The Cruelest Month

By Louise Penny

Three craggy pine trees had stood at the far end of the green for as long as anyone remembered, like wise men who’d found what they were looking for.

In her metaphors, gentle humor, character development, and well constructed puzzles, Louise Penny is a gifted writer. I can see why many readers feel the need to re-read the Inspector Gamache novels. Knowing what I know now, after finishing just the third in the series, I know I would get a lot of pleasure in reading her descriptions of certain events and people from my new perspective. Things that peaked my curiosity and that I puzzled over before now make sense. I feel pleased that I suspected the truth revealed in the final chapters concerning one of the characters.

The danger of jealousy permeates every corner of this novel: The murder mystery at hand that our hero is investigating, the running plot of Gamache’s enemies and their attempts to destroy him, and more than one subplot concerning secondary characters. One aspect of the overarching conspiracy against Gamache is brought to a partial conclusion in this third installment. Yet, though we fear for Gamache and hope against injustice, we know that in the final analysis, he will be fine because of his safe and happy home and family life. I appreciate the haven this gives me, as a reader, in looking forward to continuing on with Gamache’s saga. His family does come under attack in this one and presumably comes out the other side. We are not really given any closure as to his son and daughter, but only surmise. We will surely be provided the much desired loose end tying in the 4th novel.

Slowly simmering trouble on the horizon for one well-liked character continues to lurk. This character has a triumph, and for less than a minute, we hope that the trouble has passed, only to be thrust back into dread for her. Ms Penny, with her wisdom and insight, will make it an interesting journey.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

April 29, 2018

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