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151 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I need help. I don't know."
These were the four sentences Chief Inspector Armand Gamache had learned from his own Chief, Emile Comeau, when he was a green agent and which he passed on to each agent under his command in the Sūreté du Québec. They are sentences Gamache has found more need of than ever in the months since the events in Louise Penny's previous novel, The Brutal Telling: A...
Published on August 5, 2010 by K. M.

versus
113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Pines revisited
In keeping with my usual personal policy, I will skip a synopsis of this book; I assume readers of this review will have picked that up from the numerous reviews elsewhere. This, then, is just my opinion.

I've been a big fan of Louise Penny since her first book, Still Life, which I adored. I've read every installment in the series and enjoyed all of them with...
Published on October 23, 2010 by Karen Ornelas


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151 of 158 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I need help. I don't know.", August 5, 2010
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These were the four sentences Chief Inspector Armand Gamache had learned from his own Chief, Emile Comeau, when he was a green agent and which he passed on to each agent under his command in the Sūreté du Québec. They are sentences Gamache has found more need of than ever in the months since the events in Louise Penny's previous novel, The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel.

Not only does he have continued second thoughts about arresting and helping convict one his Three Pines friends of killing a man, but he is haunted by a recent operation that led to the violent deaths of a number of officers serving under him. One of the deaths weighs particularly heavily on his mind, as he plays back seemingly endless bits of conversation between himself and the doomed officer. Gamache is a man of extraordinary sensitivity and feeling in a job that sometimes can require nearly superhuman choices with no good endings. He knows that it takes time to heal (or at least cover over the wound), but he also knows he will always carry with him the mistakes and misjudgments he thinks led to terrible and final consequences for others and to his own sorrow of soul. No matter whether he says, "I'm sorry. I was wrong," or not, he cannot bring back the lives lost. But perhaps he, with the help of someone else in the Sūreté, can take another look at the Three Pines case...

Penny has done something I'd been hoping she would: she has written a book focused more on the police we've come to know in this series than on the villagers in Three Pines. Since I sometimes find the greed, selfishness, anger, and what-have-you of the Three Pines residents to be a little more than I'd like to stomach, I'm also pleased that Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel spends a lot of time in the old city of Québec as Gamache and his faithful dog, Henri, stay with his old boss, Emile, for a while. There, he reluctantly agrees to help the local constabulary investigate a murder at the Literary and Historical Society where he's been going to research some history.

BURY YOUR DEAD is a fabulous novel. It effortlessly intertwines three plots: the two geographically separated murder cases going on in real time and, in retrospective, the disastrous Canadian police operation that left dead and near dead in its wake. Gamache's probing in Québec City examines (without being pretentiously didactic) the tensions between the Anglophones and the Francophones, it delves into the Battle of the Plains of Abraham which shaped the destiny of the beautiful old metropolis, and it searches for answers to the mystery of where founding father Champlain might be buried. To say too much about the plot dims the satisfaction of reading this splendid work, so I'll say no more, except to note that toward the end a careful reader can savor the emotion, the psychological insights, and the often beautiful language but also look beyond them to ask questions about a few apparent plot inconsistencies. But overall, I'd say this is Penny's best book to date, and it doesn't require full knowledge of the previous novels to be accessible.

Penny advises that "BURY YOUR DEAD is not about death, but about life." Absolutely. But it teaches about life through death. Especially poignant and heartbreaking are the unforgettable scenes when Gamache can't forget his brave, slain subordinate and comrade. The last scene leaves an unforgettable certainty about who these two respectively are and were. Don't miss BURY YOUR DEAD. (4.7 stars)
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113 of 119 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Pines revisited, October 23, 2010
In keeping with my usual personal policy, I will skip a synopsis of this book; I assume readers of this review will have picked that up from the numerous reviews elsewhere. This, then, is just my opinion.

I've been a big fan of Louise Penny since her first book, Still Life, which I adored. I've read every installment in the series and enjoyed all of them with a particular fondness for last year's The Brutal Telling.

In this sixth outing starring Surete de Quebec Inspector Armand Gamache the author undertakes something I don't think I've seen done in a mystery novel before: the intertwining of three distinctively different stories. And I'm not sure I really want to see it done again...

Although she did this exceedingly well, I found it somewhat distracting. Interestingly, this is the October choice of my online book group and we don't seem to have focused on the same story line, some of us preferring one over the other and others the third. However, I wouldn't for a minute consider not reading her next book -- I am simply too invested in Gamache and the residents of Three Pines, all of whom have such distinctive personalities, to walk away from them any time soon. Or ever, for that matter.

