Book Review: The Cruelest Month

Author: Louise Penny

Publisher: Minotaur, 2011

Genre: Mystery

My Rating: A+


In the Quebec village of Three Pines, it’s the month of April. Residents are hiding eggs and preparing for seasonal parties. But, there’s also something unusual: there is a real witch staying at the B and B.

Just for fun, some of the residents decide to hold a seance with her. When nothing happens they decide to do it again, but this time up at the old Hadley place. This formerly grand old home looks spoky enough on it’s own. but with a seance to connect with ghosts, it could be enough to scare someone to death.

And that is exactly what happens. Someone dies and, from the look on her face, it’s possible she was scared to death. I wonder what the autopsy will say.

Enter Chief Inspector Gamache and his team. They have been to Three Pines before and know most of the residents. They are also skilled at detecting the clues and analyzing the suspects.

The Chief has more than the murder on his mind.. Someone in the Surete is pulling strings to bring him down. He’s convinced there is at least one spy on his team, but he’s not sure who.

My Thoughts:

This is mystery writing at it’s best. Louise Penny has won numerous awards for her mysteries, and for good reason. She easily pulls the reader into the lives of the characters and makes us care. Her books are not what I would call “nail biters,” but, once I start, I want to keep going until the last page.

Two stories (the murder and Gemache’s internal problems) crossed each other with no confusion. I really liked following both of them. I found myself looking for clues for the murder and clues as to the department spy.

Louise Penny knows how to keep her readers coming back for more. The Cruelest Month is her third novel. As of this month, there are five more of her novels for me to read. I’ve decided I need to speed it up. I won’t wait so long before reading the next book in the series.

I’ve mentioned it before,  but I’ll say it again:  Louise Penny has an excellent website. I love reading it and looking at all the photos. You can find it here:  Louise Penny


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