(43. - 1068.) All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny - Paris in the fall. Sitting in the sculpture garden of the Musée Rodin, his favourite place in Paris, Armand Gamache reflects back 50 years. His godfather, the industrialist Stephen Horowitz, raised him after the deaths of his parents when he was 9. Horowitz gradually earned the boy’s trust:
And slowly young Armand realized he was safe, would always be safe, with this man. And that he would get to the other side.
As a young man Armand brought Reine-Marie to Paris where he proposed to her. Now they are back in France for the birth of a grandchild. Their daughter, Annie, and her husband, Jean Guy (Armand’s long time second in command) have moved to Paris where Jean Guy has an executive position with a major company.
For the first time readers learn about the Gamache’s son, Daniel. Through the series he has been a far away figure in France. Daniel has been distant from Armand since he was 8 years old. Distance became an emotional “chasm” that became a physical ocean when Daniel moved to Paris. Despite Armand reaching out Daniel has refused to say why.
Armand knows that Daniel resents the depth of his relationship with Jean Guy. Daniel can see a father-son connection between them.
Horowitz, a billionaire, has spent his career between Paris and Montreal. He has a large apartment in the Marais. In addition to being a very successful investor he is well known for calling out corporate frauds such as Enron and Bernie Madoff. (It was interesting the examples used were from America rather than Canada.)
Was it an accident or deliberate when Horowitz is struck by a van in a hit-and-run incident? Armand is certain it was deliberate. His belief is supported by finding there has been a hurried search of Horowitz’s apartment and the discovery of a body professionally slain.
Yet Armand does his best not to tunnel in on his opinion repeating to himself what he warns every young police cadet:
Don’t believe everything you think.
More tendrils with the past are added as Horowitz was born in Germany and spent at least part of the war in Paris. Armand describes him as a “humanist”.
Armand consults the head of the Préfecture of Police, Claude Dussault, a long time friend. Dussault’s second-in- command, Irena Fontaine, greets Armand with the touch of condescension common among Parisians hearing the Québécois accent. Taking over the investigation she grudgingly accepts the presence of the colonials.
I was completely caught up in the story when the lingering scent of a distinctive cologne provides a startling twist in the plot. Even more remarkably the question of the scent undergoes a further, even more clever, twist.
There is a remarkable scene where the Gamache family is interviewed, more accurately interogated, by Comamander Fontaine. It becomes a personal word duel between Fontaine and Armand.
The plot delves into family history to a depth unlike any other in the series. For those readers who have found Armand too perfect there is a scene about the long lasting pain of secrets overheard.
A conspiracy needs to be unraveled in the plot. Penny handles that delicate task well. There is an inexorable building of tension for all of the Gamaches.
We are back to the best of the Gamache series featuring history, relationships and intelligence rather though there are more violent confrontations than needed.