The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #5)

The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #5)

by Louise Penny

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Overview

The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #5) by Louise Penny

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312661687
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 08/31/2010
Series: Chief Inspector Gamache Series , #5
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 16,596
Product dimensions: 8.52(w) x 11.06(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

LOUISE PENNY is The New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of seven novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Her debut, Still Life, won the John Creasey Dagger and the Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys Awards, and was named one of the five Mystery/Crime Novels of the Decade by Deadly Pleasures magazine. Penny was the first author ever to win the Agatha Award for Best Novel four times--for A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, The Brutal Telling (which also received the Anthony Award for Best Novel), and Bury Your Dead (which also won the Dilys, Arthur Ellis, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero Awards). She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

Read an Excerpt

People lied all the time in murder investigations. If the first victim of war was the truth, some of the first victims of a murder investigation were people’s lies. The lies they told themselves, the lies they told each other....

Gabri approached carrying a tray with four steaming plates. Within minutes they were sitting around the fireplace eating fettuccini with shrimp and scallops sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Fresh bread was produced and glasses of dry white wine poured.

As they ate, they talked about the Labor Day long weekend, about the chestnut trees and conkers. About kids returning to school and the nights drawing in.

The bistro was empty, except for them. But it seemed crowded to the Chief Inspector. With the lies they’d been told, and the lies being manufactured and waiting.

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Questions for THE BRUTAL TELLING, by Louise Penny

1. A theme in this book, and many of Louise's books, is the difference between "truth" and "opinion." Is it always important to tell the truth, no matter how brutal it may be?

2. Was Olivier really wrong to give Madame Poirier less money for her furniture than he knew it was worth? Isn't that what we all hope we'll find at antique shops or flea markets? A treasure? Would you do differently?

3. When Superintendent Thérèse Brunel asks Clara what she fears, she says, "I'm afraid of not recognizing Paradise." Thérèse responds, "So am I." Why do you think they are both worrying about this, and can you connect such concerns to your own life?

4. How do you view the various assertions that Vincent Gilbert is a saint, especially when Gamache points out that "most saints were martyrs, and they took a lot of people down with them"? How would you feel about living with a saint?

5. For a moment Gamache himself feels the tug of greed and would love to slip one of the first editions into his pocket. What do you think of Gamache at that moment? Does it remind you of any temptations you yourself have faced?"

6. In the book Brunel and Gamache discuss where the finest example of a Haida totem pole is standing. Where is that, and what is the irony?

7. What was the final monster? The thing even the Mountain ran from, and that kept the Hermit hiding in his cabin? How do you think this applies to the various characters in the book?

8. Ruth puts Rosa into clothing. Why?

9. Was the Hermit happy, finally? Had he found peace? Could you live in the Hermit's cabin?

10. In the book Gamache quotes Thoreau's Walden: "I had three chairs in my house. One for solitude, two for friendship, three for society." How many chairs would you have in your house?

11. What is the role of storytelling throughout the novel? What about poetry and other forms of art, from painting to sculpture and totem poles?

