Louise Penny has never painted Armand Gamache as a party animal in the previous eight parts but he has been the guy who likes the company of friends. The line of friends in the department is thinning for Gamache because most of his friends have now retired and the new perhaps don’t believe in his skills a lot. There is one old friend who is still there in the department i.e Jean-Guy but the two have a mountain of differences between them which stops them from the meeting. Crime is going out of control and one man cannot stand against everything because he cannot be in every place all the time. With Christmas time approaching most of the people around in the department have left for the holidays. Everyone is looking forward to leisure time with family and friends. Gamache lacks this charm in life and that’s why Ralph Cosham during narration uses a dull voice for him. During these Christmas days, Myrna Landers makes contact with Gamache and she thinks that she has a case in hand for him.
An old friend of hers has not reached the village for Christmas and she needs Gamache to investigate. Gamache thinks of it as a nice opportunity to escape the city life and quickly reaches Three Pines. Still, Life was better in the presentation of characters and A Fatal Grace had a good story in it. This ninth part has the combined qualities of these two books in it. The story is strong and also we can see the emotions which are building up in Gamache in his lonely condition. It was like he wanted this mission to revisit the old friends of the village.