Finished October 23
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny, read by Robert Bathurst
Armand Gamache is back, and this time in a new capacity, as commander of the Sûreté Academy. As he agrees to take on this new role, he knows the challenges that come with the role. After cleaning up major corruption in the Sûreté itself, he is aware that many of the officers joining the organization have been shaped by their experience in the Academy and what he has seen of their attitude and behaviour worries him. He knows he must make major changes at the Academy to change those experiences. He first looks at the faculty and makes changes, removing some professors and adding others. But he sees the bigger picture as well. He looks at the relationship with the local community and the divisions that have been created. He looks at the larger policing community and where the professors he is getting rid of might end up. He looks at the still unresolved corruption suspicions around some of the people at the Academy. And so he makes choices.
He also makes choices in the acceptances of new recruits. He reviews all the applications and accepts some that the previous head had marked as rejected and rejects some that they would have accepted. And again, he thinks carefully and makes some decisions for reasons that others don't see.
He tries to both make massive change and to tread carefully, and he doesn't always succeed. It is not an easy task. But he has his family, his community of Three Pines, and the support of respected Sûreté officers and leaders.
When one of his biggest adversaries within the Academy is found dead, obviously murdered, the case is a tricky one, and the investigation must not only be thorough, but be seen to be thorough. Again, he tries to do that right by making sure an outside investigator is part of the team, but that also proves difficult.
An interesting twist is the subplot around a map that was discovered in the wall of the bistro when renovations were made, and which provides its only mysteries. When Gamache tasks some of the Academy students into learning about the map, its origins, and its meaning, he ends up bringing those students into village life in a move that takes us to the heart of Three Pines.
This book, as with previous in the series, blurs the line between professional and personal, and between facts and feelings.