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The Brutal Telling [Audio Cassette]

Louise Penny , Adam Sims
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Large Print CDN $35.92  
Paperback CDN $11.54  
MP3 CD CDN $33.83  
Audio, Cassette, Dec 1 2009 --  
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Book Description

Dec 1 2009

Chaos is coming, old son. 

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. Everybody goes to Olivier’s Bistro—including a stranger whose murdered body is found on the floor. When Chief Inspector Gamache is called to investigate, he is dismayed to discover that Olivier’s story is full of holes. Why are his fingerprints all over the cabin that’s uncovered deep in the wilderness, with priceless antiques and the dead man’s blood? And what other secrets and layers of lies are buried in the seemingly idyllic village?

Gamache follows a trail of clues and treasures—from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spiderweb with a word mysteriously woven in it—into the woods and across the continent, before returning to Three Pines to confront the truth and the final, brutal telling.

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Quill & Quire

“In the end the answer to a murder investigation was always devastatingly simple. It was always right there, obvious. Hiding in facts and evidence and likes, and the misperceptions of the investigators.” These sentences, from The Brutal Telling, more or less sum up the appeal of Louise Penny’s crime novels, set in the fictional Quebec village of Three Pines, a normally sleepy place that wakes up to homicide on an annual basis. This time around, Penny’s endearing police detective, Armand Gamache, and his investigative team from the Sûreté du Québec are summoned to find out why an elderly gentleman’s body lies inside the popular (and only) café in town, and why the café’s owner, Olivier Brule, seems to know more than he’s letting on about the nameless drifter. 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. She illuminates how Gamache and his fellow investigators will find the culprit: “Not by DNA tests and petri dishes, ultra-violet scans or anything else a lab could produce,” but by old-fashioned legwork and teamwork. Penny also explores why the allure of being a resident of Three Pines tantalizes city dwellers seeking refuge in a tiny rural community: “The reason ‘belonging’ was so potent, so attractive, so much a part of the human yearning, was that it also meant safety, and loyalty. If you were ‘one of us’ you were protected.”  The flip side, as Penny has proven many times over, is that those who belong may also seek to protect unsavoury sorts who have long been part of the community fabric. This notion has paid off in previous books, and does likewise here. But one wonders how much longer Penny can spin stories of murder in Three Pines – how many more killers can be protected and then unmasked – before Cabot Cove syndrome sets in. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


“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.” --People

“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.” --Richmond Times-Dispatch

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! April 25 2013
By Pat the cat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is the 2nd book that I read from Louise Penny. The beginning is slow but, thankfully, the tempo quickly picks up (hence, hang in there, it's worth it). I found it to be a very well done murder mystery -- note the nuance: it's not a fast pace thriller but rather a smouldering mystery. There is very good character development and a good continuity with the first instalment (Still Life, same group of inspectors and village). The story is told through the contribution of multiple narrators -- it makes it very vivid. The author kept surprising me with unexpected twists and parallel subplots that eventually feed back into the story -- it's very well done. I liked how the author threaded in humour through the thoughts of the various characters and the scenes involving the old cranky poet Ruth and her duck. I was relieved to see that the author didn't quote poems all the time like she did in Still LIfe. She still weaves it in but it's not annoying like it was in her first book. Actually, her use of a poem at the end of the book is well thought out and very touching. The author manages to make the life in small, rural villages quite alluring!!! All in all, I really like this book and give it top marks. However, I would recommend that you read Still Life first because it introduces the casts. I give it 5 stars (excellent!).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read Dec 31 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Have read all her books this was the last one . Waiting for the new release coming in July 2013.
Would have been better if some of the older book titles did not change could have avoided buying duplicates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A painful situation. May 31 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have read all of the Inspector Gamache novels in order you will appreciate the growth that has taken place in all the characters. We are given glimpses of their inner thoughts, struggles and triumphs. In this telling the emotions run high as it is hard to believe that any of the characters we have come to love could be so dark. It is a brutal awakening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, as usual May 17 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Things are not what they seem, and under the silence, there are messages. A very good book for those of have followed Chief Inspector Gamache's investigations.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying mystery Aug. 12 2010
For those who love murder mysteries, the combination of the familiar and the unexpected is important to get right. There are certain conventions that can be observed, but too conventional means too predictable and not following enough conventions leaves a reader lost and bewildered. Ultimately though, the only rule is, whatever you do has to keep readers engaged until the end. Penny meets that standard without any trouble.

This is the first I've read of Penny, but apparently its not her first novel in the small Quebec backwoods village of Three Pines, nor is it the first adventure with Inspector Gamache. Gamache is a unique detective in the genre, and I think most readers will appreciate how he is fleshed out. Unfortunately, too many of the other characters are not really fleshed out convincingly. The main way we learn about the characteristics of others is through comments from other characters; when we're with the characters in the flesh, so to speak, we typically don't see evidence of "kindness", "greed" or any other attributes they allegedly possess. The puzzle is the focus here, and the characters main purpose is to arrange themselves in position around that puzzle. This is not to say that Penny is a poor writer; far from it. Readers who appreciate a little literary taste with their mystery will get along fine here, I think. Penny enjoys poetry and incorporates it into her novel as the story unwinds.

Unwinding is the right word, too . . . lies are slowly peeled away until ultimately the brutal truth is exposed. Incidentally, the inside cover blurb is misleading in that it makes the novel sound like a horror novel - it is nothing of the sort. This is classic detective fiction with a unique spin, but not so that you can't recognize it.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love the way all her books finally led up to this conclusion. The ins and outs of all their problems and final solutions. I enjoyed that the wedding days of Gamache's daughter ended the book. I love happy endings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Many layered story July 1 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Place and history as well as artists from real life were woven into the narrative so that one experienced the richness of a real world.Secrets and old wounds were also revealed. Hard to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Louise Penny's Best Book Yet! June 17 2013
By Karen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was amazing in its depth and character development and the many deep philosophical life lessons. Not to mention, it was a great murder mystery.
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