This is the second novel by Louise Penny, featuring her main character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of the story is set in the Eastern Townships, a large area east of Montreal originally settled by Loyalists, so there is a greater proportion of English-speaking people there than in other parts of the province. Penny uses fictitious locations that have general features of the real towns and villages in the area, and her Lake Blume is akin to the real Lac Brome which is famous for its duck.
The story is well constructed with a series of interesting twists and turns and features interesting characters, even the ones you love to hate. I would have preferred a little bit more complexity and some parallel plot lines, but it was still an engrossing read and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Gamache searches for the murderer of a woman electrocuted on a frozen lake, while attending a community curling match. How could someone sitting on a garden chair in a lake come into contact with electricity and die from it? How is that linked to the death of an old bag-lady in downtown Montreal? And how can a picturesque, lovely small town be repeatedly the setting for serious crime? Well, terror can lie beneath any surface, no matter how beautiful or tranquil it may seem…
Penny, Louise. Dead Cold. Headline, London: 2006. (also published as A Fatal Grace)