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Arts & Culture
There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must Reads: 'Madness of Crowds'

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“Only a fool was deaf to the whispers in the halls of power, now emboldened by Professor Robinson’s success, that most of those who died in the pandemic had underlying conditions. They’d have died soon anyway. Perhaps they whispered, it wasn’t such a bad thing. Perhaps it was a blessing. Perhaps the pandemic had, inadvertently, done them all a favor. Freed some to peace, freed the rest to get on with their lives. Everyone was quick to say what happened was heartbreaking. But really, privately they considered the tragedies of the pandemic a cull. Of the weak.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and that’s an excerpt from Louise Penny’s newest mystery The Madness of Crowds. Abigail Robinson is a famous statistician who, after gathering financial statistics related to the pandemic is promoting the idea of mandatory mass euthanasia for the terminally ill and disabled.

She’s invited to Three Pines in Quebec to give a lecture on her findings. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is asked to provide security for the event. An attempted murder and an actual murder take place over the span of a week. Armand and his two inspectors, through their thorough investigation, learn about horrific practices... specifically mind control experiments done on both animals and humans at a famous university.

As the book jacket says, “Discussions become debates, debates become arguments, which turn into fights. As sides are declared, a madness takes hold.” There are four or five murder suspects and like any good mystery, it’s not solved until the last pages of the book.

If you’re looking for a mystery that will also challenge you to think about the sanctity of life, then you must read The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny.

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