Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Cruelest Month - Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #3) by Louise Penny

Rating: Liked It
Source: Library (Audio)

Description:  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.

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I listened to the first two and really enjoyed them so of course I had to continue!

My Impression:  I had high hopes for this one as it begins with Ruth throwing eggs at people who annoyed her or seemed unsuspecting as the rest of Three Pines prepares for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  As well the premise of the séance turned deadly appealed to me.  And I did feel the mystery aspect lived up to my expectations.  However, the book itself did not.  While I enjoyed the time spent figuring out just what had happened Madeleine I got frustrated with the amount of time spent on the Arnot story arc.  I've never been a big fan of conspiracies and having so many people out to get Gamache strained believability for me.  Gamache is such a kind, gentle and caring man and while I could see how his actions would make him unpopular and untrustworthy to the higher ups it was hard to believe that there would people who would be so out to destroy him that they would resort to the actions that take place in this book.  I found those passages unpleasant to read and well as taking up valuable page time that could have been spent on discovering more about the world Madeleine inhabited.

The mystery itself was incredibly well done and I loved seeing a somewhat softer side of Ruth as well as getting to know several of the residents in Three Pines better.  I did feel like the motive could have been better explored.  Quite a lot of the book is devoted to the Arnot case from Gamache's past which doesn't appeal to me and so I was frustrated that it was taking away from the mystery that I was enjoying.  While most mystery series are fine to jump around in this is a series that is really best when read in order - especially this one.  Luckily, reading the first two books is hardly a hardship!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Definitely!  I need to continue with this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy solid police procedural style mysteries this is a great series though start with the first book!


  1. It's such a pretty cover with that pink blossom tree! This genre always seems to produce a range of interesting covers.

  2. i Would like to try this series eventually. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  3. I am sorry this one didn't live up to the first two, but I am glad you liked it just the same. I really need to give this series a try.

  4. Glad you enjoyed this one to want to continue with the series - it's important to find books we can get lost in...

  5. I enjoyed this one, and the first two books in the series. I need to get back to them! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love Ruth, this series gets better as it goes!!

  7. I have this series on my TBR.

  8. So many readers love this series and they say it gets better as it goes along. Pity about the things you didn't like but seems like there is enough to keep you going!

  9. A shame this didn't live up to your expectations but it sounds good. I've been wanting to try this series.