Time has passed. Armand Gamache has retired with his wife, Reine-Marie, to live in the village of Three Pines. Isabelle Lacoste is now chief inspector while Jean-Guy Beauvoir remains an inspector in the Surete du Quebec.
One afternoon, nine year old Laurent Lepage ran into the bistro telling those present that he had seen a huge gun with a monster on it in the forest. As Lauent was known to have a vivid imagination no-one believed him. The next day Laurent is found in the forest, dead. Armand becomes involved in the investigation to discover the boy's killer. As the investigation continues it is obvious that a force of evil has been present in Three Pines but who, or what, is it?
The Nature of the Beast is the twelfth volume in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamanche series of books by Louise Penny. Once again this book is not just an investigation of a crime but is a study of strengths and weaknesses of individuals as they struggle with present and past events in their lives.