Chief Inspector Armand Gamache

Armand Gamache leading man literary mystery Louise Penny mystery Quebec Three Pines

If you know who that is when you read the headline, bravo. If you don't, you're in for a treat.

Do you ever wish you could re-read a book for the first time? I have that literary déjà vu feeling often for many different reasons. But at this time of year, when the wind starts to pick up a little and you can feel the crispness in the air like a fresh apple, I want to experience Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series again and again. Especially right now, because all my book-loving friends are talking about reading the latest in the series, #13, Glass Houses. The series has won the New Blood Dagger as well as multiple Agatha, Anthony, Dilys, Arthur Ellis, and other prestigious awards. So yeah, it's good.

Set in Quebec, the books center around a small village, not even on the map, called Three Pines, and the ensemble of characters that inhabit it. For such a small population, these people seem to get themselves in a rather high proportion of trouble. While they are all interesting and well-formed characters, they are still characters to me.  

However, Armand is not. I can't call him a character or a protagonist or a leading man, even. For me, he's a multi-dimensional flesh-and-blood man.   could go on, but my description would likely be more appropriate in another literary genre entirely, if you catch my drift. So yes, I have a crush on this 50+ year old Canadian Chief Inspector who is also...happily married. Which of course just makes him all the more attractive.

And for me, he's definitely not how Louise Penny describes him:

A man in his mid-fifties, large and comfortable. His body speaks of engrossing reads by the fireplace, of café au laits and croissants, and quiet walks through Parc Mont Royal with his beloved wife and dog. His power comes from his stillness, his calm, his great presence. When he walks into a room people know the leader has arrived. He is kind, content and compassionate.

That could also be describing Wilford Brimley.

The New York Times describes Armand as 'brooding and wounded,' which, let's be honest, is a little more up my Mr. Darcy-loving alley. (So to speak.) Add to that a love of Canadian history, a constant canine companion, and a love for his wife that doesn't seem real, and you have a damn near perfect man.

A taller John Irving, perhaps? Or a Ciarin Hinds? Gary Oldman? Maybe even Colin Firth? A little more distinguished. A little more refined. Oh I think he's sexy. And he has a dog. Did I mention the dog?  

(And do not for one moment even think about looking up the actor from the 2013 mini-series. Just don't.)

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