Chaos is coming, old son.
With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.
No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?
As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures— from first editions of Charlotte's Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word "WOE" woven in it—lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.
About the Author
LOUISE PENNY is the author of the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (six times), and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise lives in a small village south of Montréal.
Read an Excerpt
The Brutal Telling
By Louise Penny
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2009 Louise Penny
All rights reserved.
"All of them? Even the children?" The fireplace sputtered and crackled and swallowed his gasp.
There was silence then. And in that hush lived all the things that could be worse than slaughter.
"Are they close?" His back tingled as he imagined something dreadful creeping through the woods. Toward them. He looked around, almost expecting to see red eyes staring through the dark windows. Or from the corners, or under the bed.
"All around. Have you seen the light in the night sky?"
"I thought those were the Northern Lights." The pink and green and white shifting, flowing against the stars. Like something alive, glowing, and growing. And approaching.
Olivier Brulé lowered his gaze, no longer able to look into the troubled, lunatic eyes across from him. He'd lived with this story for so long, and kept telling himself it wasn't real. It was a myth, a story told and repeated and embellished over and over and over. Around fires just like theirs.
It was a story, nothing more. No harm in it.
But in this simple log cabin, buried in the Quebec wilderness, it seemed like more than that. Even Olivier felt himself believing it. Perhaps because the Hermit so clearly did.
The old man sat in his easy chair on one side of the stone hearth with Olivier on the other. Olivier looked into a fire that had been alive for more than a decade. An old flame not allowed to die, it mumbled and popped in the grate, throwing soft light into the log cabin. He gave the embers a shove with the simple iron poker, sending sparks up the chimney. Candlelight twinkled off shiny objects like eyes in the darkness, found by the flame.
"It won't be long now."
The Hermit's eyes were gleaming like metal reaching its melting point. He was leaning forward as he often did when this tale was told.
Olivier scanned the single room. The dark was punctuated by flickering candles throwing fantastic, grotesque shadows. Night seemed to have seeped through the cracks in the logs and settled into the cabin, curled in corners and under the bed. Many native tribes believed evil lived in corners, which was why their traditional homes were rounded. Unlike the square homes the government had given them.
Olivier didn't believe evil lived in corners. Not really. Not in the daylight, anyway. But he did believe there were things waiting in the dark corners of this cabin that only the Hermit knew about. Things that set Olivier's heart pounding.
"Go on," he said, trying to keep his voice steady.
It was late and Olivier still had the twenty-minute walk through the forest back to Three Pines. It was a trip he made every fortnight and he knew it well, even in the dark.
Only in the dark. Theirs was a relationship that existed only after nightfall.
They sipped Orange Pekoe tea. A treat, Olivier knew, reserved for the Hermit's honored guest. His only guest.
But now it was story time. They leaned closer to the fire. It was early September and a chill had crept in with the night.
"Where was I? Oh, yes. I remember now."
Olivier's hands gripped the warm mug even tighter.
"The terrible force has destroyed everything in its way. The Old World and the New. All gone. Except ..."
"One tiny village remains. Hidden in a valley, so the grim army hasn't seen it yet. But it will. And when it does their great leader will stand at the head of his army. He's immense, bigger than any tree, and clad in armor made from rocks and spiny shells and bone."
The word was whispered and disappeared into the darkness, where it curled into a corner. And waited.
"Chaos. And the Furies. Disease, Famine, Despair. All are swarming. Searching. And they'll never stop. Not ever. Not until they find it."
"The thing that was stolen."
The Hermit nodded, his face grim. He seemed to see the slaughter, the destruction. See the men and women, the children, fleeing before the merciless, soulless force.
"But what was it? What could be so important they had to destroy everything to get it back?"
Olivier willed his eyes not to dart from the craggy face and into the darkness. To the corner, and the thing they both knew was sitting there in its mean little canvas sack. But the Hermit seemed to read his mind and Olivier saw a malevolent grin settle onto the old man's face. And then it was gone.
"It's not the army that wants it back."
They both saw then the thing looming behind the terrible army. The thing even Chaos feared. That drove Despair, Disease, Famine before it. With one goal. To find what was taken from their Master.
"It's worse than slaughter."
Their voices were low, barely scraping the ground. Like conspirators in a cause already lost.
"When the army finally finds what it's searching for it will stop. And step aside. And then the worst thing imaginable will arrive."
There was silence again. And in that silence lived the worst thing imaginable.
Outside a pack of coyotes set up a howl. They had something cornered.
Myth, that's all this is, Olivier reassured himself. Just a story. Once more he looked into the embers, so he wouldn't see the terror in the Hermit's face. Then he checked his watch, tilting the crystal toward the fireplace until its face glowed orange and told him the time. Two thirty in the morning.
"Chaos is coming, old son, and there's no stopping it. It's taken a long time, but it's finally here."
The Hermit nodded, his eyes rheumy and runny, perhaps from the wood smoke, perhaps from something else. Olivier leaned back, surprised to feel his thirty-eight-year-old body suddenly aching, and realized he'd sat tense through the whole awful telling.
