This is Louise Penny back at her most brilliant: evil and forgiveness at the heart of the book and explored in many ways. I have always thought that her books are like an iron fist in a velvet glove and this one fits that description perfectly.
When you are on your 18th book in the series, you have free rein to travel back to stories and to bring them up to date, go round and round and bring closure to some of the stories and events that have been running through the world of Three Pines. And, you can take your time doing it so that the main event doesn’t really get going until half-way through the book whilst side events take centre stage, cutting out the light and disturbing the mud at the bottom of the lake.
One of the central images of this story is the painting The Paston Treasure held in a museum in Norfolk. It is not known who painted it but it contains some/all of the treasures of the Paston family.
This painting seems as much a celebration of the family’s treasures as a recognition that these gorgeous worldly objects will not stop the passing of time, the fading of physical beauty or the need for the family’s members to concentrate on their souls and the afterlife.https://www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/collections/features/the-paston-treasure/explore-the-painting accessed on the 18/12/22
In the story, a version of this painting is created but with other treasures in it and all inscribed with an unreadable scrawl that may or may not be translateable. It is up to Gamache and Beauvoir to read these clues and solve the crimes whihch have been committed and are yet to be committed.
This book did have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. Penny is so good at describing evil and there is plenty of this here but some of it is misplaced or the boundaries are not set as far off as in others and this has to be read carefully to get all the clues.
I loved it.