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The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Paperback – April 12, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
“With its small-town hominess, the Canadian village of Three Pines draws the reader into its quaint traditions. Who wouldn't be charmed by the dramas of a community where Easter egg hunts and socials at the bed and breakfast are the most exciting events?”
“Mystery readers who want more than puzzles and thrills look for serious purpose and literary value, and Canadian writer Louise Penny provides both in spades - and hearts.”
“Louise Penny is almost single handedly taking us back to the good old days of the traditional village mystery. Influenced by Simenon, Christie, and Sayers before her, Penny is doing them all one better....THE CRUELEST MONTH soars above them all.”
―Mystery News (5 quills out of 5)
“Penny's plotting has been compared to Agatha Christie's, and indeed she follows the same method of tossing out so many clues that the few salient ones are impossible to single out. But it's more about the journey than the destination in these wonderful books full of poetry, and weather, and a brooding manor house, and people who read and think and laugh and eat a lot of really excellent food. Move over, Mitford.”
“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.”
―Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Penny is an award-winning writer whose cozies go beyond traditional boundaries, providing entertaining characters, a picturesque locale, and thought-provoking plots. Highly recommended.”
―Library Journal (starred)
“Perhaps the deftest talent to arrive since Minette Walters, Penny produces what many have tried but few have mastered: a psychologically acute cozy. If you don’t give your heart to Gamache, you may have no heart to give.”
―Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Not only must Gamache deal with the murder, but a series of stories appear in the Montreal newspapers accusing him of being in cahoots with Superintendent Arnot, a Sûreté officer Gamache arrested for murder knowing that he would no longer be part of the inner circle of the Sûreté du Québec and his career would be stalled. His fellow officers either loved or hated his actions, but now someone has started a hate campaign in the newspapers against him. Gamache does not respond knowing that it will only add fuel to his detractors. However, when the instigator goes after Gamache's grown son and daughter, he goes toe to toe with the man he believes is behind the attacks only to find out that he was wrong, very wrong.
Once again, Penny has written a wonderfully rich and detailed procedural set in a village whose residents are quirkily unique, like the renowned poet Ruth Zardo who, in this outing, has bonded with a pair of ducklings. Each time Penny returns Gamache to Three Pines, readers learn a little more about the residents and by this outing, it is as if the reader is catching up with old friends.
Penny's writing is fluid and rich. In every book, the reader will find sentences that compel her/him to write them down. For instance, in this book, Penny says ". . . Three Pines smelled of fresh earth and promise. And maybe a worm or two." Added to the wonderful way with words that Penny possesses are the images she creates of her characters. Here, she has Gamache, who is a large man, tiptoeing down the village street after a rain storm trying to avoid stepping on the worms that litter the road.
This is a series that needs to be read in the order Penny wrote them starting with "A Still Life." Reading the series in order allows the reader to get to know Gamache and his team and the residents of Three Pines. Penny is not stingy with the details of her characters' lives, but in each book she manages to add another layer to each character so we understand them better, like them more, and even be surprised by some of them.