We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
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.
Regular Price:$23.07
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (1172 )
5 star
 (638)
4 star
 (363)
3 star
 (110)
2 star
 (41)
1 star
 (20)
Overall
4.4 (801 )
5 star
 (458)
4 star
 (241)
3 star
 (76)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.6 (816 )
5 star
 (574)
4 star
 (186)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Leah Avon, CT, United States 04-17-08
    Leah Avon, CT, United States 04-17-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent!"

    Louise Penny offers incredible depth to all of her characters, and each book in the Gamache series probes into the characters of Three Pines more and more. Penny's latest book offers a mystery that leaves you guessing until the end when the truth is finally revealed. Incredible writing AND an incredible plot? Awesome.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOseph Denison, TX, United States 07-30-09
    JOseph Denison, TX, United States 07-30-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    92
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Terrific Read"

    Wow, was I ever surprised that I liked this book. I normally don't go for the cozy style mystery, but this series is an exception. Louise Penny writes in such a thoughtful way, and describes everyday life in such familiar, endearing terms....Gamache is a great DCI, and his perspective and kindness made me take a hard look at myself. I really love these books. Hopefully, you will as well.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jovanna Andalusia, AL, USA 04-29-08
    Jovanna Andalusia, AL, USA 04-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Beautiful Mystery....."

    Louise Penny proves with her latest novel that she is no fluke. Three Pines is a wondrous place to visit. It sounds strange to describe a murder mystery as lyrically beautiful.....but she manages it. Give yourself a treat and visit Three Pines.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP United States 03-29-13
    KP United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    149
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    265
    79
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    5 of 5 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 2007

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1327
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    336
    140
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    569
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara USA 05-18-14
    Sara USA 05-18-14 Member Since 2008

    No plot spoilers

    HELPFUL VOTES
    489
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    118
    92
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    15
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spring in Three Pines"

    Well I'm not sure about this series. I loved Book 1 --Still Life--thought it a complex engaging story. I had mixed feelings about book 2 which seemed formulaic and too much like book 1 to be engaging. I already had book 3 in my library so I pushed ahead. The sort of shot gun approach to the story telling makes everyone in the story seem sinister and guilty and in the end it over does. There are so many characters with minor roles or maybe future rolls in new books that it can be confusing and cumbersome keeping it all straight. So very many red herrings and outlandish turns of events that it made me sigh, roll eyes, and almost give up. However, I will say the book continues to evoke the village of Three Pines in Canada south of Montreal beautifully. Makes me want to drive there and stay at the B&B and walk the village green. But, if you ask if I'll read another book in the series--probably not. Lost in the drama of it all.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janels Highlands Ranch, CO, United States 03-20-12
    Janels Highlands Ranch, CO, United States 03-20-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    152
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    251
    117
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    44
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another great Gamache mystery with special insight"

    I have become a devotee of these lullingly fascinating mysteries which are about as close to Christie as I have been able to get. Serenity and gentility pervade the stories, and you are drawn into the ideal armchair mystery puzzle. This book, in particular, allows unusual slippage of the masks of prominent characters, including Gamache and the inscrutable Ruth. In my unfortunate fashion of reading series backwards, with most recent first, then the previous, I have knowledge of the outcomes of many of the characters. However, in this book, Gamache, Ruth Zardo and even John Guy Bovoire reveal different and deeper aspects of their inner selves not seen in subsequent books. In fact; some of this book's revelations seem at odds with the newest stories. However, it all makes the Camelot of Three Pines and its inhabitants all the more interesting.

    Penny observes the rule of honor for mysteries Christie established and respected; that of providing all the clues to the reader, thus allowing them to fairly match wits with the protagonist to solve the crime. Other authors pull the solution out of a hat, not unlike a rabbit; only then revealing "clues" to which the reader was not privy. This is a telling, not an involvement for the reader.

    This was, as all are, a thoroughly enjoyable mental exercise and insight into the minds and lives of Gamache, his team, the Surete politics, and the residents--with a few new and enriching glimpses into the people that drive the books. I always think the marvelous narrator's tone so monotonous it will be dull; but that is never the case; it reflects perfectly Gamache's demeanor.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan York, ME, United States 11-27-09
    susan York, ME, United States 11-27-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SMR Austin TX 03-24-14
    SMR Austin TX 03-24-14 Member Since 2004

    SMR

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator, please read!"
    What did you like best about The Cruelest Month? What did you like least?

    The story delves deeper nto the characters and motivations of the key residents of Three Pines. I love the interaction between them and the Chief Inspector.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Well set up.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I've read quite a few of her books and enjoyed them all. Actually, I've listened to the majority of them and have one complaint: The narrator needs to pause for a greater length of time when the scene changes versus when there is just a new paragraph. That would make it a bit easier on the listener to grasp the flow of the story.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandria Milton New York 09-22-13
    Alexandria Milton New York 09-22-13 Member Since 2012

    Alexandria

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    48
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great story for Halloween!"

    Along with Still Life, this is one of the best books of the series. It's telling - of a séance in the old abandoned Hadley House - is reminiscent of a campfire thriller. The ambiance is set from the first moment the story begins, and the mystery soon follows. The pacing is fast and engaging, and best of all it features the fun, quirky, and imperfect characters from Three Pines in abundance. Their artistic sides are spotlighted in new and interesting ways - Clara's newfound success with her painting and her husband's silent jealousy; Ruth's biting and witty sarcasm which we find is informed by a deeply felt humanism, one which she can only express through poetry and her love for animals; the struggle of less talented artists to succeed in a nearly impossible field. The themes of the story are jealousy, the measure of success, and the struggle to find belonging in a competitive world.

    I have only 2 mild criticisms: 1. Penny's writing follows a definitive pattern which makes it too easy by Book 3 to guess who the murderer is and anticipate how the mystery will unfold. This is not a tragic shortcoming, however, because the characters of Three Pines and their struggles are as important to the story, if not more so, than the mystery itself. 2. There is a scene in the end which is so entirely implausible and ridiculous that it threatened to ruin the book. I don't want to give it away, so I'll just say that it includes Inspector Gamache gathering the entire community together and airing all of their private business in public without their consent. For a man who is supposed to be the ideal moral compass (ironically making him by far the least interesting character in the entire series) this move exhibited a startling disrespect for the feelings and privacy of the inhabitants of a town which he supposedly loves. This scene should have been handled differently.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book - one of the best in the series. A tip: It's best enjoyed in the dark!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 63 results PREVIOUS127NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.