The ninth book in the Detective Armand Gamache series is a completely lovable installment. Gamache must locate a missing person with a false identity at the same time he has to survive the destruction of his stable of best assistants. Little by little Gamache’s superiors have transferred all the best detectives out of his unit and placed them in lackey jobs in the Montreal police department. More terrifying, still, is that Gamache’s right hand man and close confidante, Beauvoir has not only been taken away, but Beauvoir is addicted to painkillers and his mental health is deteriorating rapidly. A phone call arrives from one of Gamache’s friends in the tiny, off-the-grid community of Three Pines. An old woman who had planned to come for the Christmas holiday has failed to arrive. The combined mysteries of the missing person and the motive for who might be attempting to disable Gamache’s capacities to investigate are carefully and exquisitely plotted. Warm tea, comic relief, and old friends bustle about Three Pines and welcome you to get cozy while you, the reader, work with the Chief Inspector to solve his latest cases.