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The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny
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The Cruellest Month (2007)

by Louise Penny

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (3)

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1,604944,530 (4.02)332
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English (93)  French (1)  All (94)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
Another enjoyable read from Louise Penny. The third installment of the Three Pines/Gamache mysteries sees some maturity in writing style and a lot more character development. The overarching plot gets a lot of attention and perhaps some closure, though I suspect (not having read the next installment yet) there is more to come.

Narrative: 3rd-person, basic omniscient with some mixed objectivity. Ms. Penny is quite clearly honing her storytelling skills. While Still Life and A Fatal Grace were far from amateurish, the maturity of the writing in The Cruelest Month is very evident. If you are one for atmosphere by well described places, aromas and tastes, then you really can't go wrong with her writing. The food is fantastic. I would prefer to cut the profanity down to about half what it was.

Characters: Being the third installment, the characters are becoming much more fleshed out. I felt that in the previous two they were somewhat contrived. I didn't find Gamache believable in Still Life but at this point in the series he is feeling more natural and is becoming an enjoyable character. A bit of contrivance towards the end with a couple characters but I was able to look past it. I wonder how the stories will continue though because Three Pines has been presented as this quaint tiny village often forgotten or overlooked and yet these murders are occurring pretty frequently. I have to wonder why the residents don't seem as shocked as I'd imagine most residents would be when an unknown killer is on the loose.

Story: Great plot that doesn't feel too stretched out. These books are somewhat cozy so while there are some suspenseful moments they aren't necessarily going to keep you on the 'edge-of-your-seat'. I went back and forth a few times between some of the characters as to who the murderer was. It wasn't completely surprising to find out at the end but I never felt like it was too easy. I'm not sure how well all the elements tie together; some may not be available to us in the story. The new age elements are somewhat hard to believe though the mixing of Christian tradition along with it seems to give it more credence.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. Louise Penny is a gifted writer with the ability to craft atmosphere into her stories in a way that most writers in this genre fall short. At this point, I look forward to sitting down with this cast of characters again soon. ( )
  NeverEnoughTime | Dec 23, 2016 |
It took me a while to get into this book. But once I did, oh my. It made me think hard about people's motivations - not always what they seem.
I cried a lot for all the things that were pulled together at the end.
And I want to read it again soon, paying more attention to the politics portion of the plot. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
I very seldom reread a book, but this is a book club selection, and I enjoy reading Louise Penny. This time I listened to the audiobook, and the pleasure was immeasurable. Penny is the only author able to invoke strong emotions from me. The scenes involving Ruth and the duckling eggs provide a glimpse into the various layers of Ruth's personality that dominant her poetry. The sense of community building and healing shimmers through the darkest of the season. Louise Penny develops and expands on her characters in each new novel. My favorite characters are Ruth, Clara, Myrna, Armand, and Jean. Of course, I relish other characters, each has a distinct personality. Three Pines stands as an Eden, that also contains a serpent, plotting to expel the inhabitants from Paradise. What a treasure to have a new Armand Gamache book to explore. ( )
  delphimo | Nov 23, 2016 |
Fun but I am glad the Arnot subplot is over. At least, I hope so. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Only Canadians really know which month is the cruelest and the most fickle in this country. Being this close to the Arctic Circle we all know that April is a fickle and unpredictable month. This book is set in the month of April in and around Three Pines in Quebec. One minute it's warm and sunny and the next minute there's snow and hail. Gamache and his crew are trying to find another murderer in sleepy little Three Pines. This murderer, if there is a murderer, is just as duplicitous as the month of April. Was Madeline Favreau actually scared to death at a creepy seance in the old Hadley house. This particular house hides a lot of bad memories for Gamache and many people. Or was Madeline murdered? I enjoyed the story as usual. The only thing that brought the book down from five stars to four was the backstory of Gamache's old arrest of a corrupt police superintendent. Arnot is languishing in jail, but his followers are sneaky and there are many of them still withing the Surete. I felt that Gamache didn't show his usual intelligence and inate common sense when it came to more fallout from that old arrest. It seemed out of character to me. But this is a good book and one that makes me look forward to the next Gamache outing. ( )
  Romonko | Aug 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louise Pennyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chabalier, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nagano, KiyomiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saint-Germain, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stumpf, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werbeck, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire . . .
- T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Dedication
For my brother Rob and his wonderful family, Audi, Kim, Adam and Sarah, with love
First words
Kneeling in the fragrant moist grass of the village green Clara Morrow carefully hid the Easter egg and thought about raising the dead, which she planned to do right after supper.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Chief Insp. Armand Gamache and his team investigate another bizarre crime in the tiny Québec village of Three Pines in Penny's expertly plotted third cozy (after 2007's A Fatal Grace). As the townspeople gather in the abandoned and perhaps haunted Hadley house for a séance with a visiting psychic, Madeleine Favreau collapses, apparently dead of fright. No one has a harsh word to say about Madeleine, but Gamache knows there's more to the case than meets the eye. Complicating his inquiry are the repercussions of Gamache having accused his popular superior at the Sûreté du Québec of heinous crimes in a previous case. Fearing there might be a mole on his team, Gamache works not only to solve the murder but to clear his name. Arthur Ellis Award–winner Penny paints a vivid picture of the French-Canadian village, its inhabitants and a determined detective who will strike many Agatha Christie fans as a 21st-century version of Hercule Poirot. (Mar.)

HEADLINE EDITION:
IT'S EASTER, AND ON A PERFECT SPRING DAY IN PEACEFUL THREE PINES, SOMEONE WAITS FOR NIGHT TO FALL. THEY PLAN TO RAISE THE DEAD...
When C.I. Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec is called to the village the next morning he faces an unusual crime scene. A séance in an old, abandoned house has gone horrifically wrong and a villager lies still, spirited away - apparently frightened to death.
Gamache soon discovers that in idyllic Three Pines not all is as it should be. Toxic secrets lie buried, and something fetid and festering has clawed its way out. And even Gamache has something to hide. He is shielding his team from a terrible truth. A powerful enemy within the Sûreté has planted a traitor amongst them. Who will betray him? And how far will they go to ensure Gamache's downfall?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312944500, Mass Market Paperback)

When a group of villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death? Or was the victim somehow helped along?

Enter Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. He knows evil when he sees it. But this time, he’s investigating a case that will force him to face his very own ghosts...as well as those residing in this seemingly idyllic town. Are the residents of Three Pines hiding something great and sinister about their past? Or is April about to deliver on its fateful threat?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the S?urete du Quebec is called to investigate the death of a villager at an Easter seance that was held at the Old Hadley House.

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