The Madness of Crowds--A Novel

by Penny, Louise

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Instant #1 New York Times BestsellerAARP The Magazine – Recommended Summer ReadingCNN – A Most Anticipated Book of AugustBustle – A Most Anticipated Book of AugustAmazon Book Review – An Editors' Pick for AugustCrimeReads – 5 Must-Read Psychological ThrillersCrimeReads – Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2021Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to Three Pines in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny's latest spellbinding novelYou're a coward.Time and again, as the New Year approaches, that charge is leveled against Armand Gamache. It starts innocently enough. While the residents of the Québec village of Three Pines take advantage of the deep snow to ski and toboggan, to drink hot chocolate in the bistro and share meals together, the Chief Inspector finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request. He's asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. A visiting Professor of Statistics will be giving a lecture at the nearby university. While he is perplexed as to why the head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec would be assigned this task, it sounds easy enough. That is until Gamache starts looking into Professor Abigail Robinson and discovers an agenda so repulsive he begs the university to cancel the lecture.They refuse, citing academic freedom, and accuse Gamache of censorship and intellectual cowardice. Before long, Professor Robinson's views start seeping into conversations. Spreading and infecting. So that truth and fact, reality and delusion are so confused it's near impossible to tell them apart.Discussions become debates, debates become arguments, which turn into fights. As sides are declared, a madness takes hold. Abigail Robinson promises that, if they follow her, ça va bien aller. All will be well. But not, Gamache and his team know, for everyone.When a murder is committed it falls to Armand Gamache, his second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and their team to investigate the crime as well as this extraordinary popular delusion. And the madness of crowds.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Planning her seventeenth Armand Gamache novel, Penny realized that she couldn't ignore the pandemic, but how to write about it without rehashing the all-too-familiar horrors? Her solution was to set the story after the virus had been contained in Canada, but, as she explains in an afterword, "the bruising remained." It begins when Chief Inspector Gamache is ordered to provide security for a lecture by controversial statistics professor Abigail Robinson, who argues that further pandemics can be eliminated by a program of mandatory euthanasia targeting at-risk groups, including the elderly and the disabled. The Canadian government rejects the idea, but as Robinson speaks around the country, she begins to gain public support (along with violent opponents). When an attempt on the professor's life at the lecture Gamache is working causes a near-riot, and, later, in the wake of a related murder, Gamache realizes that "the madness of crowds" could be the most dangerous side effect of the pandemic. Always a master plotter, Penny brilliantly combines this main story line with a profusion of subplots that bring together multiple interconnected themes, all raising thought-provoking questions about ethics and human relationships in a post-COVID world. Gamache's longtime belief in our common humanity is severely tested here, but, finally, it is that belief and the actions deriving from it that seem to offer the only balm for our lingering bruises. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Millions of readers will find that picking up a new Gamache novel is the perfect way to celebrate the easing of a pandemic."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Might a post-Covid Canada value individual lives less? That provocative question's at the heart of bestseller Penny's brilliant 17th whodunit featuring Sûreté du Québec Chief Insp. Armand Gamache (after 2020's All the Devils Are Here). Gamache, who has been devastated to learn that nursing homes were abandoned during the pandemic, leaving the vulnerable residents to die alone, is discomfited to be asked to provide security for a lecture by a controversial figure, statistician Abigail Robinson. After analyzing the pandemic's social and economic fallout for the Canadian government, Robinson concluded that the health care system and the economy would be in good shape, if only the elderly and infirm were euthanized so everyone else could have adequate resources. The government disclaimed her findings, but her views have proven disturbingly popular among a segment of the population. Gamache saves Robinson from an assassin's bullet at the talk, but a related murder in his home village of Three Pines follows. Seamlessly integrating debates about scientific experimentation and morality into a fair-play puzzle, Penny excels at placing her characters in challenging ethical quandaries. This author just goes from strength to strength. Agent: David Gernert, Gernert Company. (Aug.)"
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Additional Information
Subjects Mystery
Publisher St. Martin's Publishing Group2021
Language English
ISBN 9781250145284