Canadian mystery novelist Louise Penny and her Inspector Gamache series set in Three Pines, Quebec is a matter of taste. It is a very successful series but after reading three of these mystery novels I fail to be impressed. My constant peeve with the Three Pines series is the story plods along and is too long for its own good. Some readers might be interested in the lives of the colorful inhabitants of Three Pines but there is only so much local color this reader can take before overdosing on it.

In The Nature of the Beast a young boy is murdered. Retired Detective Inspector Gamache, formerly of the Surete du Quebec, manages to get involved in the investigation. It seems there is, of all plausible things, a link to the notorious Gerald Bull, inventor of the Project Babylon supergun.

Just when the reader starts feeling the narrative molasses take hold, there is a second murder to liven things up a bit. Unfortunately it serves to lengthen the narrative. Throw in some innocuous looking CSIS agents, lots of local characters who are all colorful of course, and many discussions and meetings between just about everybody in the village.

In addition, there is a secondary story about the local playhouse putting on a new play by some infamous criminal. This is something that has the villagers up in arms.

After a while, one pretty much ceases to care about this mystery. The Gerald Bull supergun plot line farts along at glacial pace while Louise Penny drops little tidbits of useless info here and there to make it appear as if the story is moving along and that she did some internet research on the topic.

The Nature of the Beast is one of those mystery novels some will read to the end just because they invested time in it to start with. You know who you are. Others will drop it midway and not feel sorry they did.

The Nature of the Beast is the eleventh Inspector Gamache Three Pines mystery novel. If you are interested in discovering this series skip this one and try a used paperback version of another.

The Nature of the Beast
An Inspector Gamache mystery
Louise Penny
Minotaur 2015

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