A Rule Against Murder

(Book 4)

Book Summary

A Rule Against Murder, the fourth book in Louise Penny’s award-winning and critical revered mystery series features the wise and beleaguered Inspector Armand Gamache.

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own.

The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

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In the height of summer the guests descended on the isolated lodge by the lake, summoned to the Manoir Bellechasse by identical vellum invitations, addressed in the familiar spider scrawl as though written in cobwebs.

Thrust through mail slots, the heavy paper had thudded to the floor of impressive homes in Vancouver and Toronto, and a small brick cottage in Three Pines.

The mailman had carried it in his bag through the tiny Quebec village, taking his time. Best not to exert yourself in this heat, he told himself, pausing to remove his hat and wipe his dripping head. Union rules. But the actual reason for his lethargy wasn’t the beating and brilliant sun, but something more private. He always lingered in Three Pines.

Audio Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

  • Louise Penny has said that she initially set out to write A Rule Against Murder as a classic mystery, a tribute to Golden Age writers such as Christie and Tey and Sayers, masters of the hermetic environment. She wanted to take that form and bring it into the 21st century. As the story unfolds, in what ways does it follow—or diverge from—the conventions of traditional crime fiction?
  • In the course of the Finney reunion, numerous parent-child relationships are explored: between Charles Morrow and his children when they were young; between Irene Finney and those now adult children; between Pierre Patenaude and his father and the staff he regards as surrogate sons and daughters; even between Gamache and his father and son. What sorts of things go wrong in those relationships, and what goes right?
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