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The Brutal Telling: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Paperback – August 31, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. When the body of an unknown old man turns up in a bistro in Agatha-winner Penny's excellent fifth mystery set in the Quebec village of Three Pines (after Jan. 2009's A Rule Against Murder), Chief Insp. Armand Gamache investigates. At a cabin in the woods apparently belonging to the dead man, Gamache and his team are shocked to discover the remote building is full of priceless antiquities, from first edition books to European treasures thought to have disappeared during WWII. When suspicion falls on one of Three Pines' most prominent citizens, it's up to Gamache to sift through the lies and uncover the truth. Though Gamache is undeniably the focus, Penny continues to develop her growing cast of supporting characters, including newcomers Marc and Dominique Gilbert, who are converting an old house—the site of two murders—into a spa. Readers keen for another glimpse into the life of Three Pines will be well rewarded. 100,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie, [but] it sells her short.”
―Booklist (starred review)
“An intricate, almost mythic plot, superb characters, and rich, dark humor.”
“Magic . . . [with] an elegance and depth not often seen.”
―The New York Times Book Review
“If you don't give your heart to Gamache, you may have no heart to give.”
―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A treat for the mind and a lesson for the soul, this is a novel full of surprises.”
“It's Penny's most ambitious novel to date, adding much to our knowledge of the continuing characters and creating a framework of myth that lends structure to the tale…
eloquent prose and amazingly complex characters.”
“In this fifth installment of Louise Penny's wonderful series, she keeps things fresh by making a beloved member of her core cast, Olivier Brule, a suspect in the death of a recluse found dead on the floor of Olivier's own bistro… Penny blends poetry, ciphers and history in all its ‘brutal telling’ with the usual mouthwatering bistro meals and the quirky villagers to continue one of the best series out there today.”
“If you've yet to meet the fascinating Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, who has starred in four previous novels, this book is a good place to start. The plot, like the man, is intelligent and never boring. Penny has crafted another complex mystery with twists at every turn of the page.”
―RT Book Magazine
“As in her previous four Inspector Gamache mysteries, Penny grafts a suspenseful whodunit onto her sketch of the whims and mores of Three Pines’ small population.”
―Quill and Quire
“…little treasures are scattered throughout THE BRUTAL TELLING and all the other books as well. I dare anyone to say that this isn’t literary fiction.
But even more, this is poetry.”
“Though Gamache is undeniably the focus, Penny continues to develop her growing cast of supporting characters, including newcomers Marc and Dominique Gilbert, who are converting an old house-the site of two murders-into a spa. Readers keen for another glimpse into the life of Three Pines will be well rewarded.”
―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Having won numerous mystery prizes, including the prestigious Arthur Ellis and Anthony awards for her debut, Still Life, Canadian author Penny has only gotten better with each succeeding novel. Her fifth in the series is the finest of all. Featuring series protagonist Chief Inspector Gamache, this literary mystery explores the ways in which sins of the past have a way of resurrecting themselves, wreaking havoc upon their perpetrators, and, unfortunately, the innocent. Thus, when a hermit is slain in the woods near an isolated village in rural Quebec, secrets surface, unmasking characters who have adopted benign personae to conceal their questionable past deeds. Fortunately, sagacious Gamache possesses the acumen to peel away the layers of deceit and to expose the truth. This superb novel will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated literary mysteries in the tradition of Donna Leon.”
―Library Journal (starred review)
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Top customer reviews
In this fifth book of the author's captivating series, we see facades fall away as she peels back outside wraps to inner fears and desires.
It is an uncomfortable reminder of human frailty that Louise Penny brings to us. She knows her characters well, but she knows us better.
We are not only looking in on Three Pines and its warts along with its beauty:
We, too, are exposed, reminded of our flaws. We had thought we were escaping the world to a charmed village and having cafe au lait and croissants with quaint characters in an idyllic setting. We were only dancing with an imaginary friend. In a "Brutal Telling" we are grownups. But we persevere. Friendship runs deep.
I was a bit unsatisfied by this particular story because it seemed that pieces were missing, especially at the end. I now realize that some things left unfinished or unexplained were subsequently wrapped up in the next novel, but someone reading this as a stand-alone mystery story might never know that.
I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, but I do think it's more enjoyable to read them all from the beginning. The character development in each book really adds up to a greater sense of who these people are & what motivates them. All very well plotted, by the way, and the settings are described marvelously--you are totally transported to Canada, whether it be the small town or the city, in glorious springtime or bone-chilling winter.