The book opens on a hot summer's day with Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache being questioned during a murder trial. The previous Halloween a figure, robed in black and wearing a mask, appeared on the Green in the village of Three Pines. The figure remained still but appeared to be staring at someone, but who? Not unsurprisingly the inhabitants of Three Pines became unsettled by the presence of this sinister looking figure, especially as it remained on the Green for several days. Then one morning the figure vanished. The relief did not last for long as later in the day a body was found in the church.
The story unfolds through testimony provided at the trial as well as a parallel unveiling of the events that occurred in Three Pines the previous autumn. Solving the murder is only one challenge for Gamache and his team, including Jean Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste. The greater challenge is to stop the distribution of drugs via Canada to the United States.
Louise Penny's books are not just crime stories. In each book we learn more about the main characters as the author shows us their thoughts and concerns while they work to solve the crime. In this book the focus is also on attempting to prevent future crime, particularly the potential deaths of thousands of people due to the increased supply of drugs in the community.
As you would expect, the other characters from Three Pines, including Ruth and Rosa, Myrna and Clara, plus Olivier and Gabri, as well as Reine-Marie, play important roles in the story.
Glass Houses is thirteenth book in the series. The next book, The Kingdom of the Blind, is due for publication in November 2018 and I look forward to reading the next installment.