Aug 20 2013 9:00am

Fresh Meat: How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny, the ninth in the Inspector Gamache mystery seriesHow the Light Gets In by Louise Penny is the ninth Inspector Gamache mystery, and as Christmas approaches, hostile politics at the Surete du Quebec will bring him back to Three Pines (available August 27, 2013).

The ninth book in the Inspector Armand Gamache series sees the trouble brewing in previous installments come to a thrilling, violent head. Once in charge of the most efficient division of the Surete du Quebec, Chief Inspector Gamache has seen his homicide department gutted, as agents he trained and trusted left his side, not always willingly, to join other departments. Their replacements are mostly agents whose primary concern is self-preservation, with crime-solving a distant second. In this, they take their cues from Chief Superintendent Francoeur, Gamache’s nemesis, who is intent on promoting an environment of self-interest within the Surete, at the expense of the general good.

Gamache is not giving up without a fight, though.

His method isn’t showy, which concerns those few agents still left on his side. When he reprimands an agent caught in a lie to cover up his laziness, he does so in private, with kindness:

“Do you know what I’ve learned, after three decades of death?” Gamache asked, leaning toward the agent and lowering his voice.

Despite himself, the agent leaned forward.

“I’ve learned how precious life is.”

The agent looked at him, expecting more, and when no more came he slumped in his chair.

“The work you do isn’t trivial,” said the Chief. “People are counting on you. I’m counting on you. Please take it seriously.”

While this speech does have a temporary motivating effect, kindness doesn’t seem enough to stem the erosion of professionalism, so an urgent phone call from an old friend is an almost-welcome distraction. Gamache is asked to look into the disappearance of Constance Pineault, who was supposed to arrive in Gamache’s beloved Three Pines as a guest of bookstore owner Myrna Landers. The investigation quickly turns up Constance’s corpse, as well as the secrets of the infamous past that finally caught up to her.

But it’s really the mystery of Francoeur’s machinations—what’s behind them, what he plans and to what end—that are at the heart of the intricate plot. Gamache’s former assistant, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, left to work directly in Francoeur’s office after becoming convinced that Gamache was trying to destroy his life, if not kill him outright. Beauvoir becomes an unwitting linchpin in Francoeur’s plot, as well as the emotional heart of a novel that successfully balances a traditional murder mystery with an urban thriller of corruption and suspense.

It’s probably Louise Penny’s skill at getting to the emotional truth of any situation that makes her so good at melding these genres into a book I found exceptional. This is ably illustrated by an exchange between Gamache and Landers, who was a therapist before she retired to Three Pines, as they discuss the utility of investigating Pineault’s past, Gamache saying,

“I don’t really know, but it’s extraordinary, and when someone is murdered, we look for the extraordinary, though, to be honest, we often find the killer hiding in the banal.”

Myrna laughed. “Sounds like being a therapist. People normally came into my office because something happened. Someone had died, or betrayed them. Their love wasn’t reciprocated. They’d lost a job. Gotten divorced. Something big. But the truth was, while that might’ve been the catalyst, the problem was almost always tiny and old and hidden.”

Gamache raised his brows in surprise. It did sound exactly like his job. The killing was the catalyst, but it almost always started as something small, invisible to the naked eye. It was often years, decades, old. A slight that rankled and grew and infected the host. Until what had been human became a walking resentment. Covered in skin. Passing as human. Passing as happy.

Until something happened.

Louise Penny does a wonderful job of writing a novel with aspects that will appeal to fans of cozy mysteries, police procedurals and thrillers alike. Above all, her faith in goodness, in the power of kindness and love, shines through in a book that isn’t afraid to look unflinchingly at evil and venality in its many forms, reflected as they are in the two main mysteries here. An excellent book on its own, and an emotionally satisfying read for those who’ve been following Gamache’s progress in the Surete.


This Sweepstakes has ended. Check our feature page for current opportunities.

To enter for a chance to win an Advance Reader's Copy of How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

How the Light Gets In Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2013/08/fresh-meat-how-the-light-gets-in-by-louise-penny-inspector-gamache-surete-du-quebec-doreen-sheridan beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) August 20, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 9:59 a.m. ET August 29, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law.  Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.

