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The Cruellest Month

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: ISIS Publishing (May 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753131730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753131732
  • Shipping Weight: 236 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
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Product Description

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.”
---Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 7 2008
Format: Paperback
3rd novel featuring Chief Inspector Gamache

It is spring time in Three Pines; some of the villagers have decided to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, hoping to rid the town of its evil spirits that have plagued it for decades ---- suddenly one of the attendees collapses apparently scared to death.... Or was it murder? Due to mysterious circumstances, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team from the Sureté du Québec are dispatched to this picturesque village. Once there, they probe into the lives of the villagers, questioning and listening to them carefully in order to find the truth, what they uncover is treachery and betrayal.

Meanwhile, the case forces Gamache to confront his past, enemies he has created high up within the Force want his hide, how far will they go to get it...who is the Judas within his own team?.......who can he trust?.....

To obtain full enjoyment of this fantastic series, one should read the novels in order. The author's character development is amazing; not only do you genuinely love every one in spite of their flaws but each one comes to life in a manner you can relate to. You tend to sympathize with Armand Gamache, a brilliant and compassionate Inspector as he confronts his own ghosts while investigating the case. Ms Penny is a superb storyteller; you find a bit of everything: humour, jealousy and a multitude of other human emotions, all centered on a plot full of intrigue. The setting in this book could be referred to as mystical and mythical, a story set in an idyllic village where the author has written about the murder of other residents, how far will Ms Penny go....I can't wait to read her next novel
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By Dorothyanne Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 9 2009
Wow. I have spent the last three days not sleeping, being afraid of the dark, and yet totally unable to put the book down.
The Cruelest Month is a complex mystery, with many characters that may be hard to keep track of if you only read the book before bedtime. But that reading time will expand. Penny's characters are well-drawn, three-dimensional and fascinating. Three Pines is a town that calls to the soul, full of warming fireplaces, good friends, good food and wine. And yet...underneath the surface of such perfection is something much more sinister. At first in the story, the evil seems to radiate from a house where a murder had taken place...but it is more simple, and yet more complex than this.
Add to this the personal and team difficulties experienced by the Inspector following another case, and the book becomes a page turner.
Some parts of the book seem contrived, most especially the denouement scene, and I'll have to read it again to see where the hints of how things worked out were placed, but overall, a very satisfying read. Not good to read after midnight alone in the house....
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Review: Penny once again writes with humour, heart and a whole lot of mad skill in this third book in her highly popular Inspector Gamache series. As in her previous books it's the characters that truly make this series stand out from all of the other mystery series our there.

I will admit that this wasn't my favourite book in the series so far but still a good read. I love that Penny doesn't spoon feed her readers dialogue or give away the mystery in one fell swoop. Instead she drops little hints to her readers throughout the book but in a way that you don't realize it until she decides to help you piece it together. The mystery itself was good (not great) but it was the people of Three Pines as well as Gamache's turmoil and side story that had me turning pages into the wee hours of the night.

The magic of this series is not only the stellar writing (Penny can fling some amazing prose) and the good mysteries but ultimately I keep coming back to this highly popular series because of the characters. Penny uses multiple points of view to give her readers an in-depth view of the mystery and its people but it never feels disjointed. These points of view really make her characters come to life and you can't help but start to care for the regulars in the books.

If you ignore the fact that Three Pines has the highest murder per capita in the world, it's a place you'd love to visit because of the people there. Penny's characters certainly have their issues, jealousies, on-going squabbles with each other and their vices - from Ruth's surprising mothering skills, to Peter's jealousy to Beauvoir's feelings for Gamache - but in the end they feel like a big ol' dysfunctional family. There's an undercurrent of love and respect and I love that.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would say that, being early in the serie, this is an excellent Inspector Gamache book. As with too many authors, Ms Penny seem to loose some of the 'humf' that characterize her earlier books in later ones. This one is well constructed, the story is well developed, the characters are evolving from earlier books, you get even more attached to this little village and its people. It is important to read the books in the order in which they were written to make sure you follow the very important sub plot (or is it the main plot?) of this serie! A definite must read serie, even the later books!!!
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