A word of warning: readers absolutely MUST read The Brutal Telling before reading Bury Your Dead. Although there are enough of the main points given in this book to cover the highlights of the previous installment, you will never get the full import of what the author has done in book six without a fuller understanding of the background.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Read "A Brutal Telling" FIRST! Another Great Read in the Three Pines Series, August 21, 2010
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I have all of Louise Penny's Three Pines mysteries, and also reviewed the penultimate in the series, "The Brutal Telling". With the latest, "Bury Your Dead", I think the series has changed its name to the Armand Gamache or Inspector Gamache series, after the Quebecois Chief Inspector who leads the action. The town of Three Pines appears in "Bury Your Dead", but it is not the center of the action.

At times in this series, Gamache's always-patient, always wise-as-an-owl persona gets just a little annoying (though not enough to keep me from giving the books five stars). I didn't feel this annoyance in "Bury Your Dead". Yes, Gamache still has his head screwed on right and lives and reacts with dignity (though not standing on his dignity). But it wasn't beaten to death in the telling of the tale.

Louise Penny does a masterful, and I mean masterful, job of intertwining three stories. 1) Why was an eccentric killed in the basement of the Literary and Historical Society Building, in the old walled city of Quebec, while Gamache was visiting, no less. 2) Did Gamache (and the prosecutor) make a mistake when they nailed a certain Three Pines resident as the murderer in "The Brutal Telling". 3) How can Gamache heal from the heartbreak and guilt of a kidnapping gone wrong, which happened before "Bury Your Dead" opens (and during the six months since the action of "The Brutal Telling").

Penny writes very intelligent books. You aren't just given a mystery, you are made interested in arcane historical questions that you didn't even know could be important. Gamache's personality is central to the feel and tone. Here's Gamache, displeased with a police officer's crassness in light of the discovered murder: "This officer wasn't his to train in the etiquette of the recently dead, in the respect necessary when in their presence. In the empathy necessary to see the victim as a person, and the muderer as a person. It wasn't with cynicism and sarcasm, with dark humor and crass comments a killer was caught. He was caught by seeing and thinking and feeling. Crude comments didn't make the path clearer or the interpretation of evidence easier. Indeed, they obscured the truth, with fear."

The point being, not to preach, but to show how difficult it is for a police officer, who sees so much of the underbelly and darkness, to keep that respectful human-ness.

Penny's mysteries unfold in a leisurely pace. If you need a thriller mile-a-minute pace, these books will encourage you to slow down and smell the (dead?!) roses.

I thought this was a marvelous book and recommend it highly. But if you can, I recommend that you buy it along with "The Brutal Telling" and read them in order. As the first's murder carries forward into the second, you'll have a much richer experience if you've read them both. In addition, "The Brutal Telling" will be spoiled for you if you read "Bury Your Dead" first!

I am reviewing the Advance Readers' Edition.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Armand Gamache: Antidote to hectic world full of "noise", October 1, 2010
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This review is from: Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Kindle Edition)
Let me put things in my perspective. I am a voracious reader (Ph.D., former college professor, over 600 books on my Kindle) and am impatient with the shallowness of much that I read. However.....

It was with great anticipation, impatience and worry that I waited for my September 28th Kindle "date" with Armand Gamache. I cleared my schedule for the afternoon and evening, brewed tea, and hunkered down. Having been an admirer of Louise Penny from her first Three Pines novels, I "worried" that a 6th one might (as happens in so many continuing series novels) be watered down, show evidence of being hastily written or edited, etc. In fact, the opposite is true. (For Kindle readers: I was also very excited to see that the final "location" for the book was over 8900 - so I knew it was a long book!) Bury Your Dead is a richly detailed, examination of the weight of memories - both personal and national.

Today's world of reality shows, constant advertisement, noise at all levels is creating an audience that is more and more unable to take a breath, immerse itself into literature and let a story unfold in its own time. Is it selfish of me that I don't want those audience members to read and review Bury Your Dead? Ms. Penny's Three Pines world is complex, detailed, and full of real people with real, messy motives and actions.

I won't go over the plot here - too much given away, too easily...I do absolutely recommend reading her books previous to this one so that you feel the kinship with the characters that that experience builds. I do want to mention one REAL problem...about 2/3 through the book I absolutely could NOT any longer take the knot in my stomach from anticipating the details of the police raid whose ramifications begin the book. I went to location 8700 and read the last of the book! Mea culpa....However, it didn't ruin the experience for me as I returned to my original place and with satisfaction completed my evening with Inspector Gamache and his world.