Read all posts by Doreen Sheridan for Criminal Element.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Mo Heedles
2. MoinNH
It sounds like a great addition to this wonderful series.
Shannon Scott
3. shannons
I love Louise Penny and can't wait to read this one.
Jessica Jones
4. nolaboard
I love this series and the characters involved.
Joan Emerson
5. jemerson
Looking forward to reading this . . . .
Cindi Hoppes
6. CindiHoppes
I adore books written by Louise Penny!
Many thanks, Cindi
Rosa Abraham
7. ravensfan
I'm a big Louise Penny fan and would love to win this book.
Sue Farrell
8. Suekey12
This must be one of the best mystery series today---and it's so well written. I'd love to win this book.
Barb Houk
9. Barbcp
Gamache is one of the most interesting characters in mystery fiction. His quiet compassion and integrity are unsurpassed.
Cathie Klampfer
12. Chatty_Cathie
An awesome book by a great author
that doesn't cost a penny......heaven!
Jon Butters
13. alsek
I love Louise Penny. Thanks for the contest.
Bob Alexander
14. rx_alex
Louise Penny is one of the best. I've read the Inspector Gamache series and loved every one of them.
anita millard
15. apmillard@msn.com
Her books are so satisfying, they go beyond the mystery solved. Gamache always reminds me of my father... so kind, so true.
Rebecca Boukikaz
16. RebeccaBoukikaz
I always love Louise Penny's books. You never know where the story will end up. I am looking forward to this book.
Andrew Kuligowski
17. KuligowskiAndrew
Louise Penny's "Inspector Gamache" series is the perfect blend of cozy AND procedural ... light moment and characters mixed with heavy moments and serious investigation. I've read 2 so far, and have another 2 sitting on my TBR ... would love to have the most recent one join them!
Maria Smith
18. MariaS
LOVE L Penny's writing and stories...
Beverly Jackson
19. bajackson
Sounds like another wonderful addition to the series!!!
Barbara Ryan
20. bamr07
This looks like the perfect summer read for me. Thank you
Sheila Korman
22. skkorman
Sounds like a good read—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
22. E.B. Boatner
Have heard so much about Penny and am anxious to get reading!
Another Inspector Gamache story to look forward to enjoying! So eager to see it!
Tawney Mazek
24. tmaze
Haven't read any of this series yet - it's just been put on my to read list.
Ethan Boatner
25. Guylite
Have heard so much about Penny and am anxious to get reading! (now that I'm logged in)
Jennifer Macaire
26. jennifermacaire
Louise Penny's writing is exquisite - I love her books!
Julie Campbell
27. mags_mom
I have to admit that despite being a long-time fan of this series, I was rather disappointed with the last entry. Penny was dragging out the "angst" way too long across too many books and the only point of the last book seemed to be as an arc to what I hope will be a whole lot of personal conclusions in HTLGI.
Janice Santillo
28. themommazie
sounds like a really good book. would love to win.
Carrol Ann Smith
Another Inspector Gamache story to enjoy...Louise Penny is a favorite!
Pat Murphy
30. murphyp2011
I have only read one of her books. This sounds like it might be a good re-introduction to Penny.
Susan Jin
32. sjin
I came late to this series at #5 but was hooked and am all caught up. Can't wait to revisit Inspector Gamache!
33. allicatstoo
Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books will always be in my list of 'to be read again and again' books. They are beautifully written with sympathetic, believable characters.
amy crumm
34. adcrumm@gmail.com
Looks like a good read; can't wait to read a Christmas inspired book by Penny!
Christine LaRue
35. LadyAnubis
I, too, am a latecomer to the Inspector Gamache series but dove right in and can hardly wait to get my hands on the next.
Christine Zibas
36. AnythngArt
Just bought a Louise Penny paperback "Beautiful Mystery," but haven't delved in just yet. It came highly recommended, so if I received the ARC too, I'd really get a taste of her writing.
38. georaven2000
Louise Penny and Gamache are two of my all time favorites. Happy to hear a new novel is about to be published.
Anna Mills
39. Anna Mills
If the cover has light coming through tall tress onto the snow and if it has Louise Penny's name on it...then I want it!
Deborah Higdon
40. djhigdon
Can't wait to read the latest Inspector Gamache book!
Kathy Sales
41. ksales
I would love to win! It's always hard waiting on the next Louise Penny novel!
Donna Bruno
42. dlbawiles
I love her stuff! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
Marie driscoll
43. madriscoll
My favorite author!! I would love to win.
44. ronframpton
