by Louise Penny
I've read some really good books this year but this is the only one I wanted to read straight through the night. I usually don't have a problem putting a book down when I'm ready for bed reassuring myself that it will be there for me tomorrow and that I will have longer to savor it. That rational usually works, but not this time. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to Inspector Gamache.
There are three story lines in this book. The first is the mystery itself - Who killed the victim? Why? How? The second is who is trying to bring down the Inspector and why? The reader finds out the who and the why fairly early on but not how it would end. The third was a small subplot concerning a married couple, both artists, both people I've like in previous books but one is trying to undermine the other.
The Cruelest Month is the third in the Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series. The setting is a picturesque, small community south of Montreal. The characters are quirky, human and very likable. Even Ruth, the angry poet.
I really like Inspector Gamache. He likes to read, he loves his wife and two grown children, he's kind and he's good at his job. I love this description of him (it's also a good description of Clara):
"She often felt foolish, ill constructed, next to others. Beside Gamache she only ever felt whole." That's how I think I would feel next to him. Obviously, not everyone feels that way or someone wouldn't be plotting to ruin his career.
I suppose this series would fit into the cozy mystery genre but there is so much more depth and meaning to be thrown in with some of the lightweights of this genre.
What I did not like: There's only one thing - the use of the F word. Way too much. It was like Penny had just learned that word and wanted to use it a lot or maybe her publisher said her books would sell better if she sprinkled them liberally with foul language. Actually, no other foul language except that one word. I know not everyone cares about the language and I can usually skip over some, but this was too much. I hope it doesn't continue into the next books. I was recommending this series to my husband and mention this problem to him. His response - "That cinches it. I won't be reading it. There are too many really good books to have to put up with stuff like that." Darn, I really wanted to discuss this series with him.
Will I be reading the next two? Yes. Definitely!