The Cruellest Month, by Louise Penny, 372 pages
Winner of the Agatha Award, Best Novel 2008
Thriller and Suspense Challenge; A - Z Title Challenge
Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surette returns to the idyllic village of Three Pines in rural Quebec. But it isn't as idyllic as it originally seems, as another murder has occurred. One of the town members was killed as the regular characters in the series, plus some extras, have a seance in the bad house in the village. It's one of those moments where you want to scream at the book - are you crazy? having a seance in a possibly haunted house? You all belong in teen slasher movie.
Anyway, the gang from Three Pines (Ruth, the angry poet; Myrna, the bookstore owner; Clara and Peter, the artists; Olivier and Gabri, who own the B&B) helps Gamache, who is also dealing with the fall out of an internal police case from several years ago. Someone in the Surette is out to get him, and the politics of that situation is the one I liked more than the actual mystery. Gamache and his team, and how he manages the team are the parts of the book I really like.
Gamache pulls a Poirot at the end and assembles all the participants of the seance at the scene of the murder and then talks out the motives of each, and eventually explains who the murderer actually is. I found this very strange and not at all how I imagine a real police officer solves a crime. It just didn't fit with a police mystery - maybe a private eye or amateur sleuth. However, even with the ending, another great read from Penny.
also reviewed by:
jen forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts
booklogged at A Reader's Journal
joy at thoughts of joy
next in the series: The Murder Stone