Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife are on holiday in Quebec visiting Emile Comeau, the former police officer who had been the initial supervisor of Gamache and who had greatly influenced the future decision making of the young policeman. A recent event had resulted in the death of four officers and serious injuries to others including Gamache and his friend and fellow officer, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Memories that haunt both Gamache and Beauvoir reveal the details of the past horrors as the two men are investigating two other incidents. While Armand is in Quebec there is a murder at the Literary and Historical Society library, the organisation that he frequently visits to research early Canadian history, and reluctantly he agrees to act as a consultant on the case. Meanwhile Inspector Gamache has asked Beauvoir to go back to Three Pines on holiday but in reality to reinvestigate a previous murder investigation as doubts have arisen about the guilt of the man arrested.
Burying the dead, by Louise Penny, therefore contains three interwoven plots to intrigue the reader. The author also provides an insite into the history of the city and its founders resulting in the tensions between the English and French that can surface in Quebec - a city with many cultures. Throughout the book the feelings of guilt about decisions made in his attempts to save his kidnapped officer haunt Gamarche and it is not until the end that he finally comes to terms with the realisation that he and his team need to 'bury their dead'.