The Madness of Crowds (17th DCI Gamache) by Louise Penny #20booksofsummer21 #20booksofsummer

Coming 24 August

Book blurb

The incredible new book in Louise Penny’s #1 bestselling Chief Inspector Gamache series.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is asked to provide crowd control at a statistics lecture given at the Université de l’Estrie in Quebec, he is dubious. Why ask the head of homicide to provide security for what sounds like a minor, even mundane lecture?

But dangerous ideas about who deserves to live in order for society to thrive are rapidly gaining popularity, fuelled by the research of the eminent Professor Abigail Robinson. Yet for every person seduced by her theories there is another who is horrified by them. When a murder is committed days after the lecture, it’s clear that within crowds can lie madness.

To uncover the truth, Gamache must put his own feelings about the divisive Professor to one side. But with her ideas gaining ground, the line separating good and evil, right and wrong, is quickly blurring – especially when the case leads unexpectedly close to home …

My thoughts

This book is set as we come out of the pandemic, people are being vaccinated and the world, albeit slowly, is recovering and people are emerging once more. This book is not about the pandemic but it does raise questions which may have arisen or, indeed, may still arise with regards to how we respect life and our fellow human. Louise Penny does not turn her back on difficult questions but she does treat them with sensitivity and with the wonderful character of Armand Gamache brings an understanding of different perceptions and a depth of kindness when considering human response whatever that may be.

The story has a statistician, Professor Abigail Robinson, engaged in a study for the Canadian government but the findings and more importantly the conclusions from the study have been rejected. Nevertheless she takes it upon herself to not only disclose the findings but proactively encourages the public to support her very controversial conclusions. Her position is gaining followers but equally as many detractors.

When Robinson is to give a lecture at the Université de l’Estrie in Quebec Armand Gamache is told to head up the security, after being specifically requested by the University. Whilst very unusual to be called upon in this way Gamache puts aside his own feelings over the Professors agenda and carries out his duties.

There is an incident at the event and Gamache is called upon to avert an even greater disaster. He undertakes the investigation into what happened at the lecture and places the Professor under protection. Then a couple of days later at an event in Three Pines a body is discovered. Clearly a murder – Gamache, Beauvoir and Lacoste have to find out if the dead person was the actual target or not. If so, why? More importantly, who committed this heinous act?

As they dig into events the investigators and we readers are taken back to other deaths years before – are they the key to what has happened or did someone, who lives much closer to home, kill to protect a reputation? Why do so many say or appear to hold one opinion but act as if they believe something entirely different?

As they delve dark, long hidden secrets and some, more recent, deeply disturbing actions that Gamache personally discovered are brought to the surface and these unbelievable, unconscionable acts look to be just what so many are considering as acceptable under the umbrella of sacrificing the ‘few’ for the greater good.

Although Louise Penny poses some big questions for us to consider it is nevertheless the mystery of whodunnit that had me gripped and kept me turning the pages of yet another wonderful book in the Gamache series. It’s a favourite of mine with great characters and one of the best, albeit imaginary, settings in crime fiction today. Three Pines has become a ‘home away from home’ for so many of the regular readers of this series.

I like the way that the three – Gamache, Jean-Guy and Lacoste – interact we readers are brought into their thinking and their investigation as they ponder the information, interview witnesses, bystanders and suspects. Their explanations and comments, their thoughts and actions taking you along with them, allowing you to consider for yourself what happened and why. Then oh so often leaving you wondering how you didn’t see it, you know that thing that just took the investigation down a different turn and there you have it the reason, that piece of information and the murderer is uncovered. Still, it was glorious storytelling and, once again, so good to be immersed in such a wonderful book.

Thanks: To Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley for an eCopy of A Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and no payment has been received.

I have read all the books in this series and reviewed the following A Great Reckoning | Glass Houses | Kingdom of the Blind | A Better Man | All the Devils are Here

Well that’s my 14th read and review done! This was from my original list. So 6 to go! Still a tall order to get all twenty in this year but I will definitely manage at least 15. So, back to reading I go!

You can find out all you need to know about this challenge at Cathy’s 746Books and lot’s of other great book stuff. My list for this year’s challenge is on my blog if you’d like to check it out.


Published: Hodder & Stoughton|24 Aug. 2021, ISBN:9781529379389

Buy: | Waterstones | AmazonSmileUK | Hive | Your local bookshop

Author: Louise Penny is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Gamache series, including Still Life, which won the CWA John Creasey Dagger in 2006. Recipient of virtually every existing award for crime fiction, Louise was also granted the Order of Canada in 2014 and received an honorary doctorate of literature from Carleton University and the Ordre Nationale du Québec in 2017. She lives in a small village south of Montreal.

You can find out much more on Louise Penny’s website. Where you will also find the link to Louise Penny’s Facebook page and how to sign up for her newsletter. 

You can join in with the fun leading up to The Madness of Crowds. Up next: Glass Houses and Kingdom of the Blind. See the images and join the conversation at!

Three Pines


The Three Pines order, from the first to the most recent:




THE MADNESS OF CROWDS is coming out, published by Hodder, in the UK on August 24th. Click here for pre-order links in the UK.


3 Comments on “The Madness of Crowds (17th DCI Gamache) by Louise Penny #20booksofsummer21 #20booksofsummer

  1. Pingback: Round up – I’m going to call it at 15! #20booksofsummer21 #20booksofsummer – Love Books, Read Books

  2. Pingback: #20booksofsummer21 – my list. – Love Books, Read Books


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