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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

4.3 (1299 )
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Performance
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  •  
    D. Peck Manassas, VA 04-21-10
    D. Peck Manassas, VA 04-21-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Highly recommend"

    Another addition to a great series. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Librarian OK, USA 03-07-14
    Librarian OK, USA 03-07-14

    Retired "Okie" librarian & happy to have found Audible for good stories & staying in touch with new authors & books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A brilliant, thoughtful, & provoking classic!"

    Another carefully crafted mystery full of observations of life's loves, relationships, & friendships. It has been said that Penny's books follow the seasons. The "cruelest month" is April, & the mystery is set around Easter. This being the third book after "Still Life" set in autumn & "A Fatal Grace" a mystery in winter, I do believe there is a pattern. This is another small illustration of the importance of reading the books inorder. I of course haven't done this yet have enjoyed every book.

    The characters grow & develope, they become more complicated & the readers gain wisdom & insight if not weight from the mouthwatering descriptions of food served up in Three Pines. Ham sandwiches on fresh bread, steaming bowls of cafe au lait, & Brie cheese served up with the sub-plots. All this perfectly narrated by Ralph Cosham. I savor each & every Penny mystery as I did Agatha Christie's.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 11-28-09
    Joan Rice, VA, United States 11-28-09 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    "Enough is Enough!!"

    This is the first Audible listen in years that I've ditched after hours of listening. Reviews of this book all indicated it was a good choice but for me, it was torture! There were just too many unclear subplots. It was hard to figure out who was who with all the French names and nicknames. After about 6 hours I decided I didn't care how the woman died or who killed her. I just wanted to be over it. I guess if you're a fan of this author or had read previous Gamache books, you may have insight I didn't have. As noted in the beginning of this review - enough is enough of this one!

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marthe 07-17-14
    Marthe 07-17-14 Member Since 2012
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    2
    1
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    Story
    "Spring Awakening Disturbed by Murderous Seance"
    If you could sum up The Cruelest Month in three words, what would they be?

    Nonstop surprises at every turn


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cruelest Month?

    The confrontation between the two best friends--the test of loyalty.


    Which character – as performed by Ralph Cosham – was your favorite?

    No doubt Gamache; only to be followed by Ruth


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Gamache and Reboth confront their commitment to each other


    Any additional comments?

    Eccentric, loving and not-so-loving, caring characters who are each a treat to get-to-know

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Ellicott City, MD United States 05-29-14
    Amazon Customer Ellicott City, MD United States 05-29-14 Member Since 2008

    I really enjoy genre fiction, mostly fantasy and mysteries but enjoy discovering new authors.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gained steam as it went along"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, because it's a good mystery told in a slow, deliberate way.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the main character. He's a very real sounding detective. He reacts the way I would in his situation.


    Which character – as performed by Ralph Cosham – was your favorite?

    The reader was very good but I especially liked the way he did the few characters with Quebecois accents. I'm not an expert, but it sounded good to me.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    My one complaint is that while solving the mystery of a woman who died during and séance, there is also a subplot about the main character suffering pay back for testifying against a corrupt cop. I think too much time was spent on something that sounded like the main plot of another book. I rolled my eyes whenever this came up.


    Any additional comments?

    I would compare this to the tv show "The Wire" only in the sense that you have to pay close attention because it is so full of details and little things that flesh out the setting. I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 03-10-14
    Sires Chesapeake, OH, United States 03-10-14 Member Since 2004

    I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Death in Three Pines -- Mystery with Bite"

    Up to this point the mysteries (2 prior books) involving Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec have been on the cozy side, with the inhabitants of the small village located a couple of hours from Montreal depicted as pleasantly off kilter. However, in this book Penny digs deeper into the character of the villages to paint a darker picture.

    It's Easter and the inhabitants of Three Pines hold a seance. A person dies-- murdered or a heart attack-- or maybe both.

    While investigating this mystery Gamache also is having to deal with an episode from his past that is reaching its tentacles into his present and figure out who among his subordinates might be in alliance with his enemies.

    The ending is satisfying although not everything is solved.

    Really enjoyed the narrator also. Cosham's French sounds elegant although I've seen some complaints about his accent, not Québécois but more standard in accent. Very pleasant and easy to listen to though.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gloria Berry Jamesville, NY USA 02-19-14
    Gloria Berry Jamesville, NY USA 02-19-14 Member Since 2002
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    "So glad I found Louise Penny for a new author."
    If you could sum up The Cruelest Month in three words, what would they be?

    A real pleasure.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I have read Louise Penny and her writing style has no down time. Everything written flows in a proper sequence. Always enjoy a new author-especially one who has more than one book she/he has written.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    Most enjoyable. Been a Audible member since 2002 and enjoy mysteries. This is a great one. Mr. Cosham is an excellent reader, one you can understand and enjoy the different characters.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A foreign mystery with intellectual depth, cunning and intrigue.


    Any additional comments?

    Glad Audible searches for books I enjoy and books for those with other taste in thier authors.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy United States 02-03-14
    Kathy United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Another wonderful 3 Pines Mystery"
    Would you listen to The Cruelest Month again? Why?

    I love this narrator so much. I have difficulty with remembering/separating some of the French names of characters, so I found myself having to replay some parts near the end.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Cruelest Month?

    I am now fascinated about the drawings found in the French caves and will have to look that up for more details. I love how the characters in 3 Pines are developing!


    What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I would never be able to enjoy READING this book, because I would spend too much time in my head trying to say the names. I only found this series because I looked up everything R. Cosham has narrated.....his voice and the fluidity...what can I say! Now I am obsessed and can't wait to start the next one in the series...thank you Mr. Cosham!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes I want to go to 3 Pines......it's like when I listen to him read Watership Down, I become a rabbit!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie GLADWYNE, PA, United States 10-11-13
    Melanie GLADWYNE, PA, United States 10-11-13 Member Since 2013

    I like mysteries, especially funny mysteries. No heavy forensics, except when an author makes that somehow not boring.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Full of creepy ambiance and very, very involving"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The drunk old poetess... she is a wonderful recurring character


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    his voice has a nice liquid quality and he seems to be good at pronouncing the French bits... though I am no real judge there...


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Hutchinson, KS, United States 07-01-13
    Steven Hutchinson, KS, United States 07-01-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Three Pines has quite the homicide rate."
    Where does The Cruelest Month rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    These books are very pleasant to listen to. Narrator and writing is nice. It is funny how dangerous it is to live in 3 pines though.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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