LOUISE PENNY’S

A Better Man

(Book 15)

Book Summary

“A Better Man, with its mix of meteorological suspense, psychological insight and criminal pursuit, is arguably the best book yet in an outstanding, original oeuvre.”—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

“Enchanting… one of his most ennobling missions.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny.

It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel…, he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next novel in this “constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves” (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.

What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?

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Excerpt


“Merde.”

“Merde?” Myrna Landers looked over her bowl of café au lait at her friend.

“I’m sorry,” said Clara Morrow. “I meant to say fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck.”

“That’s my girl. But why?”

“Can’t you guess?”

“Is Ruth coming?” Myrna looked around the bistro in mock panic. Or maybe not-somock.

“Worse.”

“That’s not possible.”

Clara gave Myrna her phone, though the bookstore owner already knew what she’d find. Before meeting Clara for breakfast, she’d checked her Twitter feed. On the screen, for the world to see, was the quickly cooling body of Clara’s artistic career.

Audio Excerpt


Reading Group Guide


  • The central conflict of A Better Man rests on the question of what we would do for the ones who we love: “What would you do if…?” “How would you feel if…” How did these questions influence the decisions that Gamache makes in the investigation into Vivienne’s death? Jean-Guy? Should they have done things differently? Would you?
  • When the art critic Dominica Oddly visits Three Pines, she’s initially skeptical, calling it “a little on the nose…pretty but banal.” But the longer she spends there, the more she starts to change her mind. How does this change in perception relate to shifting attitudes about Clara’s art? What does Clara learn about herself from Dominica’s visit?
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