Louise Penny’s first mystery novel takes place in a small Canadian village near Quebec. Longtime resident, Jane Neal, is found dead by her neighbors and is presumed to be the victim of a tragic hunting accident. Jane is a woman everyone loves, but as the story unfolds we learn she has a few strange secrets. She hasn’t let anyone see inside her house past the kitchen…ever. Another character quirk is the fact that she is an avid painter but won’t let anyone see her work. Just days after her first painting is accepted for a public exhibit, she is found dead.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, homicide detective with the Sûreté du Quebec and his team are called to the site and quickly surmise that foul play is involved. While solving the murder, Gamache is also training a new team member who has little practical experience yet is constantly judging his crime solving technique as inadequate.
I enjoyed the twists and turns the story took and the in depth character studies of the people who touched Jane Neal’s life. Ultimately, the story was a little slow for me and the lack of tension as the story drew to a close was disappointing.