The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $15.99
  • Save: $3.69 (23%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
The Cruelest Month: A Chi... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used copy moderate wear to covers and interior with notes and markings throughout. Good previously handled copy.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Paperback – April 12, 2011

See all 25 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$7.41 $4.02
Audible, Unabridged
"Please retry"
Multimedia CD
"Please retry"

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$12.30 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel + A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel + A Rule Against Murder: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Price for all three: $35.47

Buy the selected items together

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312573502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312573508
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (605 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Gamache is a prodigiously complicated and engaging hero, destined to become one of the classic detectives.

The cozy mystery has a graceful practitioner in Louise Penny. (The New York Times Book Review)

Don't look for the hamlet of Three Pines anywhere on a map . . . although Louise Penny has made the town and its residents so real . . . that you might just try to find it." (The Chicago Tribune)

[A Fatal Grace] is not the usual 'cosy' or even a traditional puzzle mystery. It's a finely written, intelligent, and observant book. (The Houston Chronicle)

A remarkable new writer . . . Louise Penny arrives with flair, humanity, and intrigue in her debut novel, Still Life. . . . Elegant writing alone would not carry this remarkable book; Penny also creates a puzzle worthy of the masters. But more important, she studies issues of good and evil, of human nature, of human kindness, and human cruelty. (The Richmond Times-Dispatch)

This cerebral mystery . . . is a rare treat." (People on Still Life)

Customer Reviews

Great characters and very good plot development.
Mary Jane Wolfram
Like the other books of the series, the author focuses very much in the psychology of the characters, more than the crime itself.
Maria Guarda Munoz
Without giving away any story line I will say this one feels as though the reader is given a portent of things to come.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Jessica on March 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is #3 in the Three Pines mysteries and I am guessing that the negative reviews of this book come from people who have not read the previous two books. This book relied on a continuation of storylines from the previous books much more than book #2. I really enjoyed Cruelest Month and a big part of the reason I liked it is because it resolved some of the issues left in suspense from book #2. This author is such an incredible writer and the mysteries are intricate and surprising, so that I think this book is still strong on its own, but I definitely think you should read the first two books to truly appreciate #3. I couldn't disagree more about another reviewer's assessment that the characters are boring. The diverse, complicated, and realistic characters are why I love these books so much. Every book gives the reader more insight on each of the main characters. I really have a soft spot for Clara and Peter. The only reason I gave this book four and a half stars instead of five is because the end felt slightly unabalanced, with more focus on the culmination of the political intrigue/conspiracy to bring Gamache down than the resolution of the murder. I thought the "outing" of the murderer suffered slightly at having so much going on for Gamache personally. But still a fantastic book and I am eagerly awaiting hte next installment.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on December 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
First Sentence: 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.

It is Easter and Inspector Armand Gamache has been called back to the small town of Three Pines where a woman has been literally frightened to death during a séance in the old Handley mansion. Gamache has his own ghosts to uncover as someone is out to destroy his career, his life and that of his family. To save himself, he must uncover a murderer and a spy in his midst.

There are not a lot of authors whose words beg me to read them aloud, but I spent the weekend annoying a friend with my constant "Listen to this...". There is such humor and incite in Penny's writing. For me, she hits all the right notes; wonderful sense of place, fascinating well-rounded human characters, excellent dialogue, a bit of suspense, meticulous plotting and just a faint touch of spiritualism. I came away from this, and all her books, feeling I've been giving a bit of insight on human nature but never that I've been preached to.

For me, this book was so much more than a basic traditional mystery and quite possibly, the best of her books yet. The only problem I had with this book was that life kept getting in the way of my reading time. Highly recommended.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
62 of 68 people found the following review helpful By B. J. Wassmer on March 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished The Cruelest Month which I had pre-ordered after thoroughly enjoying the first two books in the Three Pines series. This author's character development is amazing. I want to know Clara, Peter, Myrna, Ruth, Gabri and Olivier in real life. They are such caring neighbors and genuinely love each other in spite of their flaws like true friends do. I grew up in such a town and miss it every day. If I could find Three Pines I would visit it soon. I just want to thank Louise Penny for taking me away from everyday life for a few hours again and making me smile, cry, shudder, cringe and laugh outloud. Can't wait for the next installment!
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Snaildarter on March 16, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've enjoyed this series, and I recommend it to those who like the genre. I do want to say, though, that I'm weary of the author not letting the readers in on the secrets. Over, over, and over, Penny has a detective discover something, or another character see something, and toys with the reader by not saying what it was. OK, once in while that's a device that will keep people reading. But not EVERY disovery, or EVERY insight, or EVERY time a character sees ANYTHING. Enough! Do it once per book, maybe twice at most, and then just write, and forget the devices. Louise Penny is a good enough writer that she doesn't need devices to keep people writing.

And one other thing -- sometimes the repartee among the characters drags. I sometimes skip through the chatter, because it's just a little *too* cozy. So here's my advice to the author: tighten up the dialogue, quit teasing the reader, and TRUST the reader to just enjoy a good yarn with well drawn characters. It'll work, trust me.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Big Mac on March 28, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book Club Review
The Cruelest Month
Louise Penny

Our book club's book for March was THE CRUELEST MONTH, by Louise Penny. We decided on this book because it intersected two themes we have been thinking about reading. The first one was wanting to read a "cozy." The second was wanting to reading something either written by a Canadian or set in Canada. (We were talking about how close Canada is, and yet how little we really know about it. We have also read other Canadian mysteries, and have enjoyed them.)

This is (it turns out) the third in a series set in the fictional Quebec town of Three Pines. A beloved local resident--a cancer survivor who fled life in the big city for something more simple--dies during a seance, which takes place in the town's "haunted house." The investigative team led by Armand Gamache is called in to figure out what has happened. Was it murder? Can you literally scare someone to death? In the meantime, Gamache--who has blown the whistle on some terrible goings-on in the department--is the target of a cruel vendetta that seeks to ruin him, his family, and his career.

In some ways Three Pines is a sort of Quebecois version of St. Mary Mead, complete with all the delightful businesses and local characters that one expects in a cozy. But Three Pines is an update of that typical village; the author works hard at making the cast overtly "diverse," including a much-beloved and accepted gay couple and a black woman who runs the local bookstore. The investigation does proceed very slowly, with a psychologically perceptive but somehow not very satisfying conclusion.
This was a book that, as a club, we felt we really wanted to like, but we were left feeling disappointed, underwhelmed even.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: books 3 months

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
This item: The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Price: $15.99 $12.30
Ships from and sold by