A Trick of the Light is the 7th book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.
Summary: After years of struggling for recognition in the art world, guileless Clara Morrow is finally granted a solo show in a prestigious gallery. The gallery owners and reviewers, once scathingly dismissive of her work, now swarm around her like pretentious piranhas eager for a meal. Clara doesn’t sense the dangerously swirling undercurrents of antagonism until a woman’s body is discovered in her garden.
Chief Inspector Gamache is summoned to the Morrow’s residence. He immediately realizes that this was a murder. Clara and her husband, Peter, have no idea who victim is. The dead woman’s bright red dress and dyed blond hair would have stood out in the gathering of formal, subdued clothing at the gallery and the previous night’s party, yet no one present at either place or in the nearby town of Three Pines remembers seeing her.
But forensics proves that someone at that party killed her. The solution to the mystery is one that will take Gamache and his team of investigators searching deep into the feelings and motives of everyone involved, including themselves.
Comments: The Inspector Gamache novels by Louise Penny are not what I call “an easy read”. The individuals portrayed in the books are deep and flawed, like many of the real people in my own life. Each entry in the series builds on the previous one. Over the course of the series, I feel like I’ve gotten to know the team of detectives and the townspeople a bit too well. It becomes uncomfortable, disturbs my own emotions. I am an outside observer, yet fully drawn in as layer by layer my own preconceptions about the characters are torn away.
I come away from these novels feeling changed somehow. It is a rare novel that does that to me and even more rare in the mystery genre. I could nitpick these books, find fault, but I’m not going to even try.
5 out of 5 books for thoroughly believable world building.