Dead Cold, The Cruelest Month and A Rule Against Murder are the follow up volumes to Still Life - a series of detective novels - written by Louise Penny. In each volume there is a murder for Inspector Armand Gamache and his team to solve but the books also have another story evolving in the background. In Still Life a sub plot concerned an event that had occurred in the police force some years previously. In the next two books this sub plot is further developed as the reader becomes aware that someone in the police hierarchy is determined to destroy the career of Inspector Gamache. It also becomes obvious that a member of his team is spying on the inspector. In A Rule Against Murder the sub plot concerns the actions of the father of Inspector Gamache during the war.
The books are set in picturesque locations in Canada. The first three books are set in the village of Three Pines while the action of the fourth is centred at a hotel in the next valley. The author introduces the reader to a range of interesting and often quirky characters, some of whom appear in more than one book. As the series progresses more is learned about the main character, Armand Gamache, and his wife with whom he discusses his cases. In some cases this relationship is reminiscent of the relationship of Commissario Guido Brunetti and his wife in the Donna Leon novels of crime set in Venice. In both series of books the location of the plot is important in the telling of the story. In the Louise Penny novels French words and phrases, without English translation, flow easily throughout the text, adding to the atmosphere of the special setting portrayed.
I look forward to reading the next four volumes in the series to reacquaint myself with the world of Armand Gamanche and his team.