would now be working alongside, but under the command of his son-in-law, Jean-Guy, whom he once mentored and who he chose as his second-Jan-command. Gamache accepts, only wanting to solve crimes in any capacity. Most who knew Gamache still have great loyalty and respect for him.

    Powerful forces still resent his return to the Surete du Quebec. Vile postings and a fake video are circulating on the internet deploring his new posting. At the same time, Clara’s recent paintings of scenic miniatures are being reviled on social media, with postings indicating the belief that she never had any artistic talent.

    Clara is distraught, and her friend, Myrna tries to comfort her. They frequently meet at the inn, and the elderly and foul-mouthed Ruth, a prize-winning poet, is often in the background with her pet duck. She manages to keep things stirred up with her nasty comments. I regret we didn’t see more this time of Gabi and Oliver, owners of the inn.

    A catastrophic flood is threatening Montreal and also Three Pines. Most of the police force have been deployed to handle a possible natural disaster. Sandbags are being piled up along the river at Three Pines. A father, Homer Godin is frantic about his missing daughter, Vivienne, who he thinks was on her way to see him. She was married to a domineering and abusive husband, Carl, who did a bit of farming and dabbled in creating pottery. She was the victim of his beatings and was kept isolated from her father and potential friends.

    When her body is found it is believed she was escaping the abusive husband and was murdered. She was pregnant at the time of her death, and Carl is the prime suspect. Jean-Guy heads up the murder investigation. This is to be his final case as a police officer as he is soon moving to Paris to work in the private sector. Carl goes on trial charged with the killing of his wife but is freed due to technicalities. Homer, her father, is enraged, as Gamache assured him that Carl would be convicted and punished. Homer vows to kill Carl. He is moved into Gamache’s home, with the aim of protecting him from murdering the most likely suspect in his daughter’s death.

    The pace slows down as Jean-Guy, Gamache and team sit around discussing clues and evidence to order a new trial for Carl. They also ponder other possible suspects, their relationships with Vivienne, possible motives and methods.

    The murder investigation speeds up with a dangerous, pulse-pounding climax. There are some twists and help from unexpected sources during which a very complex plot is revealed. Recommended.

  • Judy

    Louise Penny really generates some great crime fiction and I enjoyed this book. The continuing characters are once again solving a murder in Three Pines, Quebec, Canada. This time a young woman married to a known abusive husband, is killed. Jean-Guy Beauvoir is in charge of the investigation. Gamache is working with him, but was demoted from and is now in charge of Homicide. The usual Three Pines residents are still around, Ruth Zardo, the foul-mouthed poet; Claire, the artist; Reine-Marie, Gama

    Louise Penny really generates some great crime fiction and I enjoyed this book. The continuing characters are once again solving a murder in Three Pines, Quebec, Canada. This time a young woman married to a known abusive husband, is killed. Jean-Guy Beauvoir is in charge of the investigation. Gamache is working with him, but was demoted from and is now in charge of Homicide. The usual Three Pines residents are still around, Ruth Zardo, the foul-mouthed poet; Claire, the artist; Reine-Marie, Gamache's wife; and others. Oh, and there's a major flood happening and threatening the town. It's an interesting investigation and the quirky characters make it fun.

    I'm glad I discovered Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. This is the third book I've read, but I plan to read them all!

    Thanks to Louise Penny and Edelweiss for an advance copy.

  • Roman Clodia

    After a slightly disappointing previous entry in Penny's series, this is much better but still perhaps not up to her best - it's hard to keep characters in play and developing over so many books and here the Three Pines stalwarts provide some quirk but are effectively side-lined much of the time which is a shame.

    At the centre of the book is case of a missing adult daughter which br

    After a slightly disappointing previous entry in Penny's series, this is much better but still perhaps not up to her best - it's hard to keep characters in play and developing over so many books and here the Three Pines stalwarts provide some quirk but are effectively side-lined much of the time which is a shame.

    At the centre of the book is case of a missing adult daughter which brings together Gamache, Jean-Guy and Isabelle with a previous police character and a potentially interesting new one - but I'd spotted the denouement about a quarter of the way in and it's a long haul waiting for our heroes to catch up. There are places where this tips too much into repetitive sentimentality, though generally Penny steers on the right side of that line.

    Long-time fans, of which I am one, will want to read this but I fear the best of this series is in the past: it's still a delight to revisit Three Pines and there's an interesting development at the end which might shake up the dynamics of the books. Despite some qualms, Penny is still a force to be reckoned with in the area of police procedurals with high emotional intelligence: 3.5 stars rounded up.

    Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley.

  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    There WILL be a new Inspector Gamache book! #15 coming out in August.

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