Review – The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #3) by Louise Penny

9839068Once again, Inspector Gamache is called to the tiny village of Three Pines when a murder occurs in the old Hadley house.  He is also fighting his own battles within the Surete because of the Arnot case.

The primary mystery and plot line focused on friendship, jealousy, small town living, etc.  Penny did a great job of providing plenty of suspects while keeping it believable.

But, honestly, this became a 5-star read for two of the sub-plots.

A very, very minor portion of the story revolves around Ruth.  She has been written as a tough old bitty who offends everyone around her but she still somehow remains a part of the inner circle of friends.  Here, we are able to see a hidden side of Ruth and it reminds us all that we need to be more forgiving and understanding.  We don’t always know what someone is going through or the memories they deal with.  Most of the time, harsh words may be said to you but the underlying emotion isn’t meant for you.

And, finally.  Finally!  We learn more about the Arnot case (which took place prior to book one) and why it still affects Gamache personally and professionally.  He is a good man who had to make a hard but necessary decision which changed his life forever.  Instead of becoming bitter, he has remained content by accepting his decision and the consequences.   There are those around him that just can’t understand his happiness when their own lives are so unhappy.  Since I don’t want to spoil anything, I will just say Penny found a way to twist the knife unexpectedly.  My heart was racing and my eyes were burning.  It was that good!

5/5 stars.  Highly recommended.

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