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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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1,9211165,111 (4.01)371
Recently added byprivate library, valoriefj, soul34, CYGeeker, RuthGab, Rozanjeff, tammymilligan, ilovegracie
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» See also 371 mentions

English (115)  French (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 115 (next | show all)
Yes, I am hooked on Louise Penny's Three Pines series.
Somewhat ironic to read The Cruelest Month during what has been a very chilly, winter-ish April here in Vermont.
It is amazing how a small town can end up with multiple suspects in the unusual death of the well-liked Madeline during a seance in the (maybe haunted?) Hadley house on the hill. Between that death, which is soon categorized as a murder, and some insights into the Surete situation that finds Chief Inspector Gamache and his family being front page (lies?) news, there is a great deal going on in this book, but all handled with Penny's excellent writing of intelligent characters.
( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
Digital audiobook performed by Ralph Cosham.

From the book jacket: Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat. It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. However, not everything is meant to return to life … When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the old Hadley house, one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was it murder?

My reactions
This is book three in the series. I like this series cheifly (pun intended) because of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his relationships with friends, and colleagues. I also am quite fond of the residents of Three Pines and their interactions. I love how they form a community that is practically a family, with squabbles like any family but with an underlying affection and love.

It is not a cozy series, though it does feature a small town with a group of rather eccentric residents. This is much more of a police procedural, focusing on Gamache and his team, and how they investigate and solve the crime(s). Still, what really shines, in my opinion, are the characters and their interactions.

Penny crafts the story from multiple points of view. The reader as well as Gamache must figure out the truth from bits of information gleaned from different witnesses / suspects. You know those photo mosaics where each photo is of a specific part of a whole, but all the photos are artfully arranged to form a larger image that you must step away from to appreciate fully? That’s what these mystery novels are like. I’m not describing that very well; I clearly do not have Penny’s gift.

Bottom line: I’ll come back to this series because I like spending time with these people, and I want to see where Gamache’s relationships lead.

Ralph Cosham does a fine job narrating the audiobook. He set a great pace but gives the listener enough time to absorb details. ( )
  BookConcierge | Aug 20, 2018 |
Canadian, Quebec, mystery, series ( )
  jwyss | May 1, 2018 |
The residents of Three Pines seem to have got used to their peaceful village filling up with police officers and crime-scene tape by now: no-one really bothers to act surprised when it turns out that the sudden death that marred their Easter celebrations was the result of foul play. When Chief-Inspector Gamache and his team roll into town once again, the villagers are simply pleased to see their old friends again and have a new source of gossip...

Silly as the premise is, Penny manages to build it into a psychologically interesting plot, where it turns out that a person universally described as popular and well-liked actually had a whole slew of people with plausible motives for doing away with her. And of course Gamache is still confronted with nasty internal conflicts in the Sûreté as the echoes of the Arnot case rumble on interminably - as with everyone's favourite crime-scene, the Old Hadley Place, Penny is clearly too frugal to expend all the possibilities of this useful bit of plot in a single book.

Happily we don't get anything like as many T.S. Eliot references as I was fearing - after an initial flurry, Penny manages to restrain herself quite well. But she does come up with a second Local Poet to give herself the freedom to insert some really bad fragments of original verse into the story... ( )
  thorold | Apr 7, 2018 |
Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat. It's spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. However, not everything is meant to return to life. When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a seance at the old Hadley house, one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was it murder? Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate, and the case will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem. ( )
  jepeters333 | Mar 26, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (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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Wikipedia in English (2)

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?
Haiku summary

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.

» see all 14 descriptions

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