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How The Light Gets in Summary: Louise Penny Makes The Mystery More Thrilling

Damn Penny! I never thought I would say something like this. But yeah! I can’t be biased with my reviews.

Hate me all you want. This latest book by Penny is not a disappointment. I am talking about none other than How the Light Gets In. We’ve published Louise Penny books in chronological order for your better understanding. So, let’s come to the point…

Is it bad? No! Definitely not!

How The Light Gets in Summary

The novel has a solid plot, and Penny has gifted each character with a strong voice. In fact, How Light Gets In is a great read if you think of it as a standalone book.

Yet, I am not fully satisfied because this freaking novel belongs to the legendary Gamache series. Now, if I am not wrong, the books from this series are stuffed with suspense, mystery, love, betrayal, and whatnot!

Not gonna lie! I have found that essence, that touch, missing in this novel.

Aggh! Do I sound crazy? My “How the Light Gets In Summary and Review” can help you understand my point.

How The Light Gets In Summary & Plot Points Explained: Alert! You Will Catch All The Spoilers!

How The Light Gets in

If you are in the mood to read How the Light Gets In summary, then read this part! I request you to read the novel after finishing the summary. We can at least rant together.

And in case you have no intention of picking up this book, go ahead. You can enjoy the entire piece in just 5 minutes without missing anything.

The First Chapter: Our Mystery Opens with Three Individual Stories

A middle-aged woman, Audrey Villeneuve, is driving her car in anxiety. She can’t find the stomach to pass the Ville-Marie Tunnel. What if this engineering marvel collapses?

In the second chapter, Penny introduces us to Constance Pineault. She is visiting Myrna in Three Pines and seems to fall in love with this village (and the villagers).

Constance already adores Olivier and Gabri as her sons. Yes, she has always thought so little of the Queer society. But this sweet gay couple deserves all the love in this world.

She has become a regular customer of Monsieur Béliveau’s general store and Sarah’s bakery. And guess the impossible? Constance might have become a friend of Ruth (yup, our mad poet).

Who would ever want to leave this Utopia? Absolutely, no one!

So, Constance decides she will return to Three Pines for this Christmas. She is finally ready to let people, these people, in her life. She can talk her heart out and spill out all those secrets she has been carrying inside.

The following few chapters focus on Gamache. His rivalry with the Sûreté superiors is not over.

Superintendent Francoeur has torn apart his old team, and he is stuck with some airheads.

Right now, the only asset Gamache has is Lacoste. Jean-Guy stands with the opposition. This young agent used to worship the Chief Inspector once and now can kill him if necessary.

Wait! What went wrong?

Apparently, in a factory raid, Jean-Guy was shot to bleed. Gamache left him in that state and went out to save others. This shattered Jean-Guy.

He was on painkillers and got hooked on these meds. Soon, Jean-Guy was no better than an addict.

His addiction problem also ruined his relationship with Annie Gamache, the daughter of our Chief Inspector. It pushed him into a slump.

He is now on anti-anxiety pills and blames Gamache for everything bad that ever happened to him.

How The Light Gets in Summary & Plot Thickens: A Murder and A Dead Body

Gamache receives a message. His old friend, Myrna, needs a little help. Only God knows that he could use this visit to Three Pines. Finally, a moment to breathe in relief. So, he drives straight to the village with Lacoste.

How Light Gets in Characters and Plot

Remember Constance? She has never made it back to Three Pines. Myrna tells Gamche that Constance has called even when packing. But it has been over a day, and there is no way of reaching her.

Of course, Gamache is always ready to help his friends. So, he will personally look into the matter.

Well, there is a major twist.

Myrna has a secret to share about Constance. Apparently, her friend is not an ordinary woman. She is a Quint.

Constance’s original name is Constance Quellt. Her mom gave birth to quintuplets, five girls. It made huge news in Canadian media, putting all the spotlight on those little angels.

The Government literally bought the Quints from their parents and commercialized them.

This had definitely given Constance a better life, considering her family was poor. But it took away their privacy and peace.

It seemed like there was a curse on the five girls. Each of her sisters died one after another. It all started with Virginie Ouellet. Recently, Constance’s 4th sister died, and now she is missing.