never read one of her books can't wait
Jacki Robertson
45. jcr650
Have loved all of the Louise Penny novels and the town of Three Pines.
Deidre Durance
46. ddurance
I haven't read any of these. Looks good though!
49. tillacat
Looking forward to reading the next installment of this great series.
50. laura mccafferry
I'm in for a Penny on this book, please.
Heather Martin
53. CrystalMirror
I must admit I haven't read this series. But it looks interesting.
Barbara Bibel
55. bbibel
I love Louise Penny and all of the characters and locations in her novels. I can't wait to read the new one to see what is happening to everyone.
Clydia DeFreese
56. clydia
Louise Penny is a most talented writer! Criminal Element introduced me to her books, and I've now read all the "Gamache" books in print. I'm looking forward to #9. She really writes a good book! These are mysteries I will enjoy rereading.
58. Pat D
Gamache is my hero. I hope "How the Light.." resolves his recent problems.
Joan Tuohy
60. JoanTu
I am so entranced by Gamache that I am grateful to be able to read the latest episode of his story. I also love the "Alleulia" reference.
Doris Wahl
61. dmw100
I so enjoyed "The Beautiful Mystery" as Gregorian Chant is such a fascinating subject. Can't wait to see what she has planned for this next book in the series!
Thomas Walcher
62. TomWalcher
This is one of my favorite series and am looking forward to reading this book.
Pam Howell
63. phowell13
Looks great. I love mysteries but hadn't heard of this series before.
Kizmin Reeves
67. Kizmin
The Three Pines mysteries have achieved a high point in humanity, literacy and characters you fall in love with!
Darcy Odden
68. DarcyO
Can't wait to catch up with Gamache and Three Pines.
Diane Castiglione
69. dian429
Sounds like an interesting read that I would like
Would love to read
70. Neroon
I haven't read this author's books yet but the Quebec setting and the strong main character peaks my interest.
James Devlin
71. devlinjp
These must be read in order, to appreciate the through story that plays behind the crime of each given book.
Marie-Louise Molloy
72. Wezzie
Big Louise Penny fan!! Want this win!!
Luanne Ollivier
75. LuanneO
I cannot wait to see what happens next!!
77. S. Lewis
One of my very favorite mystery series. Can't wait till it comes out!
Ray Palen
80. RPalen
How do I enter the sweepstakes for this novel?
Jeanne Agee
83. jta
I love all the books listed on your site. Looking forward to reading this one too. Thanks for the giveaway.
Kelley Tackett
84. tackettfamilyky
Louise Penny never disappoints. Vive le Gamache!
85. rubydog
Love to win!
Please enter me.
86. mosaix
The Light Will Get In when I win! Yes!
Betsy Whitmarsh
87. Yogamom67
I would so love to win an ARC of this book. This is one of my favorite series of all time! I'm crossing my fingers on this one :)!!!
Patricia Nicklas
89. pmernick
I'm a fan of the series and looking forward to reading this one.
susan beamon
91. susanbeamon
I have not read this author before, but the book discription makes me want to change that.
Carol Lawman
92. juju2cat
Inspector Gamache has been a "father figure" to me for years; the writing is so exquisite!!
Joyce Mitchell
93. JoyceLm
This is one of my favorite series - I even bought the short stories available for the Kindle.
94. maryc
One of my favorite series - can't wait to read the latest Inspector Gamache mystery!
100. Peria bad
Louise Penny is a truly brilliant writer. I love that she is returning to Three Pines.
Laurence Coven
101. Holmes
I'm looking forward to reading this one way or another.
102. twicelovedbooks
Can hardly wait for this installment!!
Rose Milligan
103. harnessrose
I really enjoy this series. I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for having the sweepstakes.
104. Denise Duvall
I just purchased my first Louise Penny novel. I love cozy mysteries and police procedurals and would love to read this one!
Denise Duvall
105. catpers
I just purchased my first Louise Penny novel. I love cozy mysteries and police procedurals and would love to read this one!
Judith Barnes
106. judithbarnes@cox.net
I started with "The Beautiful Mystery" but have gone back to read these amazing novels in order. I can't wait to read this new one.
Kathleen Macknicki
108. kmacknicki
I love Louise Penney - she is an awesome writer!
Andrew Beck
109. queerbec
I've been dying to find out what Francoeur has been up to. Never trusted the man! But I do trust Gamache to do whatever is proper and right! Keep it up, Ms. Penny!
Merle Carrus
111. merle
I love Inspector Gamache!!!
I just went back and started reading all
of this series from the beginning
I would love to add this book to the
