The Cruelest Month

The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Gamache)

By Louise Penny

Rating: 4/5 Stairs

The Cruelest MonthThis is the third Inspector Gamache novel I’ve read, and they have all been wonderful. Ms. Penny connects you to the characters, making the book more than just a murder investigation. As with the other two books, Ms. Penny ties everything together with a common theme that weaves throughout the story – this book centers around the theme of love.

The Cruelest Month brings us back to the town of Three Pines, a lovely village in south Quebec. One of the villagers has died from fright – or so it seems. Gamache is called in to investigate, and realizes that things may not be as they appear.

In addition to the murder, Gamache is facing a threat on the inside. Someone on his team is trying to bring him down for actions on a past investigation. As the reader, we know who is scheming against him, but Gamache is in the dark.

I think what I like best about these books is Gamache and his investigating style.

[Gamache] listened to people, took notes, gathered evidence, like all his colleagues. But he did one more thing.
He gathered feelings. He collected emotions. Because murder was deeply human. It wasn’t about what people did. No, it was about how they felt, because that’s where it all started.

As a result of his style, Gamache builds deep relationships with his team and the people of Three Pines. And while this is his greatest strength, some see it as his greatest weakness as well – he sees the potential in people and wants to save everyone from themselves.

An excellent series, you can jump right into this book (the third in the series), or start at the beginning with Still Life. (You can find my review of book two, A Fatal Grace, here.)

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