Gamache and Lacoste reach Constance’s house only to find her dead.

Investigation Begins!

Gamache returns to Three Pines. Well, he hates to be the bearer of the bad news. But what else can he do?

Myrna mourns for Constance. Gabri, Olivier, Clara, and even Ruth convey their condolences. Now, everyone has the same question: who has killed Constance?

The Three Pines gang manages all the documentaries and books they can find on the Quints. They read and watch every piece just to collect information. How the lives of the Quints turned out was indeed interesting!

Constance’s parents could not have babies for so long. Then, one day, her mother was blessed by Brother André, and she gave birth to five girls (What a miracle)!

But then, when the publicity circus began, her parents were forced to give up on the girls. Life was never kind to them. So, these women always tried living a private and secretive life.

If no one knew who they were, why was Constance killed? There must be more to this story. Lacoste puts all her efforts to get the pieces together. In the meantime, Gamache is busy solving a bigger problem.

Something Odd Is Going on In the Sûreté

Remember the Arnot case? The irregularities? Well, there is no end to that. The superiors are still misusing their powers.

Gamache can sense this, and he wants to know their plans. The only people that can help him are Superintendent Thérèse and her husband, Jérôme, a cyber junkie.

But getting inside the system without leaving a trace is not that easy. Their bosses have already bugged their computers, offices, phones, cars, and homes.

Gamache invited Thérèse and Jérôme to Three Pines to escape the surveillance and work independently. To assist them, he brings our old Agent Nichol (yup, that bitch is here).

Well, they have no other choice but to make peace with each other. This little team sets up their office in Jane’s school room (You remember Jane from Still Life?) and starts digging in.

Their plan is simple. Ring the alarm on a few unnecessary files to divert the Sûreté attention until they get the real gold.

Here is the twist! The first file they dig in is THE FILE the Sûreté officers are hiding (sheer coincidence). And there is more to it!

The names linked up in this case are too familiar. Can you guess? Yup, Pierre Arnot. They also catch the relevance of Premier Renard, a brilliant engineer now in charge of all construction planning in Montreal.

Every clue leads Gamache and his team to a construction company. But before they can get into the plan, the Sûreté gang makes the report disappear.

This anti-Gamache party is now looking for the hacker’s location. And there they are! On the way to Three Pines! To catch Thérèse and Jérôme and kill Gamache.

Gamache Saves Canada from A Political Collapse

The Chief Inspector knows that the Sûreté is on his tail. Yet, he tries to make the best use of his time.

He is sure that Sûreté has planned something with the bridges and tunnels. But what? He is damn sure Superintendent Francoeur is the successor of Arnot and moving forward with vision.

Confronting Francoeur will only cause trouble. So Gamache goes to meet Arnot in the prison. But there is no Arnot. Someone else is in the cell pretending to be this criminal.

Gamache, being Gamache, connects the dots and reaches Audrey Villeneuve’s house. This woman was found dead under a bridge.

The police tagged it as a suicide and closed the investigation right away. When Gamache tried accessing the report, there was no record of such an incident.

It was clear that Audrey had a link to whatever madness was going on. After all, she used to work for the Ministry of Transport sector and had access to every irregularity in the system.

Gamache talks to Audrey’s husband and tells him the truth. His wife was murdered. Now, if he can help Gamache, they can bring justice to Audrey.

Together, these two gentlemen solve the major part of this mystery. They find a memory stick containing all the information and master plans of Francoeur, Renard, and Arnot.

Apparently, the current and ex-Sûreté superiors, along with Premier Renard, have planned to bomb one of Montreal’s major bridges. They want to use it as leverage to fight for power.

Gamamche alerts Lacoste about this situation and runs to Three Pines. He knows Thérèse and Jérôme are in danger.

All’s Well That Ends Well

When Gamache reaches Three Pines, he has this bloody fight with Francoeur. They confront each other, and in the end, Gamache shoots Francoeur.

In the middle of this chaos, Jean-Guy aims his gun at Gamache and fires (God!). But lucky Gamache! Our old man is not going to leave us this soon. Instead, this steam-off session leads to the reunion of our two favorite people, Jean-Guy and Gamache.

