During a Christmas curling competition in the village CC de Poitiers, a recent resident of the village, is murdered. She was not well received by the villagers and, consequently, any number of them could have committed the murder.
Christmas celebrations were magical in Three Pines, but when CC berated her daughter, Crie, for singing too loudly at the Christmas Eve service, the residents were outraged and angered. It was the next day that CC was electrocuted in a well-devised plan that trusted in CC's obsessive compulsive behaviour to be perfect and have things around her be perfect.
Concurrently while investigating CC's death, Gamache was working on the death of a vagrant on the streets of Montreal. Could they possibly be connected. As he puts together the clues, he realizes just what that connection could be and it gives him a bit of insight into the identity of the murderer(s).
Central to the story is a box found with the dead street person with the letters B, K, L. M, and C. There was also the phrase B KLM. The letters could stand for words or be an anagram. Once this mystery is solved, so will the connection between the homeless person and CC.
Grace refers back to the biblical graces of faith, hope, and charity and are usually depicted as young women. However, Claire, one of the villagers who was introduced in the first novel and who has a painting studio in her house, sees them as persons who have aged and endured pain. She paints them as Em, Kaye, and Mother Bea, three elderly, but wise women of Three Pines. From there we begin to suspect from the title that one or all may be connected to the murder.
Penny brings into the cast numerous characters that all have motive and opportunity, including Saul Petrov, a photographer with whom CC was having an affair and who was photographing CC at the time of her murder for an upcoming book.
It is difficult to write much more without giving away the solution and remainder of the plot. Suffice it to say that Penny engages the reader way into the late evening hours and creates twists and turns along the path to the resolution. Can't wait to read #3 in the series.