The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny is a case in point. This is #5 in the series, published in 2009.
I love this series. Chief Inspector Gamache heads a detective team from the Sûreté du Québec. He has investigated several murders in and around the village of Three Pines, south of Quebec. During these investigations we have met the inhabitants, gotten to know their hopes and dreams, and their flaws and heartbreaks. They are an eclectic groups, arriving in Three Pines through many paths.
The Brutal Telling begins with a body being found in the local bistro. No one seems to know him. As the Sûreté du Québec team investigates, a feud comes to light between Olivier, the owner of the bistro and a B & B, and, the owner of a new spa in the area. The reader is privy to information about a friendship between Olivier and a recluse living deep in the woods. As Gamache digs deeper, he begins to wonder how Olivier has been able to afford his purchase and remodeling of the bistro and the B & B.
As some of the less appealing sides of some of the residents of Three Pines came to light, I had very mixed feelings. People I had grown to care about had darker behaviors than I wanted to face. I was compelled to keep reading because I had to know how it all turned out, but I was disquieted at the same time. I have come to appreciate the more realistic portrayal of these people. Ms. Penny makes the village seem more real and less of the fairy tale the first four books seemed to show.
I do recommend that if you have not read any of this series that you start at the beginning: Still Life.
I feel that Ms Penny is masterful in creating a place and situations and characters of which you want to be a part. This is a five star recommendation!