How the Light Gets In (Book 9)

Book Summary

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” —Leonard Cohen

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna’s reluctance to reveal her friend’s name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo. As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines, and at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?

Cultural Reference Discussion

Join us in a discussion around a creative work of cultural significance from this book.

Cultural Inspirations from How the Light Gets In

“ . . . finally, I’d like to thank Leonard Cohen. The book is named after an excerpt from his poem/song — ‘Anthem.’” (Louise Penny, Acknowledgements, How the Light Gets In)

Cohen, a Canadian like Louise, passed away last November and was hailed by Nick Cave as “the greatest songwriter of them all.” Anthem appeared on his 1992 album, The Future, but the song was a long time coming. It took Cohen 10 years to write and he reflected late in life on how much the song meant to him, “There’s not a line in it that I couldn’t defend.”

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The Nature of the Feast Archive

In 2016, we cooked our way through the Inspector Gamache series. Every two weeks we posted a recipe from the world of Three Pines and opened a discussion around that recipe. The archive of the recipe and discussion can be found in The Nature of the Feast Archive page.

The Real Place Archive

In 2015, we (virtually) visited some of the real places that inspired Louise Penny in writing the Inspector Gamache series. Every two weeks we posted a new essay, photos, and opened a discussion about a real place that is the inspiration behind a fictional place in each of the books. The archive of the place and discussion for HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN can be found in The Real Place Archive page.

The Re-Read Archive

In 2014, we hosted a re-read of the Inspector Gamache series, books 1–10, guided by questions from longtime Gamache fans and guest bloggers. We have an ongoing discussion currently underway in The Bistro, and you can find the archive of the re-read for HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN in The Re-Read Archive pages, which includes a video from Louise.