Louise Penny, A Fatal Grace: A Three Pines Mystery, St Martins Minotaur, NY, 2007
There is a character in this book so unlikeable that I actually hoped she'd be the dead character, and not the murderer. She's cruel and stupid, and turns out to be the mother of a child clearly damaged by that relationship.
The story is set in the village of Three Pines in Québec's Eastern Townships, close to Montreal, with side trips to Montréal. Armand Gamach and Jean Guy Beauvoir, and the obnoxious Agent Nicol return to this second book in Penny's series. The people who live in the village also return, with a focus on three very old women, long time friends and generally old dears.
Penny is very good at presenting a believable complex plot to her reader, and staying with each of the threads as she carefully unravels the tale. However, I still don't understand anything that Billy says. Like other characters, it seems possible that his speaking will be explained at some time in the future, and I feel perfectly comfortable just accepting that Billy is a part of the story, and my patience will be rewarded.
In this 2nd book we do find out about what happened in the Arnot case - which had been mentioned in the 1st book in the series, and then again early in this one. Gamache is a man of prinicples, strong ones, that make him the character he is, a man with a strong moral compass, which leads him to do the right thing.
I've got 2 more Penny novels, but I am a person who likes to read a series in order, and I have to find which is the third book, and locate a copy before I press on. In the meantime, there are other books to read.