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A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Gamache, 4)

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I don’t think he’s going to murder anyone (though I don’t have a crystal ball, hahahaha) – I think if he were, it would have been his father or Julia, and those ships have sailed. The Morrows, each and every one of them watching with horror from the safety of the ground, now understand who killed their daughter, their sister. The name originated in the Sudan and is used to describe winds that occur in arid regions throughout the world including the Aribian peninsula, Kuwait, Australia, and parts of the United States. As the Morrows begin to suspect one another, as every family member seems to have motive – most likely the need for money – the Gamaches head to Three Pines to celebrate both Canada Day and their wedding anniversary, July 1.

Tiny bloodsucking bugs, spiders and snakes and animals in the forests, rotten wiring behind walls made from tree trunks for God’s sake. The last had been said about her, on her wedding day, as she’d walked down the aisle smiling and joyful on her father’s arm. The Finney/Morrow tribe is beset by secrets and lies, and the family members dislike each other intensely. And Chef Veronique turns out to be a Canadian national treasure – a former nun and celebrity chef with a highly popular cooking show back in the day. Book Four of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, "A Rule Against Murder", unlike the previous books, is not set in the picturesque Quebecois village of Three Pines (although the protagonists do pay Three Pines a visit).The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming.

Most of the characters could not remember the visual image on an intellectual level because they were children when the Chef was on TV but remember how much better she made them feel when they were sick. It was impossible at the time to flout it too much when pitching, as a publicist never wants to point too much to a single motive when pitching mysteries. It becomes clear that the Morrow’s and the Finney’s family portraits could well serve as a portrayal for the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary definition of “dysfunctional”. In the prologue, we meet the magnificent Manoir Bellechasse and its many makers, and its troublesome history before being turned into the finest auberges in Quebec.They were loved and could have had affectionate family bonds, but instead they rejected Paradise and were jealous and envious of each other. Marianna Morrow: The interloper sibling who seems a cross between a hippy and a slob is actually by far the most successful of the bunch. What was to come of that conversation was one of the most rewarding relationships I’ve found since becoming a publicist. Even after firing Martin, Pierre’s father felt guilty so he gave him a large chunk of his personal fortune to invest. And then there is Gamache's second in command, Jean Guy Beauvoir, who intrigues me with his inner thoughts and outer appearance of natty-ness.

Gamache and Reine-Marie, following a decades-long tradition, have arrived at the Manoir Bellechasse to celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary. His head is bowed, and although he’s about to say something, whatever he’s seeing has literally turned him to stone.

The author went a little over the top here with their verbal nastiness to each other and everybody else. I thought that moving the action out of Three Pines would make me grumpy, but instead it made me feel, more than ever, that I want to live in Three Pines because Manoir Bellechasse is close for those times I need to get away from the hectic hustle and bustle of Three Pines (snort). Irene Finney insists that she must see her daughter—a request to which Gamache eventually relents later in the day after the Sûreté de Quebec arrive—and she sees with utter horror her first daughter, killed inexplicably by the statue of her late husband. Julia in particular is dreading it, and during an illicit smoke outside one evening, she confides to Gamache that her family makes her miserable. So much so, that she wanted a statue erected for her late husband Charles, who passed away eighteen years before.

There are many parents, male and female, who have physical handicaps who do not let that stand in the way of loving their children.After a significant storm, the body of Julia Martin is found under the sculpture, though it is not entirely clear what might have happened. It's the one that takes place in the lodge out in the wilderness and there are snotty rich people there while Gamache and his wife, Reine Marie, are celebrating their anniversary. They interview each family member, the crane company man who mounted the statue, as well as the artist of the statue himself. Gamache is a tall, courtly, cultured man who quotes poetry, and whom we’ve enjoyed meeting during murder investigations in the small village of Three Pines (the other side of a distant hill from the lake. Pierre more likely would have been enraged by an insensitive comment by Julia and bashed her over the head with a silver tray.

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