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A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

A Great Reckoning

by Louise Penny

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (12)

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1,0747811,603 (4.27)131



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English (77)  French (1)  All languages (78)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
A mysterious map has been found in the wall of the Bistro of Three Pines. It is an old detailed map of Three Pines with oddities on it like a snowman holding a hockey stick and a pyramid and a cow marking where a particular cow got stuck years ago as legend held. Who made this beautiful map and why? There has been no known map of Three Pines ever and the village is not on any map of any kind. If you use GPS to try to find it it will show that you are in a giant field not in a village. So the map is indeed a great mystery.

The former Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is now the Commander of the Surete Acadamy for police officers. The former Chief Superintendent who had corrupted the Surete also corrupted the Acadamy and bad officers were still graduating from it so he took the position to clean it up. He fired half of the teachers and went over the applications again changing acceptances to rejections and rejections to acceptances.

One professor he kept on was the second in command, Serge Leduc who really ran things there, but he removed him from his position and made him just a teacher. His reason for this is because Leduc was involved in all sorts of illegal activities involving the school but Gamache couldn't prove them. He was hoping Leduc would slip up and lead him to the evidence. Gamache brings in his childhood friend and old Surete Superintendent Michel Brebeuf who was forcibly retired after being the one to open the gate to the corruption years ago, not just to teach but to serve as an example as to what happens when you break the rules.

Each teacher invites students to his living room for an informal gathering one day a week. Gamache, of course gathers the quite a few oddities, including first-year Amelia Choquet a tattooed, pierced loner, Huifen, a third-year Asian woman just trying to survive, Nathanial Smythe a first-year gay Anglo with two strikes against him, and Jaques Lauren, a third-year head boy who thinks the old way of doing things is best and that Gamache is a coward. All four also visit with Leduc. When Amelia notices the map on the wall Gamache gives them the assignment of figuring out the mystery of the map.

When Nathanial goes to bring Leduc his breakfast one morning against Gamache's new policy, he finds Leduc dead with a gunshot wound to the head. Gamache has Jean-Guy Beavouir, his second in command and a teacher there at the academy call in Chief Inspector Isabelle Lacoste. He notices that one of the copies of the maps he gave to the students is in the bedside drawer of Leduc. After talking to Lacoste and telling her she needs to bring in someone from the outside to overlook the investigation since those being investigated are all former or current officers of the Surete on leave of absence. Then he takes the four students and has them taken to Three Pines after they have been interviewed. He believes either they were involved or they knew something that could get themselves killed and needed to be protected. He told them they were being sent there to work on the mystery of the map which had a bearing on the murder.

Gamache believes that Leduc didn't have the intelligence to pull off the operation he was doing alone. Someone was behind him pulling the strings. But who? Did they kill him believing that he might talk to save his skin with Gamache closing in? Also, the mayor of the town hated Leduc with a passion when he screwed them over by building the Acadamy on the site they had planned on building their children's recreational center that they had spent years saving money for.

Chief Superintendent Brunel sends in Deputy Commissioner Paul Gelinas of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Gamache's request to overlook the investigation. He tells him it is because he is being considered for the Commissioner's job and Gamache recommended him and wants to know that he was right in doing so. Gelinas suspects everyone, including Gamache himself of murdering Leduc.

This book keeps you guessing as to who the murderer is right up to the very end. Leduc was truly an evil man in what he made the students do and the terror he caused and the belief that you had to hate to be a cop and get them before they get you. Gamache didn't know everything he was up to and part of him wonders whether or not he would have killed him himself if he had. The Reckoning is a good title because it is one for Leduc. His crimes will get him killed in the end. This is an excellently woven novel that blends the tale of the map with the tale of the murder. It won the 2016 Agatha Award for best novel and 2017 Anthony, Barry, Lefty, and McCacvity Awards which says a lot. I give it four out of five stars.


Not food. Not dope. Not some stolen wallet. Something far more precious, and dangerous. The poetry book had joined the others hidden under there. Books in Latin and Greek. Poetry books and philosophy books. She’d taught herself the dead languages, and memorized poetry. Among the filth. Shutting out the sounds of sex, the mutterings and shouts and screams of other boarders. All erased by poetry.

-Louise Penny (A Great Reckoning p 53) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Nov 5, 2018 |
Yet another page turner for me...
Gamache is now Commander Gamache, having stepped out of retirement and into the leadership of the Surete Academy. Having done his best to remove the corruption from the Surete, and having encountered a couple of recent graduates of the Academy, Armand Gamache knew his work was not finished.