12. If Three Pines existed, would you move there? How do you think the community will weather the events of this story?

Customer Reviews

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The Brutal Telling (Armand Gamache Series #5) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 193 reviews.
cvjacobs More than 1 year ago
Louise Penny's The Brutal Telling is a village mystery, but that's a little like saying the sky is blue. In the opening scene, a hermit tells Olivier Brulé that "Chaos is coming," but it isn't until the final scene that the author lets us know what the hermit meant. The setting of the mystery is Three Pines, a lovely village about an hour from Montreal that earns its name from three pine trees near the center of town. Everyone knows everyone else in this little town, but that knowledge is challenged when the hermit turns up dead on the floor of Olivier Brulé's bistro. No one will admit that they knew the dead man, at least at first. No one can understand why the body ended up in the bistro. The story includes a diverse group of people, besides a few French and English Canadians, Czech immigrants, Canadian Indians, artists, and many more. The characters come alive through the pages. The not-so-idiotic village idiot with her pet duck, Rosa, papers the investigators with poems. The quiet, but furious struggle between the young couple refurbishing the local mansion and Olivier Brulé and his partner, Gabriel, with their bed and breakfast and pub rumbles in the background. Was the hermit a Czech national? The Czech couple who settled in the village deny any knowledge of him. When you finally close the book, you realize how deeply connected you are to the characters. It is difficult to let them go. Although unobtrusive, the description of the settings resonate long after you turn the last page. When you finally understand the solution to the complex puzzle, you will feel as though you have lived it along with Chief Inspector Gamache. A truly haunting novel. A great read!
poosie More than 1 year ago
The Brutal Telling is a complex tale of treasures and greed. It all takes place in a charming little village populated by unusual characters you will grow to appreciate and love. I love Penny's intricate weaving of history and storyline. At the end of this mesmerizing book, the village of Three Pines will never be the same, but there is hope. The main characters were fascinating, the setting was unusual and intriguing, and there were mysteries galore to hold your interest. The first scene is one of the best hooks I've read in a while! I highly recommend!
SllvnKathleen More than 1 year ago
I have gobbled up all five of Louise Penny's tales of murder in the last month. I enjoy the ambiance of her quiet Quebec village and the familiar presence of the village people. I love the easy back and forth between the English and French languages and the background of the historical struggle between the two cultures. I find the folks very multi-faceted and human. I love to see how the people of all proclivities, talents, and flaws interact and behave among each other. Louise Penny truly knows the feelings and behaviors of real people in the real world and manages very easily to translate those articulately into her created universe.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
Bon Dieu! How is it that I have not found this author before? "The Brutal Telling", by Louise Penny, is more than just a detective story. It is a literary novel. This work blends the lives of the characters and the reader by speaking to the souls of both. As in all great literature, the characters come to life through the words of the author, quickly becoming more than just the written word. The characters, such as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, are completely developed people, full of life. Each acting and reacting to the other characters in the novel. Have no doubt, this mystery novel leads us through a perplexing mystery surrounding the violent death of stranger in the small Canadian town of Three Pines. This is not the first time the Inspector and his team of Seretes investigators have been called to this out of the way place. Emotions run high as both long time friends and newcomers are brought under suspicion. If the earlier novels of this series are anything like this, I'll be hot on their trail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters are like meeting with old friends. The conversation is real and what is left unsaid is understood. Whether the characters are good or bad you can understand their thought processes.
Noticer More than 1 year ago
Most enjoyable and keeps you thinking to solve the problem. Moves along smoothly and presents material which develops knowledge about areas few know. Would recommend to those who want to learn as well as have enjoyment.
Justsooze More than 1 year ago
Louise Penny is my new favorite mystery author. I eagerly awaited "The Brutal Telling", #5 in her Inspector Gamache series and her first hardcover release and I was not disappointed. Ms. Penny is a storyteller extraodinaire. The characters are well drawn, complex and interesting - not only Inspector Armand Gamache, but his team and the villagers of Three Pines, Quebec, that we have come to know in the previous books. She is faultless in her plotting and characterization...but ultimately it is the way she tells her story and the cleverness of the story itself that draws the reader in...and doesn't let go until the last page is turned. The death of a mysterious stranger in the woods outside Three Pines brings Inspector Gamache and his team back to the village, where the deepest secrets of the hearts of the inhabitants are slowly revealed against the backdrop of the telling of an amazing story.....I don't want to reveal anything crucial....give yourself a gift, buy this book and settle down for a most enjoyable time....
