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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 (1203 )
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4.6 (845 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sara USA 05-18-14
    Sara USA 05-18-14 Member Since 2008

    I work to keep my reviews free of plot spoilers. I hate reviews that tell you the whole story. That said, I do love reading reviews!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leah Avon, CT, United States 04-17-08
    Leah Avon, CT, United States 04-17-08
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    "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.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOseph Denison, TX, United States 07-30-09
    JOseph Denison, TX, United States 07-30-09 Member Since 2008
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    "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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jovanna Andalusia, AL, USA 04-29-08
    Jovanna Andalusia, AL, USA 04-29-08
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    "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.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Phinney Norwood MA 09-25-12
    M. Phinney Norwood MA 09-25-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Easter spooks"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, with the caveat that there are some over the top histrionics included.


    Would you recommend The Cruelest Month to your friends? Why or why not?

    Louise Penny is wonderful. This book is good, but not one of my favorites. Still a great story well told.


    What aspect of Ralph Cosham’s performance would you have changed?

    Cosham segues from English to French well. I wish he would differentiate the voices a bit more.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    To see Gamache and crime scene with Three Pines in Spring time? Of course!


    2 of 2 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
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    "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 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Berkeley, CA, USA 03-13-10
    Steve Berkeley, CA, USA 03-13-10 Member Since 2005
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    "Enjoyable, but bad audio editing"

    I enjoyed the story and the reader, but I had real problems following it sometime due to very short pauses between scene changes.

    5 of 6 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
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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
  •  
    NKBH Louisville, KY United States 10-20-09
    NKBH Louisville, KY United States 10-20-09 Member Since 2003

    NKBH

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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.

    7 of 9 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.”

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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
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