The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny is the fifth book in her Armand Gamache/Three Pines series, and I think that this one is the best yet. I thought it was a cracker, I don’t know if that is because I had lots of time for reading so I was able to read it in about three sittings, despite the fact that I’m really not a fast reader as I don’t skim read. Or maybe this really is the best so far.

I was just beginning to think that Three Pines is the Quebec equivalent of Midsomer Murders when one of the characters – Clara says: Every Quebec village has a vocation. Some make cheese, some wine, some pots. We produce bodies.

So, Three Pines is beginning to feel like a home from home for Chief Inspector Gamache. It should be a nightmare of a place to live in but the community is so close and the inhabitants so quirky and flawed that it feels like real life, after all, nobody is perfect.

I can’t say too much about the story because I don’t want to spoil it for any possible readers. Suffice to say that the body of a tramp is found in the bistro, he’s a complete stranger to everyone and Gamache has the job of finding out who he is and why he has been murdered and put into the bistro overnight. The lives of all the locals are turned upside down as the police search everywhere for clues. The loyalties of the locals are pushed to the edge.

Ruth Zardo, the elderly poet who is rude and foul-mouthed to everyone, and who is accompanied everywhere by Rosa her pet duck, proves herself to be the opposite of the personality which she works so hard to project.

I’m so glad that I took the time to request these books in order from the library as the lives of the characters unfold bit by bit and there’s always something new to find out about them.

2 thoughts on “The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

  1. I think you’re doing the right thing by reading these books in order. Sometimes it doesn’t matter much if you don’t, but these books are so nuanced that I think it’s easy to get lost or confused if you miss the progression of the stories carried through the series and the development of the characters. I think this is one of the best series around. I’ve read them all but plan to start at the beginning and read them in order, too. If only I could find a map to get to Three Pines!

    • Joan,
      I agree. In each book you find out a bit more about the main characters’ backgrounds. The layers all add up and I like the way that the villagers are surprised by people that they think they know well. It’s just like real life. If you find that map, let me know!

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