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A Better Man

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Armand Garmache #15

A brilliantly plotted and fast-paced murder mystery



Its Armand Gamache first day back at the Sûreté after a nine month suspension and being demoted from Chief Superintendent to the Chief Inspector in charge of Homicide. Many, including members of the homicide unit think he shouldn’t be allowed to come back after what he did, and social media is blowing up with opinions.

A twenty-five year-old pregnant woman with an abusive husband, has been missing for several days. Agent Lisette Cloutier, who is a friend of the girls father, unrelentingly and unabashedly begs and even guilts Chief Inspector Beauvoir into taking the case. And for lack of other resources, Beauvoir apologetically requests that Gamache assist Cloutier with the investigation.

As they search for the missing woman, Gamache and Beauvoir, both fathers, find themselves empathizing with the distraught father of the Vivienne Goldin. Both, are haunted by the would you feel if it was your daughter. Gamache even invites Goldin to stay in his own home in Three Pines, during the search.

As rising river and flood waters from the spring thaw and a major storm threaten the Quebec province, drastic measures must be taken to reroute the water. The search for Vivienne must be halted, that is until a body is found . But mistakes are made and it looks like the man who killed Vivienne will go free...

“Consequences,” said Gamache. “We must always consider the consequences of our actions. Or inaction. It won’t necessarily change what we do, but we need to be aware of the effect.”


Author Louise Penny says these books are about community, love, friendship and belonging, But I think A BETTER MAN is about even more than that, it’s also about dedication to the truth, strength and perseverance. It’s an absorbing and delightful fast-paced page turner.

I love Gamache’s character. His stoicism, wisdom and dignity make him the pillar of the story. Penny’s writing once again transports us to the bucolic village of Three Pines and it’s snow-draped trees, homes and river. From her vivid descriptions I could practically feel the freezing water of the swollen, foaming, and ice-laden Bella Bella River, particularly when a member of the Sûreté is submerged.

My favorite part of the read was Gamache’s four statements that he says leads to wisdom..”I was wrong, I’m sorry, I don’t know. And I need help.” And the the questions he says that lead to civility... Is it true? Is it kind? Does it need to be said? He may actually have something there!

Penny’s writing is sophisticated and thrilling and the ending does not disappoint. A BETTER MAN won the Goodreads Choice Award for the Mystery and Thrillers category in 2019.

“How often we made our worst fears come true, by behaving as though they already were.”

Publisher Minotaur Books

Published August 27, 2019

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