I do NOT want to rush Ms. Penny into another session with Three Pines. I do want her to feel the creative energy and will to continue the series, however, in her own time.

Finally...on a more basic level - one of the joys of the book is her descriptions of the wonderful food served in the bistro at Three Pines and the eateries of Quebec. Would it trivialize the Three Pines oeuvre to provide a separate volume of the places and recipes conjured up by the Three Pines novels????? Please?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, Engrossing, Satisfying Sequel to THE BRUTAL TELLING, September 13, 2010
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In BURY YOUR DEAD, Chief Inspector Gamache assigns one of his team members, Jean Guy Beauvoir, to reopen and reinvestigate the hermit's murder that was solved by Gamache in the previous "Three Pines" mystery. (Readers will want to read The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel first, to be able to fully understand BURY YOUR DEAD.) While Beauvoir pursues inquiries in Three Pines, Gamache is engaged in historical research in Quebec City at the Literary and Historical Society library, an anglophone enclave in the old, walled, portion of Quebec. When a crackpot archeologist--known for constantly digging for the grave of Quebec's founder Samuel de Champlain--is found murdered in a deep sub-basement of the Lit and His, Gamache is drawn, with great reluctance, into the search for yet another killer.

Both Gamache and Beauvoir are recovering from grievous mental and physical injuries suffered in an operation that began as a kidnapping investigation and ultimately thwarted an astonishingly ambitious terrorist attack on a huge portion of Canada and the Northeastern United States. In the investigation, Gamache lost four people because of his mistakes, and he is particularly haunted by remembered conversations with his young agent Paul Morin. To help Gamache heal, wife Reine-Marie has left Gamache in Quebec City with his old chief and mentor, Emile Comeau, as Comeau's houseguest.

Author Louise Penny juggles the three plots--thwarted terrorist attack, reopened Three Pines case, and Quebec City murder investigation--with extraordinary skill. She advances all three plots effortlessly, without ever confusing the reader, and weaves the disparate plots together into an engrossing story. She incorporates her historical research into Samuel de Champlain (which is necessary to the story's background), without ever seeming to lecture to the reader. She also uses her enviable descriptive abilities to effectively bring the Quebec City locale to life. Dog lovers will especially enjoy the descriptions of Gamache's interaction with his ever-enthusiastic young shepherd, Henri. All Gamache fans will be fascinated by the new insights afforded into the Chief Inspector's already complex character.

As much as I enjoyed reading THE BRUTAL TELLING, I enjoyed BURY YOUR DEAD even more. The earlier book seemed a bit unfinished and unsatisfying, and now we know why. BURY YOUR DEAD completes the earlier story, and presents a highly entertaining new story of its own.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Penny is one of the best authors of today, August 7, 2010
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First Sentence: Up the stairs they raced, taking them two at a time, trying to be as quiet as possible.

Inspector Armand Gramache's last investigation ended very badly for himself and members of his team, including Jean Guy Beauvoir. Each day Armand receives a letter from Three Pines asking why Olivier would have moved the body of the man he has been convicted of killing. He asks Jean Guy to unofficially return to Three Pines and reinvestigate the case from the assumption of Olivier's innocence. Armand is finding solace in the library of the Literary and Historical Society in Old Québec City until murder intervenes. Augustin Renaud, dedicated to finding the lost remains of Samuel de Champlain, founder of Québec, has been dead in the library's basement.

As with all of her books, Penny makes me think, view things in a new and different way, and learn about things I had not known. All of this is very good.

I love her vivid descriptions and wry humor. She conveys both the beauty and frigid cold of Quebec City in winter, and her descriptions of food are mouth-watering. She captures how in cities with such long histories, such as Quebec, one is able to sense and envision the past along with the present. She provides an illuminating look at Quebec where the English are the minority. It's a city I've loved visiting but never thought about the impact of its history and politics on those who live there.

Penny's characters are so fully realized and human. She has that rare ability which allows the reader to sense the character's emotions, without it being maudlin or overly sentimental. In previous books, I did not fully understand the scope and importance of Gamache's position, but it is made clear here. Through scenes of the events of the disastrous case, you feel the weight of his responsibility and his pain. Jean Guy having to employ Gamache's style of investigative techniques gives him a new understanding of his boss. I appreciate how she introduces us to new characters yet reacquaints us with our favorite characters from the previous books as well.

