Search This Blog

Love reading challenges? Check out my other blog:

2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho
- Illinois
- Indiana
- Iowa (1)
- Kansas (1)
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (2)
- Maryland (2)
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota
- Mississippi (1)
- Missouri
- Montana (1)
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (3)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.*


- Australia (3)
- Canada (6)
- England (12)
- France (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Scotland (1)
- South Korea (1)
- The Netherlands (1)
-Vietnam (1)

My Progress:

27 / 51 books. 53% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

32 / 50 books. 64% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

37 / 52 books. 71% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 109 books. 53% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mystery Series Continues to Entertain, Even if Third Book Isn't Quite as Dazzling as Its Predecessors

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Cruelest Month, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from previous Armand Gamache mysteries.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

As Spring brings the little village of Three Pines back to life, its residents are deciding how to celebrate the upcoming Easter holiday.  When a psychic from Montreal shows up in town, a group of villagers hatch a brilliant idea—wouldn't it be amusing to hold a real, live séance in the creepy old Hadley house?  Indeed, it turns out to be a deliciously unnerving event.  Then, bright, spirited Madeleine Favreau drops dead.  Presumably, the 44-year-old died of fright.  The death of a woman as likable as Madeleine can only have been of natural causes, right?

The mysterious death lures Armand Gamache, the Sûcreté du Quebec's renowned chief inspector, back to Three Pines.  Along with his team, the gentlemanly Gamache sets out to discover what really happened to Madeleine.  His verdict?  Murder.  But how?  And by whose hand?  

In addition to solving the puzzling case, Gamache is dealing with internal strife from his mismatched team.  Because of an accusation against his superior, the chief inspector believes he may have a mole among his crew.  While trying to flush out the spy, Gamache must do his best to convince his team to work together.  He needs all hands on deck to solve the murder at hand.  Can he do it?  Or will a traitor in his midst ruin everything?  

Although The Cruelest Month—the third installment in Louise Penny's popular Armand Gamache series—isn't my favorite, it still kept me thoroughly entertained.  I'm always drawn in by the author's signature warmth and humor, which brings her setting and characters to such vivid life.  She also creates complex plots that keep me guessing.  While the murderer in The Cruelest Month felt more obvious than usual, I still wasn't quite sure about the killer's identity until the very end of the book.  Penny does give this installment more depth by using intertwining story lines to explore intriguing themes like jealousy, the inability to celebrate someone else's happiness, resentment, etc.  Then, there's our indefatigable hero.  No matter how unique or mundane the situation, I always love Armand Gamache.  He's a complex, well-rounded character who never fails to entertain and intrigue me.  So, while The Cruelest Month didn't dazzle me as much as its predecessors, I still adore this series.  Something interesting is always happening in Three Pines and I, for one, don't want to miss a word of it!

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Armand Gamache series, including Still Life; A Fatal Grace; The Brutal Telling; Bury Your Dead; The Hangman; A Trick of the Light; The Beautiful Mystery; How the Light Gets In; The Long Way Home; and The Nature of the Beast)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. Too bad this one wasn't as great as the others but you still seemed to like it well enough. That's good.

  2. This one was by far my least favorite in the series. It was just weird in a creepy kind of way. I actually almost quit, but I am really glad that I didn't because Penny's writing really does get better and better!

  3. Oh, and you have so much more fun to go! I agree that this book is not my favorite, but I find it interesting how she will tweak each book story a bit while keeping the main characters fresh and interesting. Keep on going, Susan. I love Gamache.


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Zero Days by Ruth Ware


Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive