Starred Review. At the start of Agatha-winner Penny's moving and powerful sixth Chief Insp. Armand Gamache mystery (after 2009's The Brutal Telling), Gamache is recovering from a physical and emotional trauma, the exact nature of which isn't immediately disclosed, in Québec City. When the body of Augustin Renaud, an eccentric who'd spent his life searching for the burial site of Samuel de Champlain, Québec's founder, turns up in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society, Gamache reluctantly gets involved in the murder inquiry. Meanwhile, Gamache dispatches his longtime colleague, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, to the quiet town of Three Pines to revisit the case supposedly resolved at the end of the previous book. Few writers in any genre can match Penny's ability to combine heartbreak and hope in the same scene. Increasingly ambitious in her plotting, she continues to create characters readers would want to meet in real life. 100,000 first printing.
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It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief inspector Armand Gamache has not come to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society - where an obsessive historian's quest for the remains of the founder of Québec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried buried with Champlain for nearly four hundred years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it.
Although he is supposed to be on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smouldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he is receiving disquieting letters from the village of Three Pines, where beloved bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. "It doesn't make sense," Olivier's partner writes every day. "He didn't do it, you know."
As past and present collide in this astonishing novel, Gamache must relive a terrible event from his own past before he can begin to bury his dead.