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The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3)
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The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #3)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  15,010 ratings  ·  1,309 reviews
‘Many mystery buffs have credited Louise Penny with the revival of the type of traditional murder mystery made famous by Agatha Christie. . . . The book's title is a metaphor not only for the month of April but also for Gamache's personal and professional challenges — making this the series standout so far.’
--Sarah Weinman
Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruellest month
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Hardcover, 310 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by Headline (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Contrarius
4.5 stars out of 5.

(non-spoiler alert here -- I'm including a few quotes in my review below, but I promise not to spoil any important surprises from the book!)

I am docking this book 1/2 star because Penny conflated two different species of plants which actually are not at all similar in the way Penny claimed -- which turned out to be important to the plot, since one plot twist hinged on it. I know that sounds confusing, but I don't want to give twists away here. Suffice it to say that her twist
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

Ruth Zardo comes out best in this awful, wrenching hanky-moistener of a book.

That's all I can say. Anything else is a spoiler, and if I spoil this book for anyone, that person will hunt me down and kill me.

Dead, like Madeleine Favreau! Eternal rhyming blank verse written by Odile recited in my ears by Rod McKuen. *shudder*

Secrets. Lies. Jealousies. Anguish. Loathing for the happiness of those close to us. If it lasted a few thousand more pages, I'd say it was a Ken Follett nove
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Francis
Why do I like this woman and this band of lunatics?

First there's the thing about the nice small village which just happens to have the highest known murder rate per capita in the entire world. ..I hate that. Then there's the thing about everybody in the village being slightly eccentric. ..I really hate that. Then there is the kinda obligatory creepy sceance thing in a hunted house. ..Really? do people still do that? Then she starts the book like your typical cozy and then it transforms into a po
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Dorian
My wife stumbled upon the first Louise Penny mystery, Still Life, in the Halifax Airport bookstore a few years ago. (A surprisingly good store, I recommend it to all on your next layover to St. John's.) We both rapidly became fascinated by Penny's writing, which is sometimes too precious, but always redeemed, because made more complex by, her turns towards hatred and anger.

These are really strange books (The Cruellest Month is the third; I expect there will ultiamtely be four; each is set during
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Lewis Weinstein
Early scenes are confusing and slow developing. Waiting for someone to be killed so Gamache can appear and the book can take off.

updated 9/16/13 ...

Gamache has arrived, and the writing style has changed. In the early chapters, there was mostly conversation among the residents of Three Pines, who spoke in the shorthand of people who know each other well. When Gamache is on the scene, clarity accompanies him. Suddenly, Penny finds the few extra words that put characters in context and make it cle
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Margitte
Loved it. Some of the issues brought forward from the first two books are kind of resolved in this third book in a dramatic way.

Erica
I think this is my favorite in the series, so far.

Ruth got her duck. Mom is so happy I've made it to the duck.

To me, this story is about transformation, how it can be brought about by love, jealousy, betrayal, illness, or just being in the right place at the right time.

I enjoy watching this town and its residents, the petty little squabbles, the festering secrets, the togetherness they have. I know small town life and while it's not quite like this, typically, I can feel how this particular dyna
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Nancy Butts
Book 3, and though I hate to leave bad reviews, this one is poor. I don't like the head hopping and her plot in this book seemed implausible. The whole thing about the Arnot case and the vendetta against Gamache didn't ring true to me; nor did the notion that every single person in the book seems to believe that the Hadley house is actually haunted. Really? And Penny's character portrayal is weak. It's not that her characters are cardboard; I think one of her themes is that all of us are a mix o ...more
Goose
You know you have a good mystery writer when the mystery isn't always the most important part of the book. Louise Penny continues to grow as a writer in her third book about the members of the village of Three Pines and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. The members of the village that we have previously met; Ruth, the crabby old poet, Clara and Peter, the artist couple, Myrna, the bookstore owner, and Gabri and Oliver, the gay innkeepers, are all back. New to this story are Madeleine and Hazel, tw ...more
Mkb
I just had an idea about why I both like and don't like this series. I've complained a bit in reviews for earlier books in in the series that the characters seem a bit caricatured. It occurs to me now that most of the characters have one or two dominating characteristics that are underlined frequently. This means that I have trouble "buying" them as three dimensional beings. BUT, it also occurred to me that there is a long tradition of fiction in which characteristics such as Hope or Greed are p ...more
Toni Osborne
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,
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Moira Fogarty
Not the juicy murder mystery in a cozy setting I was looking for - haunted houses, jealousy, gossip and evil conspiracies don't really do it for me. Of the 3 Gamache novels I've read in quick sequence, Still Life and A Fatal Grace were much more engaging. This just felt a bit... forced?

