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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Cruelest Month

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!

17 comments:

raidergirl3 said...

I'm glad you've been enjoying this series, I've got the first one to read from the library and now I can't wait to get started. The F word doesn't bother me at all, that's too bad Candleman won't read it.

Scattie said...

I have never heard of this series before, but I think I will see if I can get hold of the books now. I don't mind the F word so much, but I do agree that it can be uses too much.
Thanks for the great post!
Big Hugs, Bethxx

Staci said...

I have one of her books but I haven't read it yet. Your review has changed that and I'm going to move that book up in my pile. I have to read this series for sure. Excellent review!!

Candleman said...

Now I think I might have to read the book because there is nothing in this world I'd like better than for you to feel whole when you're near me.

Kristen M. said...

I need to start this series ... maybe next spring. ;)

Iliana said...

I like this series a lot and I agree it's sort of a cozy but with a lot more going on. I haven't gotten to this one yet and I think she's even got the fourth out already or will soon. I need to catch up! :)

Zibilee said...

I have not yet read any books in this series, but I might have to take a look, since you enjoy them so much. Glad you had fun with the book!

Nicola said...

I like your glowing review of this book (and series). I'll be reading the newest book for review this month as I've been dying to read her for a while.

I don't like swearing in books unless it fits the role. Like if a ganster uses the F-word, I accept it but if a banker does then I don't. Swearing isn't a part of everyday life for me and mine so I don't expect it from everyday people in books. I can tolerate it's use, it just always depends on a book by book basis but swearing in the narrative really irks me as opposed to characters swearing in their dialogue.

Framed said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the series. I just ordered the next one and should be getting it soon. Can't wait.

trish said...

I think what I liked most about this review is that you couldn't put it down even though you were tired. I used to do that all the time as a teenager, but now, not so much. :)

btw, I just sent you an email. I hope it doesn't go to spam!

Les said...

Too bad about the f-bomb. I can usually ignore it, but if it seems gratuitous, I'm annoyed.

Carrie K said...

The series sounds good! I hope the swearing isn't too much for me. I didn't think it bothered me but I've noticed lately, yeah, it does. That and too graphic sex.

Rose City Reader said...

I've heard some good things about this book and the series. Thanks for the good review and the reminder to get the book!

Cath said...

I read the first two of these and liked them a lot. The use of the F word in the third book is a new developement isn't it? I don't remember any at all in the other two. I can cope with it, but it soon gets really tiresome when the use of it is too frequent or inappropriate.

S. Krishna said...

I haven't read this series, but I want to pick it up. I see how the "f-word" issues in this book could be a big turn-off, though! I hope the next few are better!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Your first sentence grabbed me here.... I love a good mystery.

I agree with you on the "F" word. I think it takes away from a book.

booktrash said...

You've sold it to me!