The Nature of the Beast                                 Louise Penny, 2015

Once I spent the summer reading the first 9 in this series and fell for Chief Inspector (retired?) Armand Gamache—his intelligence, acuity, integrity, courage, humanity, warmth, and elegance. Rarely disappointed by plot or setting, I’m impatient for each new story about him, his cohorts and family, and the village of Three Pines in Quebec’s l’Estrie, idyllic except for the violence it attracts. This 11th book draws on myths surrounding real-life artillery merchant of death, Gerald Bull. While the yarn is a good one with familiar characters and new villains, it’s a bit of stretch at times to: Accept the invisibility of constructing a huge cannon so near the village; link Gamache’s trauma with a Bernardo-like serial killer to staging a play by that murderer in the village and to his role in the whole Bull affair.  8.5/10 

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