I'm glad Penny decided to wrap up the Arnot subplot, as it was getting tired, and I hope this will be the final chapter on the oh-so-spooky Hadley house. I like anthropomorphizing inanimate objects as much as the
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LJ
THE CRUELLEST MONTH (Traditional Mystery- C.I. Armand Gamache-Canada-Cont) - Ex
Penny, Louise – 3rd in series
Headline, 2007, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9780755328949
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
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Connie
4.5 stars
The third of the Inspector Gamache series and my favorite so far. They just keep getting better and better. As the characters become more complex, and more of their lives revealed I become more and more invested. I am not a "series" reader but this is one that I will follow to the end. The "mystery" is almost secondary to me....though they are a challenge in themselves.
Nancy
This was an overall improvement from #2 in that it was less repellent in the crimes committed, however, the entire "house as a malevolent entity" became tedious rather quickly. Ignoring that annoyance, and being told by someone who just finished #7 that things start looking up after this one, gave me heart to look past the house and focus on the rest of the story and the characters.

The mystery that brings the Inspector back to Three Pines is less compelling than the back story about the Arnot c
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Sharon
I love Inspector Armand Gamache, he's intelligent, kind and thoughtful. He's called again to Three Pines to solve an apparent murder. A group decides to hold a seance in a haunted house and to be expected, the outcome is murder. Inspector Gamache is called in discover the evil resident in the house and the town of seemingly charming and ordinary people. While doing this, he is also reeling from a smear campaign targetting his family. Excellent turns and twists and a thoroughly satisfying read. 3 ...more
Sebastian
Penny has the ability to take us to Three Pines and walk us around the village.

This author has won many prizes for her books in this series, deservedly so based on what I have read so far. The main factor that makes her stand out from most mystery writers out there is that she does not base the success on her book mainly on the mystery plot. Instead, she fascinates us with describing the town and its inhabitants, developing the characters, and showing us what are the reasons behind their actions
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Carol
Louise Penny has become one of my favorite authors. Her first and second books were selected by my book club. Her third, The Cruelest Month, will be reviewed by us next week at our monthly meeting.

It had been a while since I had read her second book and I had to read slowly and try to remember the characters. I love Inspector Gamache and found myself worrying about him all through this book, as if he were a real person. Since I usually cast actors in my books to play the parts of the characters
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Susan
The third and most serious Three Pines adventure thus far. Same great writing but in my opinion this addition was missing some of the humorous appeal the first two held, nevertheless, still a wonderful listen.

Inspector Gamache and his team are trying to solve a murder that is being clouded by the fascination and mania that surround bewitchery and superstitions. Chief Inspectors suspicions are brought forward from book two of who may be responsible for the attempt to disgrace and discredit him.
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Steve
Three Pines gets creepy. Gamache’s challenges are double, figuring out the murder that happened in Three Pines under spooky circumstances and addressing the maliciousness of co-workers holding loyalties to a former leader whom Gamache arrested. That leader, Arnot, had done some pretty heinous things, and Gamache’s convictions compelled him to bring Arnot down and into custody knowing that those actions would turn Arnot’s cronies against him. He was correct about that, and in this, the third book ...more
Chris
Good mystery continuing the series with a return to Three Pines after someone dies at a seance. All the foreshadowing from the previous book culminated near the end of this one, but felt a bit too pat.
Linda
The Canadian village of Three Pines may be idyllic, but it's not immune from murder. As T.S. Elliott so famously wrote, "April is the cruelest month," and as Easter approaches, the residents decide to hold a seance to rid their vacant, creepy manor house of the malevolent spirits that have wreaked such havoc among them. It's a daunting prospect, but something that must be done. One of their number dies of fright, and early the next morning, Inspector Armande Gamache arrives on what has now becom ...more
Kathy Davie
Third in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series revolving around the inspector and a small village outside Montreal during Easter.

