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"The Madness Of Crowds"

by Louise Penny

Library Journal In multi-award-winning Andrews's Murder Most Fowl, Meg Langslow's husband is directing a production of Macbeth even as gung-ho reenactors erect an authentic medieval Scottish military camp nearby, which ends in the murder of the unpleasant filmmaker documenting the reenactment (40,000-copy first printing). A BAFTA and multiple mystery award winner, novelist/filmmaker Claudel limns the current refugee crisis, with the inhabitants of backwater Dog Island refusing to disrupt their age-old way of life when three unidentified bodies wash ashore, deciding instead to bury them. In Edgar Award winner Hirahara's 1944-set Clark and Division, 20-year-old Aki, who has moved with her parents to Chicago after their release from the Manzanar concentration camp in California, refuses to believe that her sister Rose's death is a suicide. Lightning Strike, a prequel to Krueger's "Cork O'Connor" series, features Cork's coming-of age in small-town 1963 Minnesota. In Muller's Ice and Stone, durable PI Sharon McCone is enlisted by the organization Crimes Against Indigenous Sisters when two more Indigenous women are brutally dispatched in what the police refuse to regard as a pattern (25,000-copy first printing). The Madness of Crowds, the next in Penny's sensational "Chief Inspector Gamache" series, sends the chief inspector home to Three Pines, Canada, after a sojourn in Paris. Following Trinchieri's well-received debut, Murder in Chianti, The Bitter Taste of Murder finds former NYPD Nico Doyle comfortably settled in his late wife's Tuscan hometown—until the ruthless wine critic who's just arrived is murdered.

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Publishers Weekly 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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