Bury Your Dead Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 10 CDs (13 hours)
Read by Ralph Cosham

Some people like to listen to audiobooks while exercising—or while working on craft projects. Others, like me, keep them in the car, where they can listen to a good book to pass the time on the road—whether they’re taking a long road trip, tackling the daily commute, or running errands. But, in the car, lighter, less involved stories are usually ideal—since it’s easy to lose track of more intricate stories while you’re changing lanes and watching for your exit.

Bury Your Dead is an ambitious novel, comprised of three unrelated stories. It definitely poses a challenge for readers on the road—but author Louise Penny weaves all three stories together into one captivating book.

While recovering from a case that left him both physically and emotionally scarred, Quebec’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is on leave, visiting his old friend and mentor in Quebec City during the Winter Carnival. Gamache spends his days quietly reading at the Literary and Historical Society, an Anglophone treasure hidden in the midst of the Francophone city. But his quiet holiday is disrupted when the body of eccentric historian Augustin Renaud is found in the Lit and His basement.

Meanwhile, Gamache continues to receive letters from the small town of Three Pines, where the partner of a convicted murderer is still unconvinced of his guilt. He eventually manages to instill Gamache with enough doubt to send his trusted colleague, Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir, to investigate further.

Bury Your Dead is a gripping mystery, entwining three separate stories: the murder in Quebec City, the unofficial investigation in Three Pines (a follow-up to 2009’s The Brutal Telling), and the case that still haunts both Gamache and Beauvoir. Both inspectors are on an emotional journey, trying to recover from lasting wounds as they (unofficially) get back to work. Their cases, meanwhile, are fascinating ones. Gamache’s case has historical roots, dating back to the founding of Quebec, while Beauvoir’s case features a cast of eccentric small-town characters.

Of course, if you haven’t read earlier Chief Inspector Gamache novels (especially The Brutal Telling), you’ll get a bit lost at times, since you won’t know the characters or their history. For a while, in fact, you’ll be (understandably) confused. But Penny draws such detailed illustrations of her characters and their surroundings that you’ll soon find yourself completely engrossed in their stories.

If you’re trying to decide between the audio version and the paper (or e-book) version, though, I highly recommend reading this one instead of listening to it. Not only does narrator Ralph Cosham’s gruff, clipped dialogue take some getting used to, but you might also lose parts of the long and complex plotlines to the distractions of driving or crafting or whatever else you might be doing at the same time.

You’ll want to savor each and every sentence of this intricate and elegantly written novel. So, by all means, pick up a copy—just pick up a copy that’s printed on pages instead of one that’s recorded on CDs.

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