Finally, every piece falls in place. Lacoste has stopped the bombing, Francoeur is gone, and Three Pines is safe. Oh, and most importantly, Jean-Guy comes clean out of his addiction problem and marries Annie Gamahce (I had tears in this scene).

What happens to Constance? She was murdered by her brother.

When the Government took away the five girls, their parents procreated another child and kept it a secret. This baby boy used to hate her sisters because of all the fame they got. So, one fine day, he pushed her sister Virginie and killed her.

This was a family secret Constance and her sisters had carried throughout their lives. And finally, she was ready to tell Myrna about this. Her brother, who was also her neighbor, found out about this and killed her. Pathetic, hah?

Let’s Look at The Characters of How The Light Gets in By Louise Penny

Well, you can’t complain about Penny’s character-building capability anyway. There are too many names in How the Light Gets In book. At some points, it felt overcrowded. I agree. But the good thing is all of those characters are relevant to one case or another.

Armand Gamache

Do you remember the Gamache of Still Life? He is there in the background, letting others solve the case!

It is wonderful to see how mature this character has grown. In each novel after The Still Life, Gamache tries to find a voice; in this book, he is loud and clear.

Here, Penny has shown the determination and visionary side of Gamache. I can’t but appreciate this Chief Inspector’s NEVER GIVE-UP spirit.

At some points, I was pissed at Gamache’s team. But look at him! He handled everything with patience, and in the end, it all worked in his favor.

Francoeur, Arnot, Renard, and all the superiors tried to suppress Gamache from the very beginning. But dude! It is Gamache. He alone is enough to take down the power.

After How Light Gets In, I have definitely become a fan of this mad Inspector. He says the impossible and does the impossible.

I mean seriously. The moment Gamache talked about building his own tower, I thought he had lost his mind. But thanks to Gilles. They had made the impossible happen.

For me, Gamache is a hero every society needs.

Thérèse and Jérôme

At first, I was a bit irritated by Thérèse and Jérôme (more new characters). But apparently, Penny had a plan, and she had used this couple wisely.

I think these two old freaks deserve some appreciation. Without them, Gamache was just fighting a lost battle. I felt Penny could have a little more backstory to Thérèse and Jérôme.

Agent Nichol and Agent Lacoste

Who isn’t an Agent Lacoste fan here? She is smart, intelligent, and loyal to Gamache from the beginning. Lacoste is always my favorite.

Honestly, in previous books, I always felt that Jean-Guy had stolen the thunder of Lacoste. But in How the Light Gets In book, I think Penny has done justice to Lacoste.

She has received enough spotlight (Come on! She has saved Montreal from bombing). But I expect a little more on Lacoste (Please make that happen, Penny)!

Now, coming to Agent Nichol, this lady has won hearts with How Light Gets In. I mean, in The Cruelest Month characters, she played a crucial part. Yet, I couldn’t trust her completely.

I proudly take back all my words. Nichol is definitely a dynamic character. And I think, with more novels in the series, I can finally get her personality. She is reserved and rude but has a good heart (Yup, a lot like Ruth).

The Three Pines Gang

Our old Three Pines gang is back. You will catch all your favorites.

But sadly, Clara, Gabri, and Olivier have limited roles in the plot. Instead, Myrna and Ruth received all the attention. Not that I am complaining, but I love to catch more of the Three Pines gang.

Myrna has played a lead role in untangling the murder mystery. She has helped Gamache with all the information needed. And what about others?

Well, they were also of help. The way the gang has helped hide Thérèse and Jérôme was commendable. Also, I enjoyed the last scenes where Olivier, Gabri, and Clara took charge to fool the officers to save their friends.

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My Review on How Light Gets in Book

You can hardly not like Penny’s writing style. She has a relaxed way of telling the story and
building tension. You are sucked into the plot even before you realize it.

The only thing that puts me off is that the story does not sync quite well with other Gamache
novels. To be very honest, the entire How the Light Gets in murder mystery didn’t interest me at all.

Penny made the Quints larger-than-life celebrities. I felt it was exaggerated. This investigation was quite dull. It literally went nowhere.

I dragged through the first two hundred pages. It literally killed me. Well, in the last hundred
pages, Penny was back with her charm.