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Cover image for Kingdom of the blind
Kingdom of the blind
Large print edition.
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018.
Physical Description:
635 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder. None of them had ever met the elderly woman. The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane? When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing. But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing. The investigation into what happened six months ago--the events that led to his suspension--has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception. Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers. As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.


Call Number
Penny, L.
LP Penny, L. Kingdom

On Order



A #1 New York Times Bestselling AuthorAn Indie Next PickA Kirkus Reviews' Best PickA LibraryReads PickA Kirkus Reviews' Best PickA LibraryReads Hall of Fame WinnerA Chief Inspector Gamache NovelWhen Armand Gamache receives a peculiar invitation to an abandoned farmhouse, he discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and learns that none of the three executors had ever met the elderly woman . . .

Author Notes

Louise Penny was born in Toronto, Canada in 1958. She earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Radio and Television) from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in 1979. Before she turned to writing mystery novels in 2004, she was a journalist and radio host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in various cities across Canada for 25 years. She writes the Chief Inspector Gamache Novel series. She has won numerous awards including the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards for Still Life and the 2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel for A Fatal Grace.

Louise's title, The Long Way Home, made the Hot Mystery Title's List for Summer 2014. Her titles The Nature of the Beast made The New York Times best seller list in 2015 and A Great Reckoning made The New York Times best seller list in 2016.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestseller Penny's insightful, well-plotted 14th novel featuring Chief Supt. Armand Gamache finds him on suspension from the Sûreté du Québec following events that unfolded in 2017's Glass Houses. No matter the suspension, Gamache becomes embroiled in a murder case when he and psychologist-turned-bookseller Myrna Lander are enlisted to be executors for a stranger's will, and one of the key beneficiaries winds up dead. Over the course of the investigation, Penny offers intriguing commentary on the willful blindness that can keep people from acknowledging the secrets and lies in their own lives. For series fans, plenty of time is spent in the mystical village of Three Pines, and it's refreshing to have a spotlight shine on Myrna, one of the most relatable of the village's denizens. A secondary plot involving a rogue shipment of opioids in Montreal comes to a satisfactory close. Penny wraps up some continuing story lines and sends recurring characters in surprising directions in this solid installment. 600,000-copy announced first printing. Author tour. Agent: Teresa Chris, Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

The Chief Superintendent of the Sret du Qubec finds himself in a unique position: He's tangled up in the life of a recently deceased woman, and it doesn't involve her murder.As the first snowflakes of a major storm start to fall, Chief Superintendent Gamache is standing in front of a crooked house in the middle of the woods, unsure of whom he will find inside. Curiosity is what brings him here after receiving a vague invitation in the mail. But is there danger waiting beyond the door? It's what Gamache has been trained to anticipate. Currently suspended from his Sret post during the investigation into the controversial events of Glass Houses (2017), Gamache must remember he's here on unofficial business. He and two others who arrive at the house learn that they've been named executors of a will belonging to a woman they never knew in life. Stranger still, the woman, who called herself the Baroness, has left millions to her three children, money everyone is shocked to hear about. Her secretiveness was fueled by generations of family bitterness and resentment. And though it may seem like Gamache has all the time in the world to dive into this dark history, his attention is in fact divided: The deadly opioid that slipped untraced into Montreal under Gamache's watch is expected to hit the streets any daya most unsettling thought. Penny reveals a deeper vulnerability in the introspective Gamache; is it possible he's not quite sure of himself anymore? A theme of desperation plays out in both story arcs, as characters from all walks of life move between hope and despair and traverse the fine line that separates them. The main mystery pales in comparison to Gamache's interior story, and the decisions he makes are sure to raise a few eyebrows. Moral duty has been synonymous with our hero, but Penny seems to be pushing her characters in new directions with this installment: "[Gamache] considered his options and the atrocity he was about to commit." The ending is adrenaline-filled but, no, not because of the mysterious will.This starts as a small-town mystery and becomes something grander and more frightening; Penny has upped her thrills-to-pain au chocolat ratio. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In this fourteenth episode of Penny's celebrated Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, the cumulative effect of past events has imbued the entire cast with an ever-deepening sense of the perilous nature of life, creating an internal landscape that stands in stark but richly meaningful contrast to the wood-smoke-infused calm we've come to expect from the series' primary setting, the Quebec village of Three Pines. The past not only hangs heavily on the residents of Three Pines; it also drives the crimes that Gamache, now suspended from his position as head of the Sûreté du Québec, investigates. That is especially true this time, in an episode with tentacles stretching deep into European and familial history tentacles that, once untangled, reveal how generations of secrets have led to murder. It begins with Gamache being named by a complete stranger as an executor of her extremely odd will; when the decrepit home where the will was read collapses shortly thereafter, and a body is found in the rubble, Gamache feels the grip of the past once more. The more-recent past also has its own tentacles encircling Gamache's exposed flesh. The unsanctioned plan to bring down a drug cartel was successful in its primary goal but also left a deadly opioid on the street, which resulted in the chief's suspension. Now Gamache has gone rogue, instigating an even more audacious scheme to seize the drugs. Few mystery writers intertwine the personal lives of their characters with the crimes being investigated more skillfully than Penny does, and she is at her best here, as several key players face turning points in their lives, suggesting that if the past can strangle the present, it can also help clear the way for the future. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Penny's series and its central character are beloved by mystery readers and librarians.--Bill Ott Copyright 2018 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

The pretty Canadian village of Three Pines is slumbering peacefully through the "long, long, dark, dark, Québec winter" in Louise Penny's latest mystery, KINGDOM OF THE BLIND (Minotaur, $28.99), when it is suddenly hit by a blizzard. The temperature drops to a chilling minus 35 degrees, snow blankets the village green and neighbors trudge through the towering drifts to warm themselves by the fireside at the local inn. But while the setting is entrancing, everyone knows that, "in the countryside, winter was a gorgeous, glorious, luminous killer." And to prove that point, an old farmhouse collapses under the snow, trapping someone inside. Luckily, Armand Gamache, chief superintendent of the Sureté du Québec, is on the scene to deliver comfort and establish order. "He relied on, and trusted, both his rational mind and his instincts," Penny says of her avuncular detective, who is surely one of the most endearing specimens of his kind. But there is no shortage of appealing characters in this series, from Ruth Zardo, an aged and delightfully rude poet and her equally foulmouthed pet duck, to Bertha, the cleaning woman, who may very well be the titled baroness she calls herself. Typical of this author, the core mystery is a delicate matter and rather sad, something that draws the villagers closer together instead of tearing them apart. When Penny wants to darken the story, she shifts the action from the pristine village of Three Pines to inner-city Montreal, where the streets are vile. "Never safe. Never clean_Darker, filthier. Clogged with excrement, puke." Here, she picks up a grittier subplot involving a young cadet who's on the verge of being expelled from the Sureté Academy. Should the girl have been admitted in the first place? Gamache pointedly asks the academy's commander. "A stoned former prostitute junkie who's dealing opioids in the academy?" he responds. "Are you kidding? She's a delight." Not a delight, exactly, but another outstanding - and completely unexpected - character in a constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves. Arthur Bryant has written his memoirs - and a jolly good yarn they make, too. In bryant & MAY: HALL OF MIRRORS (Bantam, $27), Christopher Fowler transports crotchety Bryant and his suave sleuthing partner, John May, back to the 1960s, when those two old dears were mere youngsters, just starting out in the hippy-dippy days of "Swinging London." ("This is so groovy!" May observes of a colorful Canal Carnival in Camden Town.) As the only detectives in the Peculiar Crimes Unit, the partners are entrusted to watch over Monty Hatton-Jones, the key witness in a court case against a shady developer whose latest high-rise venture collapsed, killing some unfortunates. When their flighty charge takes off for a weekend at a country estate, the sleuths find themselves in a manor house mystery amusingly fitted out with chilly aristocrats, their family art collections (the Gainsborough and the Reynolds are quality goods, but "the PreRaphaelites are vulgar and virtually unsaleable") and their hereditary ghosts. As always in this series, this one's a lark. Ever since Oedipus, literary heroes have been searching for - or running from - their fathers, a theme that still bedevils many a mystery story. Joe Talbert Jr., the protagonist of Allen Eskens's prodigal son novel, the shadows WE HIDE (Mulholland, $27), follows that classic route, only to discover that the man he believes to have been his father was a nasty human being: a brutal husband, an unfit father and, as one person in the know puts it, "a jerk." Being in sore need of professional redemption, Talbert, a young reporter facing a defamation suit, hardly needs to hear this. While he comes off second best in a humiliating bar fight, he gets another chance to prove his manhood by standing up to a family of white supremacists and eventually solving his own father's murder. And because we're now living in a brave new world where manhood is defined in broader, more humanitarian terms, Talbert proves himself a true hero by the loving care he extends to a younger brother with special needs. Every detective has a case that haunts him. For the Chicago cops Hank Purcell and Marvin Bondarowicz, that would be the "dead kid in the suitcase" whose broken body epitomizes "some kind of evil that was one-of-a-kind, fresh and original down to its buttons." In writing SUITCASE CHARLIE (Kasva Press, paper, $14.95), John Guzlowski was inspired by a true crime that horrified his city in 1955 and retains the power to shock us today. Even the hardbitten police lieutenant in charge of the fictionalized case is shaken by the singular brutality of the unknown killer. "And when you find him," he tells his officers, "I want you to hurt him." The sheer cruelty of the case's multiple murders demands coarse language, at which Guzlowski excels. But in describing the saintly Sisters of St. Joseph nuns who live near the murder scene as "tough broads, eyes like razors," he lets us know that, back in the day, the city of Chicago was an all-around rough town. Marilyn stasio has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

Library Journal Review

In the 14th book in Penny's popular series (after Glass Houses), Armand -Gamache seems to have hardened in the aftermath of taking down the drug cartels and the disappearance of deadly opioids in the previous book. He abandons Amelia Choquet and seems indifferent to the outcome of an investigation of the drug raid. A strange letter results in a snowbound meeting at a broken-down farmhouse that leads to Gamache, bookstore owner Myrna, and an eccentric young builder being named executors of the will of a woman they barely knew. The two stories wind back and forth, touching on the growing opioid epidemic, treasures stolen by the Nazis, the nature of loyalty, and the communal strength of Three Pines. Penny is a master at blending the modern evils affecting the big city and the hidden secrets of the almost mythical village of Three Pines. Well-known characters return and new faces add richness to a narrative that will keep readers intrigued until the last page. VERDICT Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, 5/14/18.]-Terry Lucas, Shelter Island P.L., NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.