A Better Man by Louise Penny “Once the Superintendent of Sûreté du Québec, Armand Gamache has been demoted to a position leading the homicide department. It was a demotion few believed he would accept, but he surprised the naysayers and took the job. As A Better Man opens, the spring thaw is beginning in the St. Lawrence River, and the elements are conspiring to spawn a 100-year flood, the river overflowing its banks as ice dams the flow at every bend. It’s not a propitious time to be investigating a murder, but a young woman’s body turns up in a small but volatile tributary of the St. Lawrence. Her husband is the prime suspect; no surprises there, as he is a mercurial and abusive man. But there are other possibilities, too: a pair, or perhaps a trio, of spurned lovers, as well as a high-ranking police official bent on tanking the investigation if doing so will shed a bad light on Gamache. All the while, the floodwaters rise inexorably. Louise Penny’s latest offers suspense galore, well-drawn characters we’d like to know (even the crotchety poet Ruth and her “fowl-mouthed” duck), a return to the fictional village of Three Pines—where we would all like to live—and some of the finest prose to grace the suspense genre.”

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