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The Cruelest Month: A Three Pines Mystery | [Louise Penny]

The Cruelest Month: A Three Pines Mystery

It's spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees, and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil - until one of their party dies of fright.
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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.

It's spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees, and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life.

When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil - until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate, in a case that will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town, where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.

©2007 Louise Penny; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gamache is a prodigiously complicated and engaging hero, destined to become one of the classic detectives." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1442 )
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Performance
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  •  
    NKBH Louisville, KY United States 10-20-09
    NKBH Louisville, KY United States 10-20-09 Member Since 2006

    NKBH

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Memorable Characters"

    The Cruelest Month is my first book by Louise Penny and it is wonderful. The narrator is excellent with outstanding French accent. However, there is a major plot line in this novel that is covered in the first two books. I recommend reading the books in order. I am going back and listen to Still Life and have a wonderful journey with the Chief Inspector Gamache and his team.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 09-15-13
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 09-15-13 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This one deserves a second listen."

    I do love this series, so I'm biased. But I think this particular book in the series needs to be listened to twice. The first time you listen you want to know what's going to happen. The characters are so real that you're transported to Three Pines. I can see every one of these people. I finished the book and immediately listened again. The second time it was to really examine the writing and to see how Louise Penny constructs these books to make them so appealing. They are so well crafted. I really appreciate her skill as a writer. And I very much appreciate listening to Ralph Cosham. I can't imagine a better narrator.

    If you've not listened to any of these books, I wouldn't start with this one. Though each book can stand on its own, it's really nice to start with "Still Life" and get the background on each character.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LINDA BOISE, ID, United States 04-27-12
    LINDA BOISE, ID, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2007

    “Favorite authors- Nevada Barr, Craig Johnson, Louise Penny. Narrators, Marguerite Gavin, Barbara Rosenblat, George Guidall, Ralph Cosham.”

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Murder mysteries, no gore LOTS of dry humor!"

    Set in a small Canadian village. I laughed all the way through. A drunken Poet Laureate with a foul mouth, a cafe owned by a gay couple, a bookstore owned by an obese black psychologist, 2 artists who remind me of the Odd Couple and a gentle Chief Inspector with a dry wit. Not politically correct but definately funny and without malice.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwyn Toluca Lake, CA, United States 01-29-11
    Darwyn Toluca Lake, CA, United States 01-29-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loving this series"

    While browsing titles, I stumbled across Louise Penny and the Three Pines/Inspector Gamache novels. I was looking for something that was intriguing, but fresh. Decided to give Penny a try after reading a few of the summaries. Lucky for me. This series provides all of the mystery essentials, but is infused with an unusally great sense of fun. Three Pines is peopled with wonderfully drawn complex characters; even the best people in this hidden away village have their dark moments. In The Cruelest Month, Penny wraps up the insidious story within the stories that was introduced in the first of the series and threaded through the second, even as the wise and skillful Inspector is on the job ferreting out murderers. Cosham, as the reader, is top notch! Well done all.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP United States 03-29-13
    KP United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2005
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    "What's Cruel is That The Month Seems Like a Year"

    After being so happy with the first two novels in this series, I was disappointed that this one dragged a lot (first three quarters of book basically). It did not have the charm nor pleasantly steady pace of the first two Gamache books. Still, a nice twist at the end means I'll check out the next one in the series. And the narrator is great.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan York, ME, United States 11-27-09
    susan York, ME, United States 11-27-09
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    "Excellent, authentic atmospheric, mystery!"

    This was my first Louise Penny book but it will not be my last. The author sets the scene beautifully with excellent, artful, subtle descriptions of everything from the Quebec woods to the brie dripping off crisp French bread. The story is intricate but not too complex, the characters have depth and there is also some comic relief and profound philosophy, all in a good mystery. The narrator was well chosen and a pleasure to hear.I will miss his accent till the next time!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Bartonville, TX 09-09-13
    Susan Bartonville, TX 09-09-13 Member Since 2012

    Myst/thrillers and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.  

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    "Spring Storms"

    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. He is truly thrown by the lengths of betrayal that ensue for the purpose of revenge against him. Being the consummate professional that he is, Gamache, of course, keeps focus on the task at hand, uses his excellent powers of deduction and wraps it all up.

    As always Ralph Cosham does a great job narrating and really brings the essence of Gamache's character to life. Louise Penny did such a beautiful job of describing the weather and foliage of Montreal in the Springtime, she captured the very existence and truly delivered a vision. It is so creative and clever how she finds a way to weave famous quotes into all of her books, it is such a treat. I look forward to enjoying the new characters, Inspector Gamache, and the next Three Pines adventure.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 07-14-13
    Deborah 07-14-13
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    "My favorite so far"

    I so enjoy spending time with these characters in Three Pines. How I wish I lived there! This mystery has a number of layers and reveals more about CI Gamache's past. It's darker, more serious but still filled with the wit and warmth and lovely literary allusions that make these stories such a delight. Can't wait to listen to #4. I'm missing Ruth and Clara already!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Glen Gardner, NJ, United States 07-09-13
    Karen Glen Gardner, NJ, United States 07-09-13 Member Since 2014

    Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.

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    "Entertaining Cozy, some flaws"
    What did you like best about The Cruelest Month? What did you like least?

    This is the third Three Pines Mystery by Louise Penny. I must say that I have decided that this is a superior mystery series. The Cruelest Month was my second favorite so far - not as good as book 2, A Fatal Grace, but better than Still Life. These books certainly have faults, and in this one particularly there is some excessive drama - the detective calls everyone together at the crime scene and does this dramatic thing where he says why each of them could have done it. Oh, please! How Hollywood! I find it hard to explain exactly why I like these. I enjoy the characters and the intellectual conversations these people manage to. I like the small town atmosphere. Of course like any book set in a small town as a series continues it gets more difficult to get together a good group of suspects. She at least sticks to one victim to keep the supply available. I also enjoy the descriptions of food, usually from the local bistro. You have to wonder how people who cook these marvels end up at a B&B in the middle of nowhere - however it looks like that gets addressed in book 4. Anyway these are well done audiobooks and I think the narrator does add to the enjoyment.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIII 03-23-13
    HIII 03-23-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Great listen!"

    I truly enjoyed this listen! Cosham's narration is fantastic. Louise Penny does such a lovely job weaving words into description and action. Don't miss this it is perfect!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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