My Take
The village of Three Pines is as much a character in this series as the people. Whenever Penny describes this forgotten village in her opening paragraphs, I always think Brigadoon with the swirling years of time and the protection of the Canadian mountains as they conceal this tiny place. There's the old Hadley place, too. Another character abandoned
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Kathy
Another great Inspector Gamache read. Armand Gamache's growing connection with the wonderful people (oops, characters, easy to forget) of Three Pines and the joys and sorrows of all the characters is as absorbing as the murders which must be solved. With each new novel in the series, the village opens itself to the reader more--more characters, more history, more secrets. The famous Canadian poet of the village, curmudgeon Ruth Zador, is quoted by Gamache and adds a nice companion to the plot, a ...more
Donna
I loved how this one started. It was a great opening hook. My only complaint was I wish that would have been sustained throughout the whole book. I kind of got lost in the middle. Overall, I liked this. It flowed nicely and managed to stay clear of complicated paths. It was creative, but yet remained focused on the plot and propelling it forward in a thoughtful way. I think Louise Penny successfully accomplishes that in this series.

Jan C
This is the third in the series. Agents Nichol and Lemieux are back.

The people of Three Pines hold a séance in the B&B and nothing much happens. So someone gets the brilliant idea to hold another séance but this time in the old Hadley house where Clara and Chief Inspector Gamache were almost killed last time out. This time someone dies at the séance. The person they all described as being like the sun. Too bad the killer didn’t know she was already dying.

And Gamache finds himself smeared a
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Melanie
The series does get better and better with each book. There was a lot of depth to this one; Penny really digs into the psychology and relationships of the suspects and humanizes them, moreso than you'd find in a typical whodunit. There was also a powerful subplot this time that really developed the character of the detective, Armand Gamache. I felt the ending - not so much the solution of the mystery, but the plotlines of the "regular" village characters - seemed flimsy, even silly. I think the ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
The plots in Louise Penny's books are a delight. The characters are interesting and are developing over the course of the books. Armand Gamache is as likeable a detective as you will find. And there is a plot thread that runs through all the books with the author holding back the answers to a great many larger questions that the reader finds herself asking as the team from Montreal pursues the perpetrator of the most recent crime. . . .

You can read the rest of my review on my blog at:

http://mary
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Linda
Each time I visit Three Pines, I enjoy it more.

The theme woven throughout this book is the destructive property of competitiveness in relationships. Some characters handle it better than others. While Gamache goes through some heartbreaking difficulties during this mystery, he handles it as nobly and honestly as one can be expected to.

I can't think of any specific reason why, but Three Pines' quirky characters and cozy setting bring to my mind Northern Exposure's Cicely, Alaska.
J.S. Bailey
This was an intriguing novel filled with some of the quirkiest characters I have ever encountered. I also learned that people in Quebec eat a lot of baguettes.
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Inspecter Gamache 4 135 Nov 04, 2013 12:28AM  
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Many of Louise Penny's books are published under different titles by UK/Canada and US publishers.
She lives with her husband, Michael, and a golden retriever named Trudy, in a small village south of Montreal.

Her first Armand Gamache novel, "Still Life" won the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony and Dilys Awards.

Awards:
* Agatha Award: Best Novel
o 2007 – A Fatal Grace – Winner
o 2008 –
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More about Louise Penny...

Other Books in the Series

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)
  • A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2)
  • A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)
  • The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)
  • Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)
  • A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7)
  • The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8)
  • How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #9)
  • The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)
  • The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #11)
Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1) A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2) How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #9) Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6) A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)

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“Gamache knew people were like homes. Some were cheerful and bright, some gloomy. Some could look good on the outside but feel wretched on the interior. And some of the least attractive homes, from the outside, were kindly and warm inside.

He also knew the first few rooms were for public consumption. It was only in going deeper that he'd find the reality. And finally, inevitably, there was the last room, the one we keep locked, and bolted and barred, even from ourselves. Especially from ourselves.”
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“Houses are like people, Agent Lemieux. They have secrets. I'll tell you something I've learned.'

Armand Gamache dropped his voice so that Agent Lemieux had to strain to hear.

'Do you know what makes us sick, Agent Lemieux?'

Lemieux shook his head. Then out of the darkness and stillness he heard the answer.

'It's our secrets that make us sick.”
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