April is the cruelest month according to T.S. Elliot. Louise Penny took him at his word and gave her hero a serious beating in this third installment of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. The murder investigation almost takes a back seat to the Sûreté subplot that's been brewing over the previous two books. Despite the usual beautiful writing and oodles of character growth, the pacing seemed off and I thought this was about a three-star read . . . right up until that last 20%. A festering boil comes to a head and all sorts of nastiness comes out. It's painful, it's brutal, and it's worth an extra star all by itself.
I haven't got time to gush as much as I'd like, but I will say this: I continue to encounter typos and formatting errors and questionable stylistic choices that rub me the wrong way, and I don't even care. These books are so good I stick my inner pedant in a corner, give her a grammatically correct cookie to shut her up, and just sit back and enjoy the stories and (most of) the characters. At this point Louise Penny is on my auto-buy list. If she publishes a collection of her grocery lists I would buy it and read it and probably feel enriched for the experience.