The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny 2021. Minotaur Books. 432 pp.
This is not the book we’ve come to expect from Penny. It is dark, and although there are the usual characters who live in Three Pines, they are not as present and there is little of the usual wit they provide. It does have Penny’s wonderful writing and descriptions which make you feel you are there.
As it begins, Chief Inspector Gamache is asked to provide security for a lecture sponsored by a nearby university. Giving the lecture is Abigall Robinson, and her subject is alarming and controversial, but she is very charismatic and has a large following. Gamache sees trouble and tries to have the lecture canceled, but is not successful.
Of course there is trouble, and eventually murders which Gamache and his officers try to solve. It is complicated by the fact that some of the complications happened years ago, and we are introduced to several new characters. The mystery and plot are rather complex, and the fact that Penny is able to sort it all out is rather amazing.
It wasn’t my favorite Penny book, but I still did enjoy reading it.