cover image A World of Curiosities

A World of Curiosities

Louise Penny. Minotaur, $28.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-14529-1

Bestseller Penny’s virtuoso 18th novel featuring Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Québec Sûreté (after 2021’s The Madness of Crowds) blends nuanced characterization with nail-biting suspense. Siblings Fiona and Sam Arsenault return to Three Pines more than a decade after Gamache investigated the bludgeoning murder of their mother, Clotilde. His inquiry revealed that Clotilde had prostituted her children, then 13 and 10, at the time of the killing. During the case, he met his future number two and son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, who came to a different conclusion than his own. Gamache stayed involved in Fiona’s life, even aiding her graduate studies in engineering. The Arsenaults’ arrival coincides with several murders, which seem connected to an unusual painting found concealed in a hidden room in Three Pines. It first appears to be a duplicate of The Paston Treasure, a cryptic 17th-century assemblage of items known as A World of Curiosities, but anachronistic elements, such as a digital watch, have been added. Penny adds crucial details about Gamache’s backstory and satisfactorily resolves a plotline tease from earlier in the series. This tale of forgiveness and redemption will resonate with many. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Nov.)