Aside from the fact that Louise Penny’s How The Light Gets In took its title from one of my favorite Leonard Cohen lines (“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”) and that it is set in one of my favorite cities, Montreal, this book didn’t seem to have much going for it, but I bought it anyhow. Good choice? Of course.
I think I encountered Inspector Gamache once before in the distant past, but for some reason hadn’t returned to him till now. The guy is in real trouble. Political enemies have taken over the force, and his entire unit is being dissolved. In addition to having to solve some difficult cases without his usual expert help and organization, he has to figure out how to save his own scalp and the homicide division as well.
I do have a complaint about Penny, which I recalled during my reading. Even though we spend many many pages inside the head of our protagonist and other major characters, we are often not privy to essential plot information until Penny chooses to disclose it. I call this author manipulation closely akin to deus ex machina, and I don’t like it. However, the characters themselves are so engaging and the situations so intriguing, I cast a veil of forgiveness over the whole thing and just went on and enjoyed all the unique virtues of the novel.