“What happened here last night isn’t allowed,” said Madame Dubois.It was such an extraordinary thing to say it stopped the ravenous Inspector Beauvoir from taking another bite of his roast beef on baguette.“You have a rule against murder?” he asked.“I do. When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse we made a pact....Everything that stepped foot on this land would be safe.”It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own.The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.
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In the height of summer the guests descended on the isolated lodge by the lake, summoned to the Manoir Belle-chasse by identical vellum invitations, addressed in the familiar spider scrawl as though written in cobwebs. Thrust through mail slots, the heavy paper had thudded to the floor of impressive homes in Vancouver and Toronto, and a small brick cottage in Three Pines.
The mailman had carried it in his bag through the tiny Quebec village, taking his time. Best not to exert yourself in this heat, he told himself, pausing to remove his hat and wipe his dripping head.
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Acclaim for the Award-Winning Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries“If you don’t give your heart to Gamache, you may have no heart to give.” --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“With its small-town hominess, the Canadian village of Three Pines draws the reader into its quaint traditions.Who wouldn’t be charmed by the dramas of a community where Easter egg hunts and socials at the bed and breakfast are the most exciting events? Yet it is Penny’s fastidious, cultured, and smart Inspector Gamache who makes [The Cruelest Month] impossible to put down.” --People “The cozy mystery has a graceful practitioner in Louise Penny.” --The New York Times Book Review
“Expertly plotted… 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 twenty-first-century version of Hercule Poirot.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Mystery readers who want more than puzzles and thrills look for serious purpose and literary value, and Canadian writer Louise Penny provides both in spades--and hearts.” --Richmond Times-Dispatch“Penny’s plotting has been compared to Agatha Christie’s...in these wonderful books full of poetry and weather and a brooding manor house, and people who read and think and laugh and eat a lot of really excellent food. Move over, Mitford.” --The Charlotte Observer
LOUISE PENNY is The New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of seven novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Her debut, Still Life, won the John Creasey Dagger and the Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys Awards, and was named one of the five Mystery/Crime Novels of the Decade by Deadly Pleasures magazine. Penny was the first author ever to win the Agatha Award for Best Novel four times—for A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, The Brutal Telling (which also received the Anthony Award for Best Novel), and Bury Your Dead (which also won the Dilys, Arthur Ellis, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero Awards). She lives in a small village south of Montréal.