Ring the bells that still can ringForget your perfect offeringThere is a crack in everythingThat’s how the light gets in.
This refrain from singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s song, Anthem is the title inspiration for Louise Penny’s ninth Inspector Gamache mystery. The song resonates with weariness, disillusionment, and a faint thread of hope that all is not irredeemably lost. It is also the state of Armand Gamache’s spirit.
How the Light Gets In is a masterful blending of a mystery and the ultimate battle between good and evil. I realize that sounds melodramatic, but the war Gamache has been fighting against the corrupt and malignant power seekers that are taking over the Montreal police force is not just for his own vindication but for the members of his former team as well.
Retreating to the iconic village of Three Pines, the site of many of his cases, he is aware that in claiming its shelter he is jeopardizing both its inhabitants and the spirit of the village. That which makes it the best – the only – place for him to go is what makes it so vulnerable. But when he asks for their help, no one turns away and the battle begins. What follows is a modern, cyber-world shootout at the OK corral; and it is as exciting as the original!
One of the reasons I enjoy mysteries is the satisfaction of having the crime solved and, often, some type of justice or resolution. Penny’s Gamache series always provides that, but the man and his world add an extra layer with a thought-provoking moral or spiritual dilemma. It’s not preachy or sanctimonious, but just a man trying his best to live a decent, honest life despite his own vulnerabilities and a world peopled with flawed characters acting out their own agendas for good or evil.