Each thread of the triple-threaded plot is gripping and stands on its own yet, as with real life, they work well together and provide us greater insight to the characters. I did have an issue with the logic behind one of the plot threads, and a stepping-away from the impact of another, but I am willing to almost forgive those against the strengths of the rest of the book. She does leave a fourth, smaller thread dangling for another book, but it's not the cliff-hanger ending several authors are now employing which I find cheap and unnecessary from a good author. Thank you, Ms. Penny, for not doing that yet always leave us wanting the next book--now.

While her books are, at their core, mysteries, and very good ones, there are layers beyond that and a wisdom brought forth through her characters that I admire. Gamache's code for the four sentences which lead to wisdom: "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I need help. I don't know." are worth embracing. Penny is one of the best authors of today and one I recommend to anyone without hesitation.

BURY YOUR DEAD (Pol. Proc-Insp. Armand Gamache-Canada-Cont) - VG+
Penny, Louise - 6th in series
Minotaur Books, ©2010, ARE - HC ISBN: 9780312377045
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Louise Penny's Masterpiece, October 1, 2010
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Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries have dominated the traditional mystery awards this decade. But, none have been as magnificent, as haunting, as this sixth book in the series, Bury Your Dead. In some ways, it's a quiet, introspective story, but that makes it all the more powerful. I can't use enough superlatives to describe a story that brilliantly intertwines two murder investigations, a police case that went tragically wrong, and the history of Québec.

It might be Carnival time in Québec City, by Armand Gamache is not there for the entertainment, but to find a quiet place for contemplation, and recovery from an investigation that ended in tragedy. His time is spent with his retired mentor, walking the streets with his dog, Henri, and researching in the quiet Literary and Historical Society. Few people venture into the library at this last bastion of Anglo Québec, but Gamache appreciates the opportunity to delve into the past, and the history of a battle that changed the complexion of the province. And, he appreciated the quiet atmosphere until an historian is found dead in the basement of the building. For the members of the Lit and His, the death couldn't have stirred up more attention. Augustin Renaul had been obsessed about one thing - searching for the missing body of Samuel de Champlain, the founder and father of Québec. Now, his murder in the basement would only stir up publicity and resentment.

But, why would Renaud have been digging for Champlain's remains there, anyways? Asked to work unofficially on the case, Gamache is intrigued with the great man's history, and his missing body. The opportunity to investigate here allows him time to recover emotionally from a case that haunts him, as he replays the past over and over in his head. At the same time, he has started to doubt his findings in another case, one related to Three Pines, when he arrested a man for murder. Since he doesn't have time to look into that, he asks Jean Guy Beauvoir to work on the supposition that the man in prison might be innocent, and visit Three Pines. Once again, readers are allowed into the small world where Gamache found a second home, and comfort, while Beauvoir only feels uncomfortable returning there.

Over and over, I've used the word tragedy when referring to this story. Bury Your Dead is about people who are unable to bury the past. That inability to let go haunts so many of the characters, including Armand Gamache, a man who can't forgive himself, and shoulders the responsibility for death. And, that inability to let go causes otherwise sane people to kill, and an entire province to share an obsession with their past.

Although that theme dominates the story, winter, and the weather, are crucial elements as well. In Three Pines, the residents fantasize over tropical vacations. It might have something to do with their setting, boarding on the forest. "And, when the winter sun set on a Québec forest, monsters crawled out of the shadows. Not the B-grade movie monsters, not zombies or mummies or space aliens. But older, subtler wraiths. Invisible creatures that rode in on plunging temperatures. Death by freezing, death by exposure, death by gong even a foot off the path, and getting lost. Death, ancient and patient, waited in Québec forests for the sun to set."

In some ways, Bury Your Dead reminds me of Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, the classic story of a recuperating detective investigating one of history's great mysteries. Penny has given Armand Gamache a contemporary case, but he's just as fascinated by the mystery of Champlain's whereabouts. And, he needs to take his mind off of his own story.

But, Louise Penny has given us her own masterpiece. The Brutal Telling led up to this book, but it could only begin the powerful story told in Bury Your Dead.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much, December 27, 2010
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First of all, I have thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series before this one.
I encourage readers to go back and begin with previous books. Urgently, if you are considering this book, you must read The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel first or this book will not make a lot of sense and it will ruin enjoying BRUTAL TELLING at all.

In this book, Penny strayed too far from her core characters and tried to do too much and tell too many stories. They were weaved well, but I found it disconcerting. One sentence might be about one of the three story lines and the next would be about another. I enjoyed the insight into the history of the French and English people in Quebec, but it went into too much detail and dragged on, detracting from the core characters. Penny revisited a storyline from the previous book, perhaps wanting to resurrect a character??

