søndag den 19. juli 2009

Louise Penny, The Cruellest Month (2007)

[Denne roman er ikke oversat til dansk]

This novel is the third in the Armand Gamache series which takes place in Quebec, Canada. The review is the last of six for my cozy mystery challenge.

A quotation from the first page:
“You going tonight?” Clara asked, trying to distract the old poet from taking aim at Monsier Béliveau. “Are you kidding? Live people are bad enough; why would I want to bring one back from the dead?” With that Ruth whacked Monsieur Bélieau in the back of his head.

The village of Three Pines prepare for their Easter egg hunt, hiding wooden eggs around for the children. One gets an impression of the colourful villagers immediately, e.g. old Ruth Zardo who throws her eggs at people rather than trying to hide them. She was the one who warned the others against using chocolate eggs the first year, predicting that ´something bad will happen´. That year the villagers learnt that bears also like chocolate and quickly decided to substitute them with wooden eggs in the future.

This particular year offers special entertainment: a séance to wake up the dead. The first try has no effect at all, hence the medium (a psychic witch) suggests that they have another one in the abandoned Hadley house. As any reader could have predicted, something bad will happen again: apparently one of the participants is frightened to death.

Armand Gamache of the Sûreté is put on the case; an excellent agent as well as a kind and likeable person. Gamache has been to Three Pines before on a case related to the mysterious Hadley house. Apart from solving the case he has his own problems: some years ago he exposed a bent colleague, and since then strong forces within the Sûreté have wanted to get rid of him.
Canadian Louise Penny is brilliant at creating an atmosphere. Even though I don´t like superstition and psychics in crime fiction as a rule, I found this mystery more exciting and appealing than most of the traditional cozies.

One small minus: in the ongoing “civil war” between good and corrupt forces within Sûreté, Armand Gamache is almost too perfect, more like a saviour than a real human being.

See some other reviews here: Kerrie, Mysteries in Paradise and Cathy, Kittling: Books.

12 kommentarer:

gautami tripathy sagde ...

I have read one Penny book and I liked it!

Heather sagde ...

I have only read the first book in this series and loved it. Love the character of the Inspector. I have the next one waiting for some spare reading time.

Dorte H sagde ...

Gautami, it was very entertaining, and I really want to read the other ones.

Dorte H sagde ...

Heather, as far as I remember, you were the first person who recommended Louise Penny to me. Now I have tried her, and the series is certainly on my wish list.

seana graham sagde ...

I'm definitely going to check her out!

Dorte H sagde ...

Seanag, I think you´ll like her.

Kerrie sagde ...

I like the village of Three Pines, and there is something very comfortable about Gamache. I have the most recent still to read (last year's that is) and I think there is another one out now,

Dorte H sagde ...

Kerrie, it was a really good prize :D

Beth F sagde ...

I keep meaning to read Penny's books... I believe I own the first in this series.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth, I think you´ll like it.

susan klee sagde ...

these books meet my criteria for a really good murder mystery: The characters are three-dimensional; the books are real novels:(the characters grow, the landscape is real and interesting); if I am smart enough, I can figure out "who done it," i.e there is no /deus ex machina/ murderer at the end to surprise the reader. I love these books!
Susan K (california)

Dorte H sagde ...

Hi Susan.

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Yes, Louise Penny writes very well, and she is great at making characters and environment come alive.