Louise Penny is another in a long line of excellent female crime-fiction writers. And this book does not disappoint. This is the first Louise Penny book I have read, but it is number six in a series starring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. All told, she has written 13 mysteries which have won numerous awards. Penny has won the prestigious Agatha Award for best mystery novel of the year five times, and the equally impressive Anthony Award for best novel also five times.
Gamache is the head of Surete du Quebec’s homicide squad and in this book, he is taking a much needed break from the stress of a previous case involving terrorists who killed one of his squad. He is taking a holiday in Quebec City and staying with an old friend and mentor. Gamache is wrestling with feeling responsible for the death of one of his own. However as often happens with talented people who are noted for their ability, Gamache is soon recognized, and asked to help solve a local murder in Quebec City. A controversial amateur archeologist is found dead in the sub-basement of the Literary and Historical Society. The dead man was compulsively following a lead while trying to solve the 400 year-old mystery of where Samuel de Champlain is buried after his death in 1635. As Gamache delves deeper into the mystery of the archeologist he also becomes ensnared in the mystery surrounding Champlain.
Along with the crime in Quebec City, there is also a sub-plot in the book which harks back to a mysterious death in a previous book by Perry. It appears the case in the small village of Three Pines has been reopened, and Gamache’s partner Gabi is working on new evidence. The story then goes back and forth between the two connected plot lines.
Perry is an outstanding writer and in this novel she introduces the reader to some of the fascinating history of Quebec and the tensions between the British and French descendants who live there. In an afterward in the novel the author writes why she loves the old city of Quebec, and ends with:
“This is a very special book to me, on so many levels, as I hope you’ll see. Like the rest of the Chief Inspector Ganache books, ‘Bury Your Dead’ is not about death, but about life. And the need to both respect the past and let it go.”
I highly recommend this book to all readers.