I wanted to know what happened to the people in the village and what had happened to Gamache so I endured the historical storyline. There was simply too much back and forth and jumping around and flashbacks and dragging out of details for my taste. I hope this isn't a trend. I started to skip pages just to get to the dénouement. Finally, it (they?) was there, but it was not satisfactory and still not clear EXACTLY what happened, other than an expendable character was eliminated.

There are many places to go from here and Penny is a gifted writer with a great imagination for plot. I feel she tried to do too much, but most people here liked it. I will give her one more try. I have read and enjoyed all of her books and love the Three Pines residents. Readers expect a lot of their favorite authors, but no one can nail it every time. Penny comes pretty close, but this one was a slight miss.

I think it might make a great movie. Put this and BRUTAL TELLING together. Might be very thrilling and easier to digest on screen.

Penny's book are best read in order to understand some of the psychological development of core characters. If you just pop in and meet them, you don't understand and enjoy as much as if you get to know them over the course of the books.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Procedural, September 29, 2010
By 
Every once in a while a book comes along that keeps you reading into the wee hours of the morning. This is such a book. You'll find yourself reading faster than you've ever read before and all the while you're telling yourself to slow down so you can prolong the pleasure.

"Bury Your Dead" is Louise Penny's sixth mystery featuring Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Surete du Quebec.

Penny has crafted a beautifully written mystery with characters so skillfully drawn they come alive for the reader. When this book ends, you'll want to read more about the characters because they feel like friends.

The city of Quebec is as much a character in Penny's hands as Gamache and the others who populate the pages of this book. Penny beautifully describes the city so well that you can almost believe that you, too, know the city as well as Gamache as he walks the cobblestoned streets. As the author describes the effects of winter on the city, you may find yourself drawing covers over you to quell the cold even as the the temperatures rise to the 90s outside.

Louise Penny has written a multi-layered mystery with three story lines. She deftly intertwines each plot line. She is skilled at building and maintaining the tension in each story. The book opens with Gamache having gone to Quebec to visit with his mentor after being wounded in an attempted terrorist attack on the La Grand dam. He is drawn into an investigation of the murder of an amateur archaeologist who is on a quest to find the burial place of Samuel de Champlain. While Gamache tries to recover his equilibrium, he sends his assistant back to the small town of Three Pines to reopen a case that Gamache solved and saw the murderer convicted. The author follows each of these plot lines with such skill and so seamlessly that the reader barely notices the switch.

The ending is satisfying and the loose ends of each plot line are niftily tied up without being contrived or rushed.

It has been many years since I laughed out loud when reading a mystery. Penny had me guffawing when a seventy-something dignified English woman tries to speak French and ends up speaking gibberish

Do not start reading this book if you have to work the next day. This is a book that we long for, but only comes along once in a great while - you know, the one you can't wait to get back to, the one you'd miss your best friend's wedding for, the one that you forget to eat while you're reading it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise...where to plant vines." Frank Lloyd Wright, December 23, 2010
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is recovering from injuries from a prior case. The specifics are not known as the story begins. He's currently spending time in Quebec City, where he's doing research at one of his favorite spots, the Literary and Historical Society.

As he walks his dog and approaches the society on a frigid morning, he finds police investigating the murder of Augustin Renaud. We later learn that Renaud has for years, spent most of his time looking for the burial spot of Quebec's founder, Champlain.

Gamache is asked to help in the investigation and prevent possible tensions from arising between the English and French speaking communities.

At the same time, he's getting messages from the community of Three Pines, where he helped prove that his friend, Oliver, was guilty of murder. Oliver's partner doesn't believe that Oliver is guilty and Gamache sends Jean-Guy Beauvoir to reconstruct the murder investigation and see what he finds.

As the story continues, Gamache has flashbacks to his case that went wrong. One of his men, and friends, Agent Paul Morin, was abducted and there were questions about who abducted him and whyat were there intentions. This portion of the novel is sometimes confusing because there is no deliniation between the other parts of the story and if the reader isn't careful, they can miss that Gamache is now thinking about past events.

Louise Penny is a mulitple award winning author and has great talent. In this work she has written a literary novel with a unique plot. Her characters stand out in their actions, their thoughts and beliefs. Gamache is the modern Hercule Poirot, he's brave, wise, methodical, an excellent interrigator and a born leader.

Readers will again enjoy the author's story and the history of Quebec that is intermingled within the novel's action.

Other than my confusion when the author used flashbacks to re-live the action in the prior case, this would be a five star review.
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