"I'm sorry. It's getting late and Gabri will be worried. I have to go."
Olivier got up and pumping cold, fresh water into the enamel sink he cleaned his cup. Then he turned back to the room.
"I'll be back soon," he smiled.
"Let me give you something," said the Hermit, looking around the log cabin. Olivier's gaze darted to the corner where the small canvas sack sat. Unopened. A bit of twine keeping it closed.
A chuckle came from the Hermit. "One day, perhaps, Olivier. But not today."
He went over to the hand-hewn mantelpiece, picked up a tiny item and held it out to the attractive blond man.
"For the groceries." He pointed to the tins and cheese and milk, tea and coffee and bread on the counter.
"No, I couldn't. It's my pleasure," said Olivier, but they both knew the pantomime and knew he'd take the small offering. "Merci," Olivier said at the door.
In the woods there was a furious scrambling, as a doomed creature raced to escape its fate, and coyotes raced to seal it.
"Be careful," said the old man, quickly scanning the night sky. Then, before closing the door, he whispered the single word that was quickly devoured by the woods. Olivier wondered if the Hermit crossed himself and mumbled prayers, leaning against the door, which was thick but perhaps not quite thick enough.
And he wondered if the old man believed the stories of the great and grim army with Chaos looming and leading the Furies. Inexorable, unstoppable. Close.
And behind them something else. Something unspeakable.
And he wondered if the Hermit believed the prayers.
Olivier flicked on his flashlight, scanning the darkness. Gray tree trunks crowded round. He shone the light here and there, trying to find the narrow path through the late summer forest. Once on the trail he hurried. And the more he hurried the more frightened he became, and the more fearful he grew the faster he ran until he was stumbling, chased by dark words through the dark woods.
He finally broke through the trees and staggered to a stop, hands on his bent knees, heaving for breath. Then, slowly straightening, he looked down on the village in the valley.
Three Pines was asleep, as it always seemed to be. At peace with itself and the world. Oblivious of what happened around it. Or perhaps aware of everything, but choosing peace anyway. Soft light glowed at some of the windows. Curtains were drawn in bashful old homes. The sweet scent of the first autumn fires wafted to him.
And in the very center of the little Quebec village there stood three great pines, like watchmen.
Olivier was safe. Then he felt his pocket.
The gift. The tiny payment. He'd left it behind.
Cursing, Olivier turned to look into the forest that had closed behind him. And he thought again of the small canvas bag in the corner of the cabin. The thing the Hermit had teased him with, promised him, dangled before him. The thing a hiding man hid.
Olivier was tired, and fed up and angry at himself for forgetting the trinket. And angry at the Hermit for not giving him the other thing. The thing he'd earned by now.
He hesitated, then turning he plunged back into the forest, feeling his fear growing and feeding the rage. And as he walked, then ran, a voice followed, beating behind him. Driving him on.
"Chaos is here, old son."CHAPTER 2
"You get it."
Gabri pulled up the covers and lay still. But the phone continued to ring and beside him Olivier was dead to the world. Out the window Gabri could see drizzle against the pane and he could feel the damp Sunday morning settling into their bedroom. But beneath the duvet it was snug and warm, and he had no intention of moving.
He poked Olivier. "Wake up."
Nothing, just a snort.
Nothing. Dear Lord, was he dead?
He leaned in to his partner, seeing the precious thinning hair lying across the pillow and across the face. The eyes closed, peaceful. Gabri smelled Olivier, musky, slightly sweaty. Soon they'd have a shower and they'd both smell like Ivory soap.
The phone rang again.
"It's your mother," Gabri whispered in Olivier's ear.
"Get the phone. It's your mother."
Olivier sat up, fighting to get his eyes open and looking bleary, as though emerging from a long tunnel. "My mother? But she's been dead for years."
"If anyone could come back from the dead to screw you up, it'd be her."
"You're the one screwing me up."
"You wish. Now get the phone."
Olivier reached across the mountain that was his partner and took the call.
Gabri snuggled back into the warm bed, then registered the time on the glowing clock. Six forty-three. On Sunday morning. Of the Labor Day long weekend.
Who in the world would be calling at this hour?
He sat up and looked at his partner's face, studying it as a passenger might study the face of a flight attendant during takeoff. Were they worried? Frightened?
He saw Olivier's expression change from mildly concerned to puzzled, and then, in an instant, Olivier's blond brows dropped and the blood rushed from his face.
Dear God, thought Gabri. We're going down.
"What is it?" he mouthed.
Olivier was silent, listening. But his handsome face was eloquent. Something was terribly wrong.
"What's happened?" Gabri hissed.
They rushed across the village green, their raincoats flapping in the wind. Myrna Landers, fighting with her huge umbrella, came across to meet them and together they hurried to the bistro. It was dawn and the world was gray and wet. In the few paces it took to get to the bistro their hair was plastered to their heads and their clothes were sodden. But for once neither Olivier nor Gabri cared. They skidded to a stop beside Myrna outside the brick building.
"I called the police. They should be here soon," she said.