Sally Winkleblech
113. sallyw
I have not read any of these books, but I think I have been missing a very good series. I hope I win, I will be starting on the first book soon.
Patrice Gottfried
114. pkg427
I've read two of her books and really enjoyed them. Looking forward to this one.
Diane Walli
115. dkw1953
I read Louise Penny's first book "Still Life" when it was first published and have been a fan ever since. We were fortunate to have the author make an appearance at our local independent mystery book store several years ago. She is as nice as her books are great!
Thanks for the chance to win.
mary robinson
116. maryro50
This is such a great series. I would love to win this book.
Patricia Bassett
118. pprattico
I love reading the inspector G books...never know what your going to find, and you get caught up in the "angst" of the department....can't wait for this one...hope I win one copy...
Louis Burklow
119. Nash62
Never read a book in this series but I'd be interested in checking out any books that combine procedural and cozy.
120. Mamie Rash
I love Louise Penny and the people who are her characters in these books! Can't wait to read this new one!
Michael Gonzales
121. mchlmlgnz
Louise Perry has been on my to read list, but so far I have not gotten to her. By winning this book then I will have a reason to read her.
Jeffrey Malis
122. bravejam
Great series! Looking forward to reading the latest... Thank you for the opportunity!
teresa sopher
123. tas58
I don`t believe I`ve read any of this series, bu it`s not too late to start..........
erin f
124. efender1
sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing :)
Lynn Jarrett
125. OkieReader
How exciting for her to have another book out!! I am looking forward to winning AND reading this one. Thank you
lynette barfield
127. lynette
Love her books would like to have a copy
Susan Craig
128. twinreader
I take the day off from work when Ms Penny has a new book out. Thanks for the contest.
130. pegkeohane
The inspector is a comforting combination of Columbo and Sherlock Holmes...depends on brains not brawn.
131. Stevief46
Can't wait for this to arrive! Marvelous story teller.
Karen Terry
133. bblol65
I love her. She describes her food that it makes you want to visit Three Pines even though it doesn't exist.
Chris Wolak
134. Chris.Wolak
Read an ARC of this entry in the Gamache series and couldn't put it down! A satisfying wrap up to various threads that have been woven throughout previous books.
Thomas Walker
135. twalker
I would love to win this book. Count me in.
136. Timothy Tocher
I came to the series late with THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, and can't wait to see what happens next to this intriguing cast of characters.
Phoenix Vie
139. Phoenix
One of my favourite series. I've been on pins & needles waiting for this after the way the last book wrapped up.
Elizabeth Bevins
140. @BevinsElizabeth
I need a new series to read. I'd love to try this book. Thanks!
Deb Krenzer
141. Dlkrenzer
I have never read a book by Louise Penny. I know she visits my local bookstore all the time and has a huge following. I would like to win to check her out. Her books I mean. Ha!!!
Gary Anderson
142. gwander
I haven't read any books in this series, but I've added them to my reading list.
Allison Moyer
143. The Loopy Librarian
I haven't yet read a
Gamache novel, but would love to start.
145. Harvee @ Book Dilettante
I love her books and would love to win this new one!
147. Clare
Having read all the previous Inspector Gamache stories, I eagerly await this one. Ms. Penny's characterizations are so good I feel I know all the characters and would be very comfortable settling in Three Pines!
Sue Wright
149. mammjamm18
I love this series.
Thanks for the giveaway!
Vernon Luckert
150. vl4095
Looks like a good read. Would love to win this one!
Patrick Murphy
151. Ditch
Have yet to start this series. Will do so if I win.
Carolyn Dileo
152. cbdileo
Always looking for my next good series!
Starr Greenwell
154. greenhome
I would really love to wi n this one. Thanks!
Rochelle Berger
155. tallcapp
Discovered Louise Penny and Gamache a few months ago and I am in love!
Barbara Lima
156. barblima
Christmas and a mystery, it can't get better!
Linda Peters
157. linnett
another great one to add to my wish list.
glad louise penny is back with another greast inspector gamache mystery novel THANK YOU
Bob Keck
161. ky2here
Sounds like a wonderful book. Je t'aime the Quebec setting.
alicia marie
162. bamayankee
Definitely sounds like something I'd like to read!
Charlee Griffith
163. Possum
I love Inspector Gamache and cannot WAIT to read this!
mary robinson