cewilch More than 1 year ago
Through this author I have come to love the Armand Gamache series, the village of Three Pines and all of its lovable and enduring characters. When I first discovered Louise Penny it was in her book A RULE AGAINST MURDER, and then I went back and read all the previous Armand Gamache books. I have to say I feel almost mortally wounded to have this book end the way it did, with one of the most "real" characters being taken away. Unless there is some kind of redemption for this character in the next book, I'm not sure how I will feel. This story would have been perfect if a more disposable character would've been fingered. I think I'm in mourning.
Lannie More than 1 year ago
This is a haunting tale full of secrets and lies. Yet another wonderful cozy setting in a Canadian Village. I was laughing one minute and scratching my head the next...COMPELLING REAL LIFE FLAWED CHARACTERS and and a thought-provoking, complex storyline that makes you think, even when you're not reading! Wonderful! Two more books on my "shelf of Treasures"...THE HELP ,by K. Stockett and EXPLOSION IN PARIS, by L. Pirrung
writerrosemarie More than 1 year ago
Louise Penny's fifth novel "The Brutal Telling" is her first for me. I am so glad B&N recommended this book. I enjoyed it so much I promptly bought her 4 other novels. Each novel gets better and better. I am looking forward to her next Chief Inspector Gamache novel. I don't know what I enjoy most about these wonderful mysteries - the Chief Inspector, his team, the village of Three Pines or the characters inhabiting it. Ms. Penny's descriptions of county life, food, and art, as well as her insights on human nature, are right on the money. She shares knowledge about the history of Quebec and Canada in a very entertaining way. The mystery keeps you guessing and I changed my mind a few times as to whom the culprit was. Also, her depiction of the Gamache "family" which includes wife, children, grandchildren and his Team made Chief Inspector Andre Gamache one of the most endearing characters I've read about in a long time. Thank you B&N for recommending this book. If you enjoy mysteries, great characters, and a setting that makes you wish you were there, check out the Chief Inspector Gamache Novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read a mystery for a long while as I was starting to get very bored with all of them, but I picked this book up because it was a "B&N Recommendation" and I am so glad that I did. This was not only the best book I've read for months, but it was an excellent mystery too! I couldn't wait to get home to continue and was sorry when it was finished. I ran right out and bought the first 4 installments of Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache series. Louise Penny's stories are a treat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The journey was enjoyable, but the solution was horrid. It's like expecting a fudge jelly bean & finding out that it was a dirt bean from a bertie botts pack
retromom More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this book. It was my first book from this author and her series but I think I will be reading the other books in the series as well. The story takes place in Three Pines which is a small village near Quebec. A body is found in the Bistro run by Olivier and his partner Gabri. No one seems to know who the dead man is nor how he he got there. Of course there are many suspects and there are many interesting finds along the way. I don't want to get into too much of the story as it would spoil the mystery but there are many twists and turns. Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are a unique bunch of characters as are the village residents. You can't help but fall in love with Three Pines thanks to Louise Penny's wonderful descriptions of the village. I had a distinct picture in my mind of Three Pines. I could imagine myself walking through the village or the woods. Some of the villagers are quite amusing. There is even a duck that wears clothing. And the description of the food at the Bistro had my mouth watering! Others have said the authors writing reminds them of Agatha Christie. It's been many years since I have read one of her books but I did get the same feeling too. It has been many years since I have read a mystery and I found this mystery a great way to dig into mysteries again. It was truly enjoyable. Now that I feel so at home in Three Pines I will be sure to visit again. Thanks to Tara at St. Martins for this ARC.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another book unbuyable thanks to harriet klausner revealing every detail about the book. Its bad enough most of the reviews here are plot spoilers, but harriet klausner is one of the worst. She is consistently ruining every single book she supposedly reviews. Please,bn, please put a stop to this poster. She is costing you money in lost sales.
lotto53 More than 1 year ago
great characters rich and deep plot
sandiek More than 1 year ago
