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The Cruellest Month

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This is the third in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and once again it is mainly set in the small Quebec village of Three Pines. Many of the usual characters appear and are becoming more and more familiar.  The reader is made aware of the thoughts and feelings of many of the characters.  Once again the foibles of human nature play as much a part in the content of the book as the details of the crime.  In this book however issues beyond the crime itself play a part and details of the Inspector's earlier career emerge.


The crime itself happens at a seance in an old house on the edges of the village. Once again the crime takes place in a room full of people but no witnesses are available and there are few clues.  Anybody present at the seance could have committed the crime apart from the victim of course!  Once again the book is very character driven and the details of the crime are clever rather than totally believable.  Being set at a seance in an old abandoned house the book is quite creepy in places but far from terrifying.


As I continue with this series I find myself liking many of the characters more and more.  They really are a bit of an oddly assorted bunch but then I guess that such groups of people often are.  Once again I would be happy to recommend this book but would point out that as crime novels go it really is on the gentle clever side rather than the brutal or gory!  I think that I for one am becoming addicted!

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    • By cherrypie
      This is the second book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and once again is set in the Quebec village of Three Pines. Many of the characters who appeared in the first book also appear in this one, both amongst the villagers and the Inspector's team. Once again the book is as much about the characters involved and human nature in general as it is about any crime.  Gamache himself is really beginning to grow on me as are many of the other characters and they are beginning to feel a little like old friends.  A series like this is just great for me as I love character driven books and this series promises to be a favourite.
      The crime itself is set in deep winter and concerns an electrocuted body.  It seems to be the perfect crime as although it happened in a crowd of people there appears to be no witnesses or clues.  When the inspector starts to untangle the victims past however he discovers a history filled with enemies and shadows.  The crime itself is a little bit far fetched but quite clever.  The writer drops little clues as she goes along.
      This is an enjoyable series but if you are looking for hard hitting crime writing I doubt this is for you.  It really is much gentler than that. In many ways I think of Louise penny as a modern day Agatha Christie.  I would certainly recommend this book and the series.
    • By cherrypie
      I finished this book yesterday having taken a few weeks to read it due to time restraints. I believe it to be the first in a series of books describing the cases of a Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and is based in Quebec. I was drawn to the book partly because I have enjoyed other crime series and partly because I was interested in the fact that it was based in Quebec. Other members of BGO have also stated that they have enjoyed books from the series.
      I found the book very easy to read and I am sure that if I had had the time I would have polished the book off pretty quickly. There was no awkward writing style to struggle with thank goodness! The book is based in a small rural town called Three Pines following the murder of an elderly lady and much loved member of the community. I found that the story was as much about the characters and history of the members of the community and Gamache's style of investigation and personality as it was about the murder case. There was certainly no masses of blood and gore more a gentle revealing of character traits and clues.
      As a crime book I would describe it as a gentle read rather than a hard hitting crime book. Just an easy book to read set in a lovely place with an interesting mix of characters with a mystery thrown in. And enjoyable read.
    • By grasshopper
      These books were recommended to me by Momac, for which she has my sincere thanks and eternal gratitude as they have given me great pleasure, enjoyment and welcome relaxation.  Also, an addiction to the writing of Louise Penny.
      The quiet village of Three Pines in rural Quebec has an interesting assortment of inhabitants including a poet, two artists, an antiques collector and a psychologist turned bookshop owner who meet in each other’s homes or the friendly local bistro to socialise,  exchange gossip and enjoy good food.  Strangely, for such a pleasant restful village,Three Pines does tend to have rather more murders than one would expect.
       Chief Inspector Gamache, Head of Homicide for the Surete of Quebec, comes with his team to investigate in the first book, Still Life.  Thereafter  he and the team return at frequent intervals, to solve new murders, while getting to know and understand the villagers more as time goes on.  This makes it hard when those they like are among the suspects.  Sometimes the actual crimes occur elsewhere but there is always a link to Three Pines.
      This series really should be read in order as there are many themes and storylines running parallel and developing throughout.  The personalities and dynamics of the Homicide Team are well portrayed and we begin to know them well as individuals and have an interest in their personal lives.  The lives of some villagers are also explored in detail and we may become fond of or exasperated  by them,   This is done by thoughtful explorations of human strengths, weaknesses and dilemmas, not in any way trite or mawkish.
      The final and greatest pleasure of this series for me was all the incidental general or detailed information about customs, history and locations  in and around  French speaking Quebec.   As usual I ended up with google maps handy to work out where everything occurred in this vast beautiful country and it hqs left me looking forward to learning more.
      I gladly recommend this series and so far have read/listened to and enjoyed seven books.  The sixth, Bury the Dead, is outstandingly good and gained several awards,  but as mentioned previously it is best to read in order to enjoy perfectly.