A Better Man

A Better Man

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter. As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search. As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2019
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781250066213
Branch Call Number: PEN
Characteristics: 437 pages ; 25 cm

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j
janerf
Jan 21, 2020

Loved this one. I had my ideas about whodunnit, but we're kept guessing, there are so many ways for people to do bad things to each other.
I loved Penny's heroic description of an extreme weather event, describing things to come, a hundred-year flood every 2 years. We need more artists telling us what to expect, how to react, how to treat each other in crisis.
I am unencumbered with preconceptions about Quebecoise (?!) French pronunciation and spelling or misspelling. (Misspelt...?!?) But then, I listen to the audio books, read by one (two!) of the best book readers out there. Needless fowl language, well, it seems to me that the speech patterns of various individuals are pretty realistic. But I ain't got it piled higher or deeper, just an MS... I would like to know more about Billy's dialect that Armand can't understand. Reminds me of my friend, Guy Ray, from rural Al'bama; took me almost a year to not need his speech decoded for me. (BTW, listening to the first audio books, I imagined Jonghi to be Pakistani.)

s
ShastaCat
Jan 17, 2020

After loving Louise Penny's books, this one is a disappointment - pages of overwrought sentiments on character's emotions which have already been dealt with to excess in previous books. Refer to it, but let's move on. The mystery itself is blah and only gains momentum at the very end. Louise Penny writes so well and has incorporated beautiful insights about art and poetry into her books; but I may not be able to stomach her books in the future if she continues in this vein.

v
velvetcactus
Dec 21, 2019

I have enjoyed many in the series particularly because that's my neck of the woods. But the foul language is superfluous and the French often misspelt. And they stop the flow of good read. I still read 'Marie-Reine' in my head because that is the usual format for a woman's name.
It concerns me that the reviews point to her changing her writing style otherwise. I will keep my fingers crossed and hoped for the best!

s
scm42
Dec 14, 2019

As much as I have always enjoyed visiting my friends in Three Pines, this time I left feeling a bit disappointed. After what felt like unnecessary wanderings down too many paths only to finish with a disappointing, last minute tidying up of many loose ends made for an emotional let down. Perhaps next visit will be better?

j
joeydog5
Dec 13, 2019

Thought this was one her better Gamache books. Her books may be “twee” but I love revisiting “my friends” in Three Pines, especially on a winter night.

s
suzski
Dec 04, 2019

Can't wait for the next book - I want to live in Three Pines. Foodies winter paradise.

PimaLib_ChristineR Dec 03, 2019

Have you ever had a word you didn't even know you knew, pop into your head? While I was reading A Better Man, the word "twee" kept floating around in my brain. I looked it up. It is actually a word and means, according to the Collins Dictionary, "excessively sentimental, sweet, or pretty." And unfortunately, it fits A Better Man to a T. Along with "plotless" and "tired."

In the opening pages we are subjected to a "Gamache moment" that encompasses the increasing problem of his character. First someone will misunderstand how brilliant, compassionate and faithful Gamache is. Then that person will be set straight by others, or circumstances, to realize that yes, Gamache really is that brilliant, compassionate and faithful, with a side of rose and sandalwood. Only this time it isn't just one person, it appears that the entire internet is ablaze with hate for Gamache. They misunderstand him. They doctor videos of him. Is there any resolution there? Any lesson to be learned? There is not. And it isn't only Gamache. The entire village of Three Pines is varnished with the same saccharine brushstrokes. These characters and places we love have become caricatures of themselves.

The murder mystery itself is pretty good and would have made quite an interesting short story, but there was so much else going on, that I actually had to go back and reread the denouement because I had already forgotten who had done it and why. Most of the book feels like rabbit trails. An analysis of social media? Dropped. Clara's art career? Handled almost as unbelievably as the drug situation in her last novel. The flood of the century? Disappears mid-novel with no further mention. Looking back at my thoughts on the book, I think it is fair to say that her editors allowed Penny to wallow in every overly-sentimental trough to which she has been drawn in the past, and it didn't do her any favors. The first moment she decided she wanted to use an excerpt from Moby Dick as her running motif, the editors should have pulled hard on the reins. Instead we're left with this overdrawn, overblown story, the inverse of Clara's hated miniature portraits. I can only hope that like Clara, Penny will realize she's put out a novel unworthy of her talents and correct course.

2
21221018293347
Nov 28, 2019

What isn't there to like about Armand Gamache, Beauvoir, and the team, as well as favourite inhabitants of Three Pines. Right when you think the story will end, there is another 1/2 book more as evidence is thrown out of court. Back to the grindstone for our favorite homicide detectives. Engaging, fast paced, and room for another book to follow as Beauvoir and Annie make plans to move to Paris.

d
DeltaLady
Nov 13, 2019

I got through the book but with all the short, choppy, non-grammatical sentences I almost felt short of breath reading it. So annoying.

l
lpreston214
Nov 03, 2019

Several reviewers didn't like this installment in Penny's Inspector Gamache series. I thought it was one of her best. While there was some politics etc. Most of the time spent on an actual crime and trying to solve it. I did figure out who had dunnit but there were lots of twists and turns getting there. I loved it. Kind of getting back to basics. I love the author's aphorisms. In this book we learned three questions you should ask yourself before speaking: "is it true?" "is it kind?" "does it need to be said?". Wise words. Also as for how it turned out I could not help thinking of Captain Kirk's decision to take a demotion so he could be captain of the Enterprise again. It leaves a feeling that all's right with the world.

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