Review: A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

a-rule-against-murderA Rule Against Murder
by Louise Penny
Narrated by Ralph Cosham
Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #4
Genre: Mystery (police procedural)
Published by Blackstone Audio, 2009 (originally published by Minotaur Books, 2008)
Audiobook, purchased
322 pages
10 hours, 52 minutes
Grade: B
Narrator grade: B+
Synopsis: It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family — rich, cultured, and respectable — has also arrived for a celebration of their own.
The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

…the most devastating thing Finney could have said. Not that Peter was hated by his father. But that he’d been loved all along. He’d interpreted kindness as cruelty, generosity as meanness, support as tethers. How horrible to have been offered love, and to have chosen hate instead. He’d turned heaven into hell.


Her tragedy was that she always found men to save her. She never had to save herself. She never knew she could.


  • I liked this book a lot. The narrator is great. I have the next book in the series on audio also and look forward to listening to that when I finally get caught up in this series.
  • This is the first book I’ve read by Louise Penny even though it’s the fourth book in this series. I have to go back and read the first three books now!
  • It’s clear that if I had read the three earlier books I would know some of the characters better in this book.
  • I don’t like the Morrows very well. Especially the mother–Mrs. Finney (she has remarried) and what we hear about the deceased father. The book says she loves her kids, but it’s hard to see. And the rest of the family is pretty unlikable, too.
  • I’m intrigued by all the different ways the family see each other. In this family there is anger, jealousy and self-destructive behavior. They’re all damaged. They are successful on their own, but when they are within their family they can’t seem to cope.
  • I really like both Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache. In this book the reader sees Gamache as both the Chief Inspector and as a husband. Armand and Reine-Marie are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary. It is easy to see the love and happiness they share. We also see Armand attacked by Mrs. Finney for who his father was.
  • I like the differences between French and English Canadians. And the descriptions of this beautiful area in Canada.
  • Mr. Finney is a very quiet figure, easily overlooked, but he has important insights regarding the other characters and events in the book. And he’s an important character to Gamache since he knew Gamache’s father.


  • We are told that both the Morrow mother and father loved their children, but their actions don’t show that at all.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m so happy to find a new police procedural series and especially one set in Quebec.
  • I’ve already read the first book in the series. It’s very good!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Louise Penny is the author of the Inspector Armand Gamache series. The first book was published in 2005 and a new book, the eleventh in the series, is due out in August 2015. She lives in Canada in a small village south of Montreal with her husband and a golden retriever.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

One thought on “Review: A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny”

  1. I’ve seen reviews for a few books in this series and I’m interested, it looks so good. That’s annoying when what the author says and what the author shows contradict each other, thanks for the warning.


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