First line: "Up the stairs they raced, taking them two at a time, trying to be as quiet as possible."
As Armand Gamache and Jean Guy Beauvoir recover from a devastating mishap, they each find themselves in an unplanned investigation. Gamache is pulled into a murder investigation in Quebec City while Beauvoir returns to Three Pines to retrace the steps of the hermit's murder and Olivier Brule's subsequent arrest. As these two story lines move forward, flashbacks slowly reveal the mishap that injured both inspectors, physically and psychologically.
Louise Penny continues to raise the stakes with each installment of the Three Pines/Chief Inspector Gamache series. In BURY YOUR DEAD she takes a closer look at the souls of her characters than she has in the previous novels. Series devotees know that Armand Gamache is a good man, a smart man, but in BURY YOUR DEAD he becomes a little more like the average reader. He suffers and makes mistakes and experiences regret. While this is a very important part of the book and it definitely enriches the plot, what truly hooked me in BURY YOUR DEAD, was Penny's development of Beauvoir.
Beauvoir has long intrigued me, but he mostly plays a sideline role in the previous novels. In BURY YOUR DEAD readers get to experience more of Beauvoir's thoughts, instincts and reactions. He is a rich, fascinating character. An outcast in his profession until Gamache recognized a spark of potential and recruited him for his team, Beauvoir is often abrasive and unlikeable. However, he is also smart and devoted to Gamache. Just when you're prepared to dislike him, he does something to win your heart. I enjoyed this extra time with Beauvoir and hope he plays a more substantial role in future books as well.
BURY YOUR DEAD is, like its predecessors, steeped in Penny's unique blend of humor and heartbreak. The characters are all unique, colorful and realistic. The reader can practically feel the heat from the bistro fireplace as he/she is transported to rural Quebec. And in BURY YOUR DEAD Penny shows a little more of the Anglophone versus Francophone conflict and communication barriers present in Quebec:
"'In the entire interview she spoke French and I spoke English. It was like something out of a cartoon. She must think I'm a moron. So far all I've done is grinned and nodded and I think I may have asked whether she's descended from the lower orders.'BURY YOUR DEAD is another splendid effort from Penny. I will, however, caution readers not to pick up BURY YOUR DEAD before having read THE BRUTAL TELLING. Knowing the plot of THE BRUTAL TELLING is important to understanding Beauvoir's plotline in BURY YOUR DEAD.
'Why did you ask that?'
'I didn't mean to. I wanted to ask if she had access to the basement, but something went wrong,' he smiled ruefully. 'I think clarity might be important in a murder case.'
'I think you may be right. What did she say to your question?'
'She got quite upset and said that the night is a strawberry.'"
As with all of the Three Pines novels before it, BURY YOUR DEAD is narrated beautifully by Ralph Cosham. Cosham deftly maneuvers between the French-Canadian characters and the Anglo-Canadian characters. He is conscientious of Penny's humor and enriches it in his reading. He knows the characters and aids readers in entering not only their worlds, but their minds. And BURY YOUR DEAD is his greatest challenge to date as far as the mental and emotional elements are concerned. Cosham makes it sound so easy. In my opinion, this audiobook series truly rates as one of the greatest pairings of narrator and works.
BURY YOUR DEAD is available on unabridged audio from Macmillan Audio (ISBN: 978-1-427-21071-5) and in hardcover from Minotaur (ISBN: 978-0-312-37704-5).