“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.”
Library Journal (starred review)
A Selection of Barnes & Noble Recommends
The village in Quebec where Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector
Gamache novels are set is home to a bistro, a bookstore, a bed-and-
breakfast, and a boulangerie. Tantalizing aromas seem to
waft from every room, and friendship warms the homes of the
eccentric collection of people that populates the town, a potpourri
of escaping urbanites, artists, carpenters, and an
outlandish poet with a pet duck.
And yet, as Penny’s fifth novel unfolds, it isn’t
long before murder disturbs the tranquility of the
community watched over by the graceful trees that
give Three Pines its name. One Sunday morning,
the body of a stranger is discovered on the floor
of the town’s commercial and spiritual center:
the bistro run by Olivier Brulé and his partner,
Gabri. The victim appears to be a stranger -- but is
he? The answer to that question, and to the more
pressing mystery of his killer’s identity, soon
rests in the hands of Armand Gamache of the
Sûreté du Québec.
Arriving in Three Pines, a town of old friends and, sadly, new
suspects, the commanding yet kind Gamache deploys his crew
of detectives to gather evidence in the apparently clueless case.
Each discovery -- a corpse that won’t stay still, a house whose
restoration can’t erase the aura of its haunted past, a log cabin
located deep in the woods that holds an astonishing collection of
priceless artifacts -- ties another enigmatic knot in the intricate
web of secrets and deceptions Gamache must unravel.
Tellingly blending the social pleasures of a cozy with the
escalating terror of a psychological thriller, Penny traces
Gamache’s investigation as it expands to encompass cultural
treasures that range from pieces of the fabled Amber Room
to the china of Catherine the Great, from a first edition of Jane
Eyre to the violin of the great Czech composer Bohuslav Martinù,
from the modern art of the museums of Montreal to Haida totem
poles on the mist-enshrouded Queen Charlotte Islands of British
Columbia. With breathless anticipation, the reader follows
Gamache as he pursues the shocking and brutal truth hidden in
the heart of a seemingly loving community.
About the Author
The Brutal Telling is Louise Penny’s fifth Chief Inspector
Armand Gamache novel. The series’ debut, Still Life, which
introduced readers to the quaint village of Three Pines and
the distinguished sleuth who solves its mysteries, announced
the arrival of a major talent, winning the New Blood Dagger,
Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys Awards. Penny’s
second and third novels, A Fatal Grace and The Cruelest Month, each won Agatha Awards for Best Novel in
the tradition of Agatha Christie. Her fourth
Gamache novel, A Rule Against Murder, has
been named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Crime
Novels for 2009.
Penny’s bestselling mysteries skillfully savor
the details of daily life in a small community
inhabited by an attractive and unpredictable
cast of idiosyncratic souls, while the character
of the captivating and magnanimous Gamache
prompted fellow crime novelist Reginald Hill
to draw a comparison with Georges Simenon’s
Born in Toronto in 1958, Penny began her career as a journalist
and radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
She believes that her years as a reporter, which took her across
Canada from Thunder Bay to Quebec City and finally to Montreal,
provided solid training for her work as a novelist. "A good
interviewer rarely speaks, she listens. Closely and carefully. I
think the same is true of writers." As his fans have learned, the
same is true as well of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.
Louise Penny currently lives outside a small village south of
Montreal, close to the American border, with her husband,
Michael, and their two golden retrievers.
From Our Booksellers
Thank you for introducing me to a terrific new mystery writer. Why hadn’t I discovered this series before? Inspector Gamache is magnifique! I can’t wait to read the first four books. This is the perfect autumn curl-up-on-yourcouch-with-a-café-au-lait read.
--Margie Turkett, Annapolis, MD
A riveting story that unfolds like a chain of paper dolls, until it reaches its startling conclusion.
--Kelly Yauk, East Lansing, MI
A perfect 10!
--Donald Kendall, Troy, MI
So much more than a simple whodunit, The Brutal Telling is a multi-layered, intriguing story with lots of suspects and possible motives. I came to love the characters in the charming Canadian village of Three Pines, and didn’t want to believe that one of them was a murderer. The author does a superb job of revealing just a little at a time -- until the guilty party becomes unglued and the
truth comes to the surface.
--Jill Borage, St. Louis, MO
There's always a log fire burning and it's always story time in the charming mysteries Louise Penny sets in sleepy Three Pines…While constant readers may think they know all there is to know about its eccentric villagers, Penny is a great one for springing surprises.
The New York Times
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.)
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. VERDICT This superb novel will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated literary mysteries in the tradition of Donna Leon. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 6/1/09; 100,000-copy first printing; library marketing campaign.]—Lynne F. Maxwell, Villanova Univ. Sch. of Law, PA
Chief Inspector Gamache of the Canadian Surete is again called to restore order to the tiny Quebecois hamlet of Three Pines. Olivier and Gabri, gay owners of the Bistro and B&B, insist they that they don't know the dead man and can't imagine how he came to be lying on their floor. That's not quite the truth, but it's merely the setup for the first of many surprises. The real story will unravel for Gamache and his subordinates Beauvoir and Lacoste in startling ways. These include the discovery that the corpse has been moved three times by two different people; the return of a father declared dead over 20 years ago; a word woven into a spider's web; and the disclosure of several wood carvings emanating evil that require Gamache to fly to British Columbia and inspect totem poles. Priceless antiques sequestered in a hermit's cabin and sorrowful tales of Czech citizens cheated of their belongings will come to light before Gamache, to his considerable distress, will have to arrest a friend. Penny (A Rule Against Murder, 2009, etc.) is a world-class storyteller. If you don't want to move to Montreal with Gamache as your neighbor-or better yet, relocate to Three Pines and be welcomed into its community of eccentrics-you have sawdust in your veins, which must be very uncomfortable. First printing of 100,000