I used to read a lot of traditional mysteries, with Inspector So-and-So investigating a murder in an interesting locale. This one - part of a series - is set in the French Canadian village of Three Pines, and features a cast of charming, eccentric, artsy characters. Our Inspector is named Gamache, and he is suitably brilliant, urbane, warm, and practically perfect in every way. Our murder victim is an anonymous hermit from the deep woods, who has stored away in his cabin rare works of art and precious first editions. Our suspects, among others, are the owner of a local bistro, the owners of a new spa competing with local businesses, a greedy art dealer, members of the Czech immigrant community.
The book is jam-packed with fascinating story lines, revolving around clever literary and artistic puzzles. I loved loved, loved it until the end, which left me gasping with frustration. The actual solution to the murder, if it is indeed a solution - is contrived. Those fascinating storylines are red herrings, unconnected to anything. The failure to resolve them leaves gaping plot holes. Obviously in a mystery of this sort, one expects red herring, but those storylines should be resolved in some consistent manner within themselves, so it is less obvious to the reader that they are only put there for the sake of misdirection.
I am a fairly sophisticated reader, and I have no quarrel with ambiguity and unresolved endings. Just not in a whodunit.