Then, there's a map... an unusual one that had been stuffed, along with so many other documents, into the walls of the Bistro so long ago.

Back at the Academy, along with "cleaning house", Gamache assigns 4 cadets (2 freshman, 2 upperclassmen) to research and learn all they can about that map, and hands each of them a copy.

Things take a very interesting turn when a professor is found dead, and a search reveals a copy of the map in his bedside table.

RCPM, puppies, stained glass windows, and more... This one rates more of a 4.5 stars. ( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
Armand Gamache has started his new job as the head of the Surete academy. He is now responsible to ensuring that young cadets receive the proper training they will need for wherever they end up in the department. A group of four cadets have sparked an interest in Gamache, with Amelia Choquet being the most intriguing of the group. Amelia hails from a life of poverty, drug use, and possible prostitution. Beneath her various tattoos and piercings Gamache sees a woman who wants to change her life and has the potential to flourish.

Back in his home of Three Pines, Gamache’s neighbors discover an old map that they believe holds secrets about the village. Thinking that this intriguing project would do well for his select group of cadets, Gamache assigns them a side project to work on finding the origins and purpose of this map. When a controversial professor is murdered at the academy, the lives of these four cadets and Gamache are turned upside down. Everyone is a suspect, including Gamache. Suddenly his relationship with these cadets and Amelia in particular is put under scrutiny. Has Gamache done the unthinkable and murdered his colleague or is he hiding the real killer in Three Pines?

A GREAT RECKONING kicks off with Gamache starting his new job and all of the drama that comes with his past at the Surete du Quebec. There is bad blood between him and some of the professors at the academy, which leads to students in the upper classes doubting his abilities before even meeting him. It was great to see Gamache back in a mentoring role, as he chose those cadets who most interested him. Each one had their individual personality quirks that shined through and made the reading experience truly enjoyable. The mystery in this book was one that left Gamache under suspicion and while I hate for one of my favorite characters to be a suspect, it really added to the drama factor. I would have to say my favorite part of this novel was discovering Gamache’s ultimate reason for being interested in Amelia Choquet. Penny definitely knows how to leave the reader wanting more and flipping through pages to finally reach the answer to your questions. A GREAT RECKONING is another strong showing in Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series! ( )
  jess_reads_books | Aug 10, 2018 |
Retired from the homicide division of the Sûreté du Québec, Armand Gamache has taken command of the police academy, seeking to root out the rottenness that has characterized its recent years. He removes many of the old professors, bringing in his own men, but, curiously, he also brings back his old frenemy, the disgraced Michel Brébeuf, and retains the corrupt #2 in the hierarchy, Serge Leduc. The reforms have barely begun when Leduc is found murdered -- and everyone is under suspicion, including Gamache himself -- and the four cadets he has taken under his wing (one of whom, Amelia Choquet, pierced, tattooed, rough-edged, no one can figure out). -- An interesting twist on the 'country house mystery,' this is one of the finest Penny books I've read -- brilliant in its insights into human nature and deeply moving, with sufficient plot turns to keep one guessing until the very end. ( )
  David_of_PA | Jul 14, 2018 |
I wondered about the rookie cops in "The Nature of the Beast." This book answered those questions and then more. I'm not sure if Gamache is mortal or a superman, but he seems to be the man of the hour! Another Penny at her finest. ( )
  kaulsu | Jun 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
This complex novel deals with universal themes of compassion, weakness in the face of temptation, forgiveness, and the danger of falling into despair and cynicism over apparently insurmountable evils.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louise Pennyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bathurst, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
BesterhuCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goody, MargoPackage designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
King, LoreleiProducer & direcctorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rotstein, David BaldeosinghCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, LauraProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.

--William Shakespeare
For Michael
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Armand Gamache sat in the little room and closed the dossier with care, squeezing it shut, trapping the words inside.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Former Chief Inspector Gamache has been hunting killers his entire career and as the new commander of the Sûreté Academy, he is given the chance to combat the corruption and brutality that has been rife throughout the force. But when a former colleague and professor of the Academy is found murdered, with a mysterious map of Three Pines in his possession, Gamache has an even tougher task ahead of him.

When suspicion turns to Gamache himself, and his possible involvement in the crime, the search for answers takes the investigation to the village of Three Pines, where a series of shattering secrets is poised to be revealed...
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No descriptions found.

"When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sret du Qubec to places even he is afraid to go. But must. And there he finds four young cadets in the Sret academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map. Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protge of the murdered professor. The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets. For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.… (more)

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