A man's body has been found in the bistro of Three Pines village. No one knows who this man is, what he is doing in the village or who could have been involved in his death. Inspector Armand Gamache and his team descend on the village to discover what has happened and who is responsible. Gamache and his team have been to Three Pines before and they know the people. There is Ruth, a famous poet who now is a bitter old woman who seems half mad. Olivier and Gabri are a gay couple that run the bistro. Myrna is a former psychologist who now runs a second-hand bookstore. The Parras are members of the refuge Czech settlement. Peter and Clare are artists, with Clare about to break out and become famous. The Gilberts are the newcomers in town. They have bought a ruined house above the village and are turning it into a luxury hotel and spa, a move that doesn't endear them to the village regulars. As the case progresses, the team discovers that the man had lived as a hermit in the woods surrounding the village. No one there had known of his existence, except for the person who had supplied his needs. As the police investigate, his cabin yields marvels. It is full of heirlooms, true treasures from all over the world. These are marvelous items; items from the courts of Europe as well as fabulous art objects. How did this hermit come to have these treasures and who was he? The hermit himself was a gifted woodcarver and his mystery is solved as his sculptures are found and give up their clues about their creator. Louise Penny is the most exciting find of the year for me. Her book is intricate and the plot is complex. Each character is fully developed, and the reader sees how each interacts with all those around them. As the book progresses, the reader discovers each person's strengths and their foibles, and how their characteristics have caused the events that have resulted in the murder. This book is recommended for mystery readers; especially those who enjoy authors such as Elizabeth George and P.D. James. This is an exquisite book.
Cele More than 1 year ago
All of Louise Penny's books are much more than simple mysteries. They are explorations of the human spirit. This novel is darker than her others, but the truth of her characters and the way their lives interweave remain as always. And Gamache's wisdom is forever satisfying. As you read, you will find yourself putting the book down from time to time to ponder over the wisdom and insight of this remarkable author.
lb7 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the 5th in the Armand Gamache series. Louise Penny's cast of characters is an endearing albeit off beat lot. It amazes me that she is able to construct another story within the framework of the tight knit community of Three Pines. It is a testament to her ability as a writer. I hope Armand and Three Pines stays around a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my mystery clubs selection for December. great book, but not happy with the ending.
bookwormsarefierce More than 1 year ago
Louise Penny is a new writer, but it feels like a cozy Agatha Christie or a morally challenging Anne Perry. There is depth to the characters and the story line reveals something new each time whether about people and how we relate to each other or a unique experience like being an artist or a marginalized people. I will not spoil the story by providing details (and those can be found when reading the publisher reviews anyway), but I will say that you will enjoy Armand, Marie, Clara and Peter and even Ruth, the odd one out.
hd93021 More than 1 year ago
Not having read any of the earlier books in the Armand Gamache series, I feel this stands alone as an enjoyable murder mystery, and it has made me consider buying, at least, one or two of the others. The characters were well-developed and interesting, as was the plot. I was, however, disappointed with the ending. This was the first book I have read in this genre, and I enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All around good read...Plot, characters, setting. If I HAD to pick a faul twith the book I'd say the length. I'd like this book a bit shorter but this is nit-picking. Great Read! Enjoy!
leroy20 More than 1 year ago
going to read another book by same author
MikeDraper More than 1 year ago
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to the location of a man found murdered, his body is in the bistro in Three Pines, Canada. From the moment the body of the Hermit is found, the author perfectly captures the soul of this quaint area in Quebec. I was fascinated with the start of the novel. The first words, "All of them? Even the children? The fireplace sputtered and crackled and swallowed his gasp. "Slaughtered?" I was hooked. Louise Penny is a very descriptive writer. Her books would be easy to transition into the world of film. In fact, as I learned more of Oliver Broule and the Hermit, and the Hermit's home in the woods, a home filled with treasures, I was picturing the story unfolding as a made for TV drama, perhaps on Mystery Theater. The author's writing is reminiscent of the great Agatha Christie. I compare Christie's protagonist Hercule Poirot with Louise Penny's Armond Gamache. Both men have a quiet, unassuming manner and are extremely polite to the suspects as well as to the innocent characters. Both investigators are well respected and use logic to solve the puzzles presented in the mysteries. This is the fifth story with Chief Inspector Gamache and the critics knew from the start that they had a star in the making. Her first novel, "Still Life" won the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony and Dilys Awards. Amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautifully woven tapestry of emotion and wisdom. It kept me guessing to the end while delighting me with insights and celebration of life.