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The Cruelest Month

A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Book 3
Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
Length: 11 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,295 ratings)

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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.

Critic Reviews

"Many mystery buffs have credited Louise Penny with the revival of the type of traditional murder mystery made famous by Agatha Christie.... The book's title is a metaphor not only for the month of April but also for Gamache's personal and professional challenges - making this the series standout so far." (Sarah Weinman)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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This one made be the best of the series so far !

I love the way the author fleshed out the characters in this third book. she also tied up some loose ends related to the notorious Arnot subplot. 3 Pines is a place that I would love to visit again!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Not a popular opinion, I am sure

There is so much to love about this series and yet this book had me so aggravated I almost didn't finish it.

The actual murder mystery was as good as ever, with the wonderful quirky inhabitants of Three Pines and generally good plotting.

The subplot of the evil corrupt cops, however, annoyed me no end. Gamache, who is noted for his perception and intelligence was so damned clueless I wanted to slap some sense into him. The twist I saw coming a mile away. The reason for his arch-enemy's actions (and the actions themselves, frankly) was ridiculous. Honestly I can't say how much I hated it.

I am not sure I will continue with the series. It would be nice to think this nonsense was tied up in this one, but from what I have heard of the following books, there is more of it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Very enjoyable!

Engaging story and excellent narration. This series is one of my favorites. The characters are like old friends!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Reread this book!

There are few books worth rereading (the world has so many good books). But this novel has many levels. You might miss some in a rush to finish reading to understand the "story ". If you take the time to read again you will find delightful characters as well as an engrossing mystery. And ideas. And love that people have for one another. Take the time!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Gentle, Thoughtful, Thorough Inspector Gamache

The Cruelest Month, the third in the series, was just as satisfying as the first two . . . maybe more so . . . as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache faces down evil in the old Hadley House in Three Pines, Quebec . . . familiar friends and townsfolk from Three Pines return, artists Peter and Clara, poet Ruth, and former psychologist turned bookstore owner, Myrna . . . as Gamache and his team work to solve the murder, it becomes more and more evident that he has a Judas on his own team . . . waiting to betray him . . . as the case comes closer and closer to resolution, Gamache deals with ever increasing personal attacks, (which go back to a former case, where he exposed the corruption of a fellow department officer) . . . keeping a cool head and vigilant, determination to listen, and seek truth . . . he manages to maneuver his way through the quagmire . . .references to Matthew 10:36 and other subtle biblical quotes . . . meeting God at the door . . . are peppered through Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache books . . . so are things like new age beliefs, seances, and other fleeting trends . . . you are left to suss out what is steadfast . . . what is true . . . what is good . . . I like that . . .

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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lyrical and sad

There are two stories within this novel. the murder is secondary to the continued unfolding of the back story of Armand being made to pay for turning in dirty fellow officers. Both show how love can become twisted into jealousy and acts of hatred but Armand's story so much the sadder. I was somber after listening. Yet this novel includes many moments of poetry and beautiful prose.

The narrator is excellent as Armand but sometimes not as strong in distinguishing other voices as I think he's been in prior novels in this series.

well worth the listen . But be prepared for deep melancholy.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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...Breeding lilacs out of the dead land….

This is a wonderful, entertaining book, subtle, yet not obscure in its underlying mystery, and engrossing in another which envelopes it. It is sensitive, literate, and wonderfully conceived, particularly in its revelation of the series setting, the village of Three Pines. To my surprise, I find it to be the finest of the first three novels. Until now, I have regarded Dorothy Sayers as the most-literary of mystery writers. No longer.

By the way, I, myself—having started with the sixth in the series—would advise reading the titles in order. When I come to the sixth book, once again,I plan to reread it. There is such continuity from book-to-book that I wish to reclaim what I may have missed upon the initial reading.

The Audible editions are beautifully narrated by Ralph Cosham. As I have discovered, the mixture of narration and text is extremely rich, and at times I much enjoyed reading the ebook while listening to the narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great story!

The plot has lots of twists and turns. interesting back story. would highly recommend to mystery lovers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Best modern mystery series bar none!

A thoughtful, articulate, literate and engrossing series. Each book can stand alone but I love how the characters get fleshed out from book to book. Absolutely love the stories and the narration. 5 stars all around.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Another excellent mystery in the series

First of all, Ralph Cosham is superb. He has a pleasing voice and brings the characters to life. I want to move to Three Pines,just as soon as they get those nasty murders taken care of and I want to be a friend to all the people who live there. These stories are so well written that you can get involved in the story line as well as with the richly fleshed out characters. I'm so glad there are many more in this series.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful