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Publisher's Summary

"There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen)

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him.

When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna's reluctance to reveal her friend's name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines? And at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear?

©2013 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about How the Light Gets In

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Amazing!

Like all in this Inspector Gamache Series, this book kept me captivated from beginning to end! I look forward to reading/listening to all the rest of this series. #Audible1

4 people found this helpful

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Majestic and luminous

The author has the ability to bring the reader into the emotions and friendships of the village of Three Pines. A mystical and wondrous pace where I would love to visit and share in the thought provoking and complex emotions.
Her characters become friends with all their joys and fears.
Louise Penny writes for the head and the heart.
Truly a thought provoking book #audible1

2 people found this helpful

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A crack, that’s how the light gets in!

Love, love, love this book! Each book in the series gets better. I feel like I know each character intimately, due to the author’s writing and the narrator’s telling.
I’m glad that I have more to read in this series and I implore Ms Penny to continue the series so that I don’t run out!
I highly recommend this book!

1 person found this helpful

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... and shines on and on and on....

Perhaps my favourite! The characters, their strengths, their flaws... Wonderful storyline!
To a Montrealer, born and raised and still living here, the ongoing deterioration of the infrastructure is very real! I say a little prayer every time I travel through the Ville Marie!

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Henri and Rosa are so adorable

I love everything about Penny’s books. She creates such relatable and loveable characters. I am so glad that Rosa the duck came back. She knitted Rosa and Henri so beautifully in the story. This series is a treat.

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So good!

I still miss Adam Sims as the narrator, but this story! Well worth the slower start to things in this book. Can’t wait for the next one.

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Not my favorite

I love Louise Penny especially the Gamache series. I have bought all of them in chronological order and up until now I couldn't listen fast enough.

This one however I struggled. I really missed the murder mystery aspect. Most of this book focused on the corruption that Gamache has to deal with and Jean Guy's breakdown and insane antics.

It had to start and stop it multiple times I didn't want to possibly miss any big plot points that would come up going forward. I think I could of left it alone and I would of been just fine.

I still look forward to continuing the series I feel like this was just a one off.

When I listen to the books again I will be skipping this one.

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Liked the best so far in the series

Really enjoyed listening to this story with many different plots of story weaved throughout.

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The best yet (which is saying something!)

As much a thriller as detective fiction, its intricate plotting and depth of characterization makes it a completely absorbing read. "I couldn't put it down" is a terrible cliché I know, but...

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LOVED IT.

Best so far. Kept me excited and surprised throughout the story. Love the narrator, his voice is Gamache

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  • Nancy J
  • 2013-09-06

Welcome Home!

There are so many glowing reviews of this book that I wasn't going to write one, but I just can't help it: I have to write it. I so LOVE this book and this series. I love Armand Gamache and his wife Reine Marie and their wonderful understanding relationship. I love the village of Three Pines and its wonderful, flawed, loving residents.

When you begin an Inspector Gamache novel, you are drawn into his world. And when the story moves to Three Pines, the village embraces you like a huge, loving, comforting hug from Myrna, bookseller extraordinaire.

To my mind, How the Light Gets In is one of the best of the Gamache series, and is a welcome return to Three Pines. While investigating the death of a character clearly based on the Dionne quintuplets, Gamache is also preparing, with the few allies he has left, for a decisive confrontation with his enemies in the Force. As a result, the reader gets a healthy dose of all that's wonderful about Three Pines and its denizens, along with a suspense which grows steadily and inexorably toward the confrontation. Many questions are answered and many puzzles are solved while Gamache maintains his courage and integrity.

Ralph Cosham's narration brings it all to sparkling life, with never the slightest waver or misstep. I particularly enjoyed the conversation between Penny and Cosham at the end of the recording.

I agree with previous reviewers that the Gamache books should be read in order, beginning with Still Life. While you might enjoy the story without the previous details, Louise Penny's characters are so like real people, who have grown, made mistakes, learned things, and hopefully improved as people, that you will miss the full emotional richness if you don't have all that background.

52 people found this helpful

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  • Carole T.
  • 2013-08-30

A Suspenseful Winter's Tale

I really love this book! We're back in Three Pines for much of the action, there's an intriguing and touching mystery relating to legendary Canadian quintuplets, and the background plot line which has continued through most of the series progresses nicely.

