When last I saw Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, he had retired to a small village near Montreal, ready to enjoy the peace and quiet he deserved after a long career chasing, catching, and jailing the worst of humanity.
He reads. he contemplates the scenery. He enjoys the company of his friends and neighbors, gets together for gardening and barbecues. Of course, it can’t last. Thus begins the adventure of The Long Way Home.
Artist Clara made a deal with her artist husband. He would leave for a year, then return to see whether their relationship had a future or whether it was time to call it quits. Peter had made a reputation as a painter of precise but uninspired renditions of natural phenomenon—leaves seemed to be a specialty. Clara, after years of living in his shadow had begun an artistic career of her own with a multi-colored flamboyance that broke all the rules Peter cherished and her work brought her rave reviews as a painter with soul. He couldn’t stand it. That’s what sparked the trial separation.
The year is up, but Peter hasn’t returned, hasn’t communicated. Something must be wrong. So away we go on a search that involves every character in the village we’ve ever met and covers a swath of territory ranging from Toronto to the northern reaches of Quebec province. During the search, all the characters discover something significant about themselves, their own lives, and life in general.
Louise Penny’s novels are more than crime mysteries. They involve a microcosm of the human world itself, and The Long Way Home is a title that resonates on several levels. A rich and inspiring read full of both suspense and food for thought.