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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Monkeys Aren't People

 This is the third Louise Penny novel, I'm reading.  This one, The Madness of Crowds, had me getting out paper and pen to list the characters, draw a map of the village of three pines and post both papers on the wall, while I read.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't bother, would you?  But Louise Penny is that good.  I plan to read all of her Inspector Gamache series, so I'll keep my lists and map for reference.

This story is very timely.  A local college has invited a controversial lecturer.  Abigail Robinson.  She advocates euthanasia.  Since Inspector Gamache has a granddaughter with Downs Syndrome, he was appalled.  He wasn't the only one.  Robinson's speech was interrupted with shots.  While the inspector is investigating that crime, Robinson's companion is murdered.

Was it mistaken identity?  Was the target Robinson?

No spoilers.  The character's arguments are very topical.  Gamache's family takes an adversarial stance. There's even a cold case that is solved and helps in understanding why Robinson is the way she is.

The title comes from the theory of 100 monkeys.  Eventually, if enough people follow, everyone will follow.  The tipping point in the theory was 100 monkeys.  If euthanasia caught on with enough people, then the sick, disabled, elderly, and whomever was considered undesirable would be euthanized. Would Robinson reach the crowd's tipping point?

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