The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At the end of The Long Way Home I wondered what would happen, and by the end of this one, I suspect I know: Gamache has options. And he's not sure retirement's quite the thing for him or Reine-Marie.
There's real-life history here, Project Babylon, something with geopolitical implications, and yet, somehow, this tiny village gets involved. There's also a brilliant play written by a sociopath that is supposed to be produced by the nearby amateur group. Are the two connected? And how many times will we go to the B&B, or hear Ruth and Jean-Guy insult each other? Which of our friends in the Sûreté will make an appearance? There's something comforting about the latter questions, and a little disconcerting about the first one. Because yes, in fact, they are related.
By the end, I have to say that I was feeling some sympathy for Ruth(!) and don't know quite what to do with that feeling. As for the continued intrusion of the outside world into Three Pines, again I don't quite know what to do with that. Unlike, say, Cabot Cover, there's no real reason for so many people to show up - although with each book I'm reminded that this village is a little larger than I remember it being.
Because I don't want to include spoilers, I'll just end with the "hee" moment for me: the people in charge of Project Bablyon (in this book, at least) were Dr. Bull and Dr. Couture. You guess which was the salesperson and which did the designs.