The Madness of Crowds

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
the madness of crowds book cover

Louise Penny 2021

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache/Three Pines Series #17

The pandemic is over and Inspector Armand Gamache and his team are, as always, hard at work. In a story that includes actual historical events and figures, Ms. Penny has placed the Top Three of the Homicide Division of the Sûreté du Québec in the challenging position of guarding a controversial personage at a rally promoting a strategy that threatens the lives of those close to Gamache’s heart.

(The reader needs to suspend their disbelief that a Provincial police force would consider it sound policy to deploy all three to such as tinderbox. Large-scale violence and panic are likely, which puts the lives of Gamache, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Isabelle Lacoste at risk.)

Things happen at the rally, as predicted. As expected, they continue to happen after the rally. As a result, Gamache works to solve an attempted murder, a murder, a suicide that could be a murder, and a murder. He is faced with evil masquerading as good while good wears the face of evil, and he is lied to at every turn.

I’ve rated The Madness of Crowds at 3.5 stars; I enjoyed my latest visit to Three Pines, and “Downton Abbey” actor Robert Brathurst delivers another beautifully narrated work, but the endless discussions of possible murder scenarios, as well as Riene-Marie Gamache’s highly improbable involvement in her husband’s case through her own work as a consultant, led me to rate this book a little lower than past installments.

Because there are more references to past books in the series than usual, you might want to read the books in order – or at least, read Bury Your Dead, or even find a summary of the book online to get some background on one of the main characters.

Here’s a little YouTube video in which Louise Penny explains how she created the character of Armand Gamache and the village of Three Pines; it’s not long, and you might enjoy it:

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