Review – A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #4) by Louise Penny


Best laid plans – I just wrote a detailed review for A Rule Against Murder with my reactions, both good and bad.  And you know what happened?  I just freaking deleted it accidentally.  Well, as they would say in Quebec – c’est la vie.

I’m not sure I have the mental energy to recreate the review so I’ll just give you the highlights.  Sound fair?  Good.

Armand Gamache is very reminiscent of Hercule Poirot.  Intentional?  Both are the best at what they do and well-respected by those they work with.  They are cerebral, needing time to THINK about the facts of a case in order to solve it.  And both are meticulous about their dress and appearance.  But, while Poirot is arrogant and abrasive, Gamache is calming and self-possessed.

Writing a story with unlikable characters can be dangerous.  Gillian Flynn has perfected it and Penny gave it a shot here.  The Finneys, fellow guests with the Gamaches at an isolated Manoir, are presented almost entirely in a negative light.  The problem comes in when a reader feels that we are forced to dislike someone rather than it happening organically.  Penny crossed this line a few times.

The story is well done and fast paced.  Overall, it’s an enjoyable read and strong addition to the series.  4/5 stars.

P.S. Since this doesn’t take place in Three Pines, as the rest of the series does, we don’t get to see many of our favorite characters.  A couple do play important roles here and it seems that Penny has future plans for one of them.  I wouldn’t look forward to it if I were them.  Just guessing.

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