Louise Penny has a great bag of tricks. She varies her locations, gives us more than one side to each character, and thus keeps us a little off balance with each new book. Who knew she could pull off a longish episode of cyber suspense so well? There's a lot of action (computer and real time) in this addition to the series. The wonderful cast of characters and the humor are front and center - add this to the usual spot-on narration of Ralph Cosham, and you have a very satisfying addition to the Inspector Gamache series. If you haven't read them, I'd advise starting at the beginning with "Still Life" and going through them in order.

35 people found this helpful

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  • Julie
  • 2013-09-05

Armand Gamache, Cyber Detective!

I realize that if you're considering this book, like myself, you've already read every other Gamache novel. And, like me, you're a solid Penny fan. So I KNOW I'm going to take heat for this review. I'll try to make it quick. Well, I'll try, anyway.

Let's start off with this: You're going to read this book. You will. You'll do it because there are a lot of plots from previous books that get tied up here and you want to know what path Jean-Guy ultimately chooses, how Clara and Peter are getting on, and whatever happened to Agent Nicole.

And going into this book, you'll be expecting the same fantastic writing that we've always gotten in this series, peppered with poetry and humor.

You're not going to get it.

Well, yes, you'll get the plot closures. In many ways, this book feels like the last of the series. You'll even get poetry and humor, albeit the poetry isn't new, we've heard it before in previous books.

The issue with this book is that you'll have to actually forget MAJOR events in the series to make this one fit. For example, remember in The Cruelest Month when Agent Nicole was getting phone calls all throughout the investigation from a mysterious person who wanted to know everything she and Gamache were doing? And how, at one point, Jean Guy attempts to take the phone from her because he suspects she's spying on the Chief Inspector? It was a fairly important part of the plot, it defined Agent Nicole and gave you some insight into why she behaves as she does.

In the same book, do you remember when a certain agent uses the bistro's laptop to go online to research the drug ephedra? He then leaves the page up on the screen on purpose to tip off the community about the drug they're looking for...?

Of course you remember all of that! It was critical to the story!

Well Penny forgot about it.

Now, as she writes it, Three Pines is a complete "dead zone." You can't get on the internet to research ephedra, and you can't use your cell phone while spying on your boss. And it's always been this way. Those previous books were all in your imagination. Yes they were. Don't argue.

And while in previous works we've seen our Chief Inspector use his ability to read and understand the motivations of people to solve crime, in this book we get something entirely different. Gamache is going to put together a team of hackers to break into the archives of the Sûreté du Québec. No, really. Gamache is going cyber-stalking.

And look. You're listening to this as an audio book, right? So you might not be a programming genius, but you at least know how to download a file and put it on an ipod or smart phone, right? You are likely not baffled by the mysteries of downloading.

Unfortunately, Gamache's team of computer experts don't appear to understand this concept. Nor does it occur to them to copy/ paste a file that they're currently reading.

The entire hacking plot-line required more than a slight suspension in belief. I hate saying this, I really, really do. But it was kind of ridiculous. I found myself wishing that Penny had written more about what she knows (characters, community, art, and poetry) and had left off the computer stuff for other writers.

So is this Penny's best? Her most brilliant writing ever? Well, with all respect to the previous reviewers, I don't think so. While I've listened to her other books multiple times (Still Life is my favorite) - sometimes just for Ruth's poetry - this book clearly doesn't have the same draw the others had.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Wood
  • 2018-07-21

Best Gamache book yet!

This is one of the best Gamache novels. The story keeps you guessing and entertained throughout. In this Gamache novel, the murder story takes a back seat to the overall background story of the series. You have to read these in order if you want to get the full affect and understanding of the development of the characters. Ralph's Cosham is amazing and I am not sure how I'm going to handle some of the later novels after a new narrator had to be chosen. On to the next one!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chip Atkinson
  • 2015-05-19

A Brilliant Light

I was late discovering Louise Penny. I flew threw the first 8 novels,, giving every one of them a sterling review. So when I began this one, I realized I was completely burned out with Inspector Gamache and the village of 3 Pines. So I put it a side for a couple of months and it proved to be a wise decision.

How the Light Gets In is the smartest, most complicated story in the series. The depth of character development is simply remarkable. Gamache is vulnerable, humble, brilliant and scheming.

Ralph Cosham delivers another great performance. From an interview with the author and Cosham, he revealed that he never reads ahead while recording. He is the choice of Penny, who also tagged him in the first movie, presumably coming out soon.

This is a great read!

