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 legendary Maigret.
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