Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.
It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. . .
When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?
My Thoughts: As we stroll down the streets of Three Pines, in The Cruelest Month, we meet several of the town’s residents: Olivier, from the Bistro; Monsieur Believeau, the grocer; Myrna, who runs the bookstore and acts as a therapist; Ruth, the old poet; and Clara, a local artist. Some are already thinking about Easter, and the wooden eggs they will hide. The children will trade the wooden ones they find for chocolate eggs.
Soon we will meet others, especially Hazel and her best friend Madeleine. Hazel’s daughter Sophie is due to arrive from university.
It sounds like a lovely gathering of friendly people…so how did the festivities turn so dark? It started with a dinner at Clara and Peter’s, where they talked about having a séance, just for fun, since a psychic named Jeanne Chauvet is visiting. But after the dinner, they decide they need something more appropriate, like the Old Hadley House. Abandoned and creepy, it does sound like the perfect setting.
Everything goes bad at that house when someone dies in a horrific death. Who would want to kill this lovely woman? And why?
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache arrives in town with his team, and over the course of days, they begin to unscramble the clues and put together some suspects. Like many mysteries, there are lots of red herrings and people to overlook, and then Gamache, in his inimitable style, zeroes in on the culprit. Amidst the mystery solving, there are some inner workings at the Surete Headquarters back in Montreal, as someone is trying to discredit Gamache and ruin his life. As much as I enjoyed this book, I struggled with the numerous characters and names in French, mixing some up occasionally, which meant I had to take copious notes and pay attention. However, I did enjoy this captivating read that earned 4 stars from me.