"Are you sure about this?" Olivier stared at his friend and neighbor. She was big and round and wet and wearing bright yellow rubber boots under a lime green raincoat and gripping her red umbrella. She looked as though a beachball had exploded. But she also had never looked more serious. Of course she was sure.
"I went inside and checked," she said.
"Oh, God," whispered Gabri. "Who is it?"
"I don't know."
"How can you not know?" Olivier asked. Then he looked through the mullioned glass of his bistro window, bringing his slim hands up beside his face to block out the weak morning light. Myrna held her brilliant red umbrella over him.
Olivier's breath fogged the window but not before he'd seen what Myrna had also seen. There was someone inside the bistro. Lying on the old pine floor. Face up.
"What is it?" asked Gabri, straining and craning to see around his partner.
But Olivier's face told him all he needed to know. Gabri focused on the large black woman next to him.
"Is he dead?"
What could be worse than death? he wondered.
Myrna was as close as their village came to a doctor. She'd been a psychologist in Montreal before too many sad stories and too much good sense got the better of her, and she'd quit. She'd loaded up her car intending to take a few months to drive around before settling down, somewhere. Any place that took her fancy.
She got an hour outside Montreal, stumbled on Three Pines, stopped for café au lait and a croissant at Olivier's Bistro, and never left. She unpacked her car, rented the shop next door and the apartment above and opened a used bookstore.
People wandered in for books and conversation. They brought their stories to her, some bound, and some known by heart. She recognized some of the stories as real, and some as fiction. But she honored them all, though she didn't buy every one.
"We should go in," said Olivier. "To make sure no one disturbs the body. Are you all right?" Gabri had closed his eyes, but now he opened them again and seemed more composed. "I'm fine. Just a shock. He didn't look familiar."
And Myrna saw on his face the same relief she'd felt when she'd first rushed in. The sad fact was, a dead stranger was way better than a dead friend.
They filed into the bistro, sticking close as though the dead man might reach out and take one of them with him. Inching toward him they stared down, rain dripping off their heads and noses onto his worn clothes and puddling on the wide-plank floor. Then Myrna gently pulled them back from the edge.
And that's how both men felt. They'd woken on this holiday weekend in their comfortable bed, in their comfortable home, in their comfortable life, to find themselves suddenly dangled over a cliff.
All three turned away, speechless. Staring wide-eyed at each other.
There was a dead man in the bistro.
And not just dead, but worse.
As they waited for the police Gabri made a pot of coffee, and Myrna took off her raincoat and sat by the window, looking into the misty September day. Olivier laid and lit fires in the two stone hearths at either end of the beamed room. He poked one fire vigorously and felt its warmth against his damp clothing. He felt numb, and not just from the creeping cold.
When they'd stood over the dead man Gabri had murmured, "Poor one."
Myrna and Olivier had nodded. What they saw was an elderly man in shabby clothing, staring up at them. His face was white, his eyes surprised, his mouth slightly open.
Myrna had pointed to the back of his head. The puddled water was turning pink. Gabri leaned tentatively closer, but Olivier didn't move. What held him spellbound and stunned wasn't the shattered back of the dead man's head, but the front. His face.
"Mon Dieu, Olivier, the man's been murdered. Oh, my God."
Olivier continued to stare, into the eyes.
"But who is he?" Gabri whispered.
It was the Hermit. Dead. Murdered. In the bistro.
"I don't know," said Olivier.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache got the call just as he and Reine-Marie finished clearing up after Sunday brunch. In the dining room of their apartment in Montreal's Outremont quartier he could hear his second in command, Jean Guy Beauvoir, and his daughter Annie. They weren't talking. They never talked. They argued. Especially when Jean Guy's wife, Enid, wasn't there as a buffer. But Enid had to plan school courses and had begged off brunch. Jean Guy, on the other hand, never turned down an invitation for a free meal. Even if it came at a price. And the price was always Annie.
It had started over the fresh-squeezed orange juice, coursed through the scrambled eggs and Brie, and progressed across the fresh fruit, croissants and confitures.
"But how can you defend the use of stun guns?" came Annie's voice from the dining room.
"Another great brunch, merci, Reine-Marie," said David, placing dishes from the dining room in front of the sink and kissing his mother-in-law on the cheek. He was of medium build with short, thinning dark hair. At thirty he was a few years older than his wife, Annie, though he often appeared younger. His main feature, Gamache often felt, was his animation. Not hyper, but full of life. The Chief Inspector had liked him from the moment, five years earlier, his daughter had introduced them. Unlike other young men Annie had brought home, mostly lawyers like herself, this one hadn't tried to out-macho the Chief. That wasn't a game that interested Gamache. Nor did it impress him. What did impress him was David's reaction when he'd met Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache. He'd smiled broadly, a smile that seemed to fill the room, and simply said, "Bonjour."
Excerpted from The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. Copyright © 2009 Louise Penny. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
great characters rich and deep plot
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.
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.
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.
This was my mystery clubs selection for December. great book, but not happy with the ending.
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.
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.
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!
going to read another book by same author
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!
Stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to finish.