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The Cruellest Month

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About the Author

Louise Penny has worked for many years for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with expertise in hard news and current affairs. She lives in Quebec with her husband and their two golden retrievers.


Chief Insp. Armand Gamache and his team investigate another bizarre crime in the tiny Quebec village of Three Pines in Penny's expertly plotted third cozy (after 2007's A Fatal Grace). As the townspeople gather in the abandoned and perhaps haunted Hadley house for a seance with a visiting psychic, Madeleine Favreau collapses, apparently dead of fright. No one has a harsh word to say about Madeleine, but Gamache knows there's more to the case than meets the eye. Complicating his inquiry are the repercussions of Gamache having accused his popular superior at the Surete du Quebec of heinous crimes in a previous case. Fearing there might be a mole on his team, Gamache works not only to solve the murder but to clear his name. Arthur Ellis Award-winner Penny paints a vivid picture of the French-Canadian village, its inhabitants and a determined detective who will strike many Agatha Christie fans as a 21st-century version of Hercule Poirot. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

The Quebecois village of Three Pines (first introduced in Still Life and Fatal Grace) is once again the scene of a perplexing murder, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team have caught the case. Madeleine Favreau, a cheerful and well-liked village resident, collapsed and died at an impromptu seance at a local house thought to be haunted. The cause of death is pronounced a high dose of ephedrine and fright. But Madeleine wasn't dieting, so who slipped her the ephedrine? Gamache is an engaging, modern-day Poirot who gently teases out information from his suspects while enjoying marvelous bistro meals and cozy walks on the village common. His team is an unlikely troupe of departmental misfits who blossom under his deft tutelage, turning up just the right clues. Penny is an award-winning writer whose cozies go beyond traditional boundaries, providing entertaining characters, a picturesque locale, and thought-provoking plots. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 11/1/07.]--Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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