The Cruelest Month — Louise Penny

Read Date: August 13, 2019
Rating: 4/5
Format: Print Book

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to the quaint village of Three Pines in this third installment of Louise Penny’s extensive mystery series.

When a woman beloved by all in the community dies of fright during an Easter Monday seance in the village’s most haunted location, Gamache and his homicide crew snap into action, but this murder is just the vehicle for far more intrigue and deception throughout The Cruelest Month. Gamache is also frequently revisited by ghosts of the incredibly controversial Arnot case he worked years before, in which he took the superintendent to task for his habitual mistreatment and murder of Canada’s native peoples. Tensions within the Surete rise to all-time highs during Cruelest Month, and the reader is simultaneously further intrigued and finally given answers we’ve been seeking for three books now.

Penny is masterful at throwing suspicion, as well as at hinting toward intense details while drawing out the suspense before fully disclosing their implications. She has a distinct aptitude for pacing and reintegrating certain plot points just as a reader has begun to let those points slip his or her mind; each of the Gamache titles I’ve read exemplifies this wonderfully, but none as much as Cruelest Month.

I’ve said in other reviews that the Gamache series and Three Pines itself tow the line of cozy mystery without fully crossing that threshold, which is part of why I love them so much. The repartee is absolutely charming and the descriptive language of the town and the characters within it are so picturesque and inviting, but these stories have none of the tongue-in-cheek or quasi-lighthearted frivolity that, I feel, comes with cozy mysteries at times. *typical disclaimer: if you like cozy mysteries, more power to you! reading and reviewing is all subjective, so just because it’s not my cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s nobody’s!*

Find The Cruelest Month here or at your local library, and happy reading!

Xx.

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