Book review: The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny.

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The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (2007, Headline Book Publishing, Great Britain)

The Cruelest Month, the third installment of Louise Penny’s much-beloved Chief Inspector Gamache series treads the familiar woods and shops of the village of Three Pines, and brings back all of our favourite characters to solve a freaky murder involving a creepy old house and an Easter séance.  As Gamache and his investigative team work to undercover the identity of the killer, Gamache is forcibly confronted with the violent demons of his past. Although this sub-plot has been an undercurrent in the previous books, things boil over and revelations abound in The Cruelest Month, adding to the drama and urgency of the case at hand.  As always, I’m awestruck with the clever way Penny builds her books – her gift of pacing and characterization is positively criminal (see what I did there?).

6 thoughts on “Book review: The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny.

  1. I read the Cruelest Month this spring and it is my least favourite so far. Very Agatha Christie-ish with lots of suspects, lots of red herrings and a drawn out explanation about who the murderer is. I’m glad she seems to have completed the plot line about internal conflicts in the Surete and Agent Nichol because neither appear in book 4. I had found that aspect distracting and depressing. I know that a protagonist needs a life outside their police work but found it a bit much.

  2. I need to go back and re-read these books from the beginning! I read this one when it came out and I can hardly remember it! I do love Penny’s writing.

  3. I did see what you did, and you are so right. I particularly like the way she jumps from character to character, which is supposed to be a literary no-no, but she does it beautifully.

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