Ann's Reviews > The Cruelest Month

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
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's review
Oct 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery
Read in October, 2011

This is the third mystery in the Armand Gamache/Three Pines series. This time it's April - as per the title - and it's happened again: someone in the perfect, tiny Quebec village of Three Pines has died a terrible accidental death, except - Chief Inspector Gamache is convinced it's murder.

On the plus side, Penny's writing is, as ever, full of flair, with humor and sorrow both beautifully leavened throughout; her characters show believable development; and she is advancing her interesting, complex, and sometimes interconnected story lines involving the personal lives of Gamache, village protagonists Peter and Clara, and several of the other characters. On the negative side, I found it maddening that she resorts to some of the exact same twists in this novel that she used in the last book in the series (no spoilers, I won't say which ones); and there was no excuse for several of the tired plot devices, unless Penny was casting an ironically loving glance toward Agatha Christie (of which I saw no such signs). Finally, it's strange that a writer with such a deft touch as Penny often exhibits can also be so ham-handedly melodramatic.

On the whole, though, I'm still hooked by the series, especially as I've read reviews that say it keeps getting better. I'll give the next one a try. If you've read the first two, I recommend you read The Cruelest Month - don't give up yet.

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