Revered Canadian writer Louise Penny (A Great Reckoning; The Long Way Home) delivers the 17th Inspector Gamache mystery, The Madness of Crowds. The excellent novel stands alone, although readers will surely wish to enjoy the prior stories.
At home in the bucolic village of Three Pines, Sûreté du Québec Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is celebrating the post-pandemic Christmas holidays with his family when he's unexpectedly called in to work. He's assigned security supervision for a statistician professor's lecture at the nearby university. To his dismay, he discovers the professor espouses a controversial euthanasia theory that has Canadians up in arms, both for and against. When the crowd becomes an angry mob and an assassin fires at the professor, Gamache leaps into action. While searching for the failed shooter, the inspector and his team begin to unravel a snarled skein of events and players, many of whom are acquaintances and friends. When someone close to the professor is murdered, however, it's clear there is much more to the situation than first appeared. The professor's radical theory has raised doubts and violent emotional reactions from everyone in the inspector's close circle, even those with family ties. Now Gamache and his team must question everything about the people they thought they knew well, including themselves.
With a fascinating and tangled plot enhanced by an evocative snowy Canadian landscape, this absorbing novel challenges readers to consider their own stance on larger, societal moral issues while delivering an outstanding mystery. The cast of well-developed characters provides multiple options for the potential killer and will keep readers guessing whodunit until the last page. --Lois Faye Dyer, writer and reviewer