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All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny. Minotaur Books 2020. 434 pp.

This book is different in that it it takes place in Paris. That is because Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie have gone there to meet with Stephen Horowitz. Steven is Armand’s godfather and the man who raised him after his parents died when he was nine years old. Also in Paris are the Gamache’s children – Daniel and his wife and two girls, and their daughter Annie and her husband Jean-Guy who is now working in Paris. Annie is expecting their second child in the not too distant future.

After they have all dined out together and are leaving the restaurant, Steven is struck down by a car which then speeds off. He is now in the hospital in a coma, fighting for his life and Gamache is convinced that this was deliberate and not just an accident. Now starts the beginning of this mystery.

This novel takes you all over Paris and introduces you to so many diverse characters. There are so many twists and turns and you can never quite decide who are the good guys and who the bad. Of course – in the end – everything is sorted out and the “bad” are brought to justice. I am still just a little confused about a few things that happened.

I was excited to hear that there was a new Louise Penny novel since she is one my favorite authors, but although well worth reading, it was not my favorite. The rapport that the whole Gamache family has with each other is part of its charm, but I missed Three Pines where so many of her other novels took place. Not to worry though, because there were already hints of elements of what’s to come in what I’m sure will be another Louise Penny. 

      –  C.M.

Certainty by Madeline Thien, Granta Publications 2017. 306 pp.

The story in this book begins in Vancouver, Canada where some of the survivors in the story are living now. They are having dinner together and discussing what it was like when they were living in Sandakan, British North Borneo.

The story switches back to 1941 when the Japanese invaded Borneo. At that time, Mathew, one of the main characters, was six years old. He and his friend, Ani, hid from the soldiers. It was a terrifying time for those living in this lovely small city. In 1945, the war was over, but the effect would last forever. There are a number of characters in this book who are memorable: Mathew and Ani, of course, Clara who marries Mathew, Ansel who becomes a doctor, Gail, Mathew’s daughter, and many more.

I especially enjoyed this book because I was born in Sandakan, long before the war, of course. 

          – P.M .

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