164. maryro50
I would love to win this book! Thanks!
Linda Rodriguez
165. LindaRodriguez
I love Louise Penny's books and can't wait to read this one! Hurray! More Gamache and Three Pines!
Wayne Lecoy
166. hotrodguy
I entered your giveaway.
It would be great to win an Advance Reader's Copy
of How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny.
Thank you for having this giveaway!!!!!!!!!!
Melissa Keith
168. melly801
A dear friend reads LP and sings her praises. However I haven't read anything by her. This sounds like a great story! HO HO HOPE I WIN!
Anne Sroda
Thanks. Always looking for another good mystery series!
Irene Menge
170. Goldenmane
I haven't had the pleasure of reading any of this series and it sounds as though I've really missed something good. I have added to my TBR list.
Christine Dunbar
171. cdunbar
I looove this series. *fingers crossed*
Jane Schwarz
172. Janeschwarz
Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
Sharon Kaminski
173. casaflamingos
would love this mystery. love to read. thanks, good luck to everyone
175. beedyr
Hi...nice to meet another Doreen (my middle name.) This book sounds very interesting. I really like mysteries and look forward to reading this one. Thanks...
Kathy Fannon
176. Kathy F
Louise is such a delight- and her books even more so!
Anita Yancey
177. yellowrose29
The write up on this book sounds really good. I would love to read it. Thanks for this chance.
178. Angel W
Sounds good!
179. tthompson
After the heart breaking ending of A Beautiful Mystery, I have been anxiously waiting for Lousie's newest novel.
I can't wait to read How the Light Gets In.
Johanna Bouchard
180. JMB89
I read A Trick Of The Light last yr and loved it! Louise Penny has a great writing style. Would love the chance to read this!
David Boyington
182. tardisguy
This sounds like a book that I should check out.
Florry M. D.
183. florryalyna
This book looks so tempting. I would like to have the opportunity to read it.
Karen Cherubino
184. kcherubtx
The blending of genres tend to make the best reads. Loking forward to this one.
Jennifer Lawrence
185. FaithL
Louise Penny always writes eloquently about finding light in the darkness. I am grateful for her spiritual inspiration and cannot wait to read her latest.
Rosemary Krejsa
186. grandpa5
I'm looking forward to reading How The Light Gets In. Louise Penny writes so beautifully with so many twists.
Colleen Welander
187. colleen31
Looks really really good. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Marisa Young
191. Risa
I love this series. Can't wait to read this latest book.
192. Aimala
Louise Penny's books are terrific. I especially love the Inspector Gamache/Three Pines books so I'm looking forward to this new book!
Jo Ann Hakola
193. bkfaerie
So glad to see the inspector back again. I'd love to read this.
Sarah Glenn
194. SarahGlenn
I've read the entire series to my spouse. We're both dying to see the new book.
Mary McCoy
195. kaisquared
This is a great series, looking forward to the new book.
Michael Chin
196. MichaelC
Louise Penny has such a gentle way with her writing. And she's great with sharing what is going on with her life/travels on Facebook too!
197. Marjorie of Connecticut
I'd love to win. I'd love to win. I'd love to win. Thanks.
Sharon Haas
198. kazul
I love this series so much that even the re-reads are great!
Jane Sample
199. jane65
I've had this pre ordered since it was first featured. Can't wait for it, knowing it will be well written and worthy of a raining day in S. Texas.
Barbara Bibel
202. bbibel
Gameche est le meilleuer. Je l'adore!
Renee Grandinetti
204. rsgrandinetti
I love reading thrillers and this one sounds like it would be enjoyable.
fran stur
206. franstur
fabulous! another book in the series! was introduced to these this summer and read them all one after the other. Cant wait to find out what happens next to the Inspector and his group of frineds.
LeAnn Knott
214. knottlady
Though I have not read any of the books in this series, this looks like a good one to start with!!
Susan Smoaks
216. susansmoaks
i can't wait to read this, thanks for the chance to win!
Heather Cowley
217. choochoo
Ah, politics. Will make for interesting reading, for sure!
Brenda Elsner
222. brat52101
Sounds like a great book!!! Count me in!!
Shannon Manville
223. skm5972
Louise Penny and her Gamache series are exceptional. I am amazed with every book that she emerged, full-blown, at a "certain" age. Her books encompass the full range of evil, but Gamache is the pure light of goodness throughout.
Karen Koziczkowski
228. zoom38
Love Crime, Mystery, who done it's... BOOKS... thanks for the chance to READ!
Post a comment