25 people found this helpful

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  • Zana
  • 2013-08-31

I never want Louise Penny's books to end!

If you could sum up How the Light Gets In in three words, what would they be?

You'll laugh and cry and want to move to Three Pines.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Louise Penny has the remarkable gift of intertwining a true mystery (and in this case two mysteries) with real characters whom she allows you to know deeply. I don't know how she does it, but instead of being an observer you feel as though you are there with them. You feel the brutal cold and smell the acrid sweat and taste the café au lait.
I absolutely love her writing style and cannot get enough.

Which character – as performed by Ralph Cosham – was your favorite?

Can't help myself - as much as I adore Gamache, Three Pines would be incomplete without the demented poet, Ruth.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found myself laughing out loud during the very first chapter, and was deeply moved by the love Gamache feels for his agents - especially rude Nicole (whom I suspect is partially autistic)

Any additional comments?

Please give us more.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Alexandria
  • 2013-09-18

A dissenting view

I am new to this series, so I read this book as a novel in its own right with no previous knowledge of the rest of the series. It was a mistake. From the reviews, I had the impression that each of the books could stand on its own, that the characters are truly amazing and unique, and that the plots are witty and intelligent. Although I saw a glimmer of these qualities, I have to say that it was unwise to read this novel on its own. Half the time I could not sort out who all the various characters were and had to consult online book reviews to get them all straight. The book frequently referenced past events which I was obviously not privy to, and so there were many times when I felt that I was fundamentally missing something. And although these factors definitely hampered my listening experience, they are not responsible for my 3 star rating because it was my own fault for listening to Book 9 in the series first. Mea culpa.

The publisher's description of this book is misleading. The major plot concerns a police conspiracy, and the story of the murdered woman is a subplot. The police conspiracy bit was dull, predictable, and and at odds with the subplot in nature and tone - they did not go well together.

The subplot about the murdered woman was engaging, unique, fun, witty, and inspired. I kept listening partly because I so much wanted to know how that storyline would unfold. Had more space been devoted to that story, I think the rest of the book would have been so much more enjoyable.

I had read in the reviews that the supporting cast of characters were unique and fun - and indeed they seemed to be. The problem (from my perspective at least) was that they barely featured in either of the story lines. I did not get a good sense of them, except to glimpse their potential.

Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy aspects of the book. I grew up near the Quebec/Vermont border and the geography and warmth of the story pulled me in and made me sick for home. Ralph Coshom's voice - while clearly aging and halting - reminded me of hearing stories from my grandfather. In spite of my disappointments, this book really touched my sentimental side.

I have just begun listening to the first book in the series, Still Life, as I should have done from the start. Perhaps by the time I work my way up to How the Light Gets In and get more information and a better sense of the characters, my 3 star rating will improve to 4.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Cookie
  • 2013-08-29

This may be the best yet

If you have enjoyed this series, this ranks right up there with Still Life and A Rule Against Murder (well, they are all my favorites). This could be a stand alone novel, but I think it may be best to savour them one at a time in order. The joy comes with getting to know and love your friends as you listen to these books. I was shocked to find out in the closing interview that Ralph Cosham reads these books cold and unpracticed, his narration is a masterpiece. My only disappointment is that after months of waiting, I did listen to this one in a day (painting my house, I made great progress), and now I have to wait for the next one.
Terrific storyline and a great ending, tight and awesome story telling, LP has hit it out of the park again. Make a cup of tea (or get the paint brushes out) and enjoy!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2013-08-29

Finally a happy conclusion.

Would you listen to How the Light Gets In again? Why?

I am actually going to listen to the past ones over again. Number eight left me devastated, so much so that I returned it. This one is gratifying.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Of course

What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

He is a wonderful reader

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did listen in one day. I am a dressmaker and listened to it whilst completing a project.

Any additional comments?

Listen to the other ones or you will be lost.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 2013-09-05

Wow, LP wrapped up one part a little too fast

I love ALL of Louise Penny's books and Ralph Cosham's narrations. I usually give 5 stars, but this is the first one where I thought --without a spoiler-- that the murder plot line wasn't probable (murderer's motivation) and that Beauvoir's private relationship, developed in some depth in The Beautiful Mystery, got wrapped up head-spinningly fast with a bow on top at the end. Such an important part of B's life deserved more handling, such as a plot line in a next book, rather than throwing it away by giving it such short shrift in this book and tacking the resolution into the ending.

15 people found this helpful