I am reading the latest Penny book in the Inspector Gamache series, Nature of the Beast. I first became hooked on this series because of the book club. Still Life was Penny's first book. In this book a 9 year old child, with a vivid imagination, from the village of Three Pines has been murdered. The Surete du Quebec is in Three Pines to investigate this murder that was set up to appear as if it were an accident.
After reading every one of Penny's books, the characters have become like familiar friends. The usual quirky characters are present such as Ruth, the crazy poet; Myra, the psychologist turned bookseller; Clara, the insecure and talented artist; Gabri and his partner Olivier, owners of the local Bistro/guest house. Some of the characters from the Surete that we met in previous books are present to investigate the murder; Beauvoir and Lacoste. My guess is that the new, young, arrogant officer Favreau, introduced in this book,may appear in a future book in the series.
Right now I am on page 109 and this murder mystery has now led me into the world of Project Babylon, a supergun created by Gerald Bull, with links to Saddam Hussein and the biblical Whore of Babylon. The "OMG" moment is that this supergun and Canadian-born Gerald Bull and the link to Saddam Hussein are factual. Fascinating.
Penny likes to sprinkle literary references in her books; usually poems. This one has references to songs, poetry, and to biblical verses. "By the waters of Babylon...." words from the Bible come up often. The biblical words put to song by a Jamaican group, the Melodians, is a favorite of mine.
Fans of Louise Penny, you will enjoy this interview with the writer.