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on 16 May 2014
I was just reading the reviews for this and smiling because had I not read all the other Louise Penny books, I would probably have said the same thing, the end is a tad vague. I have had difficulty buying these books living in Scotland so have needed to purchase them as and when I could on Amazon so have almost read them backwards. Saying that it didn't matter as most are stand alone reads too but the difference with this is it continues on in Bury your Dead where everything comes together. It was an absorbing read made all the more pleasurable for me as I knew the jist of the murder story so could concentrate and dwell on the heavenly poetry scattered through the chapters. Oh this series of books for me are a God send. I adore this author's way of writing a tale, the characters she has imagined and the endless smiles and giggles you get with the antics of the residents in Three Pines. Armande should be a heartthrob by now; I have a lovely picture in my mind of him and Beauvoir! It is so refreshing to read a murder mystery novel which doesn't fill the pages with blood and gore but takes you on a fabulous sensory journey with all the sights and sounds and smells of that wonderfully imagined place called Three Pines. Just an amazing achievement from this author as I have not yet found one of these books a trial to read and that in itself must be quite an accomplishment. Highly recommended.
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on 15 April 2017
Not happy with the print in this book. Several pages in the first chapter have distorted print (some of which is almost illegible). Several further pages throughout the book are also fairly bad to very bad. Very disappointed
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on 22 April 2017
Wonderful. Well up to her usual standard.
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on 9 June 2017
The village of Three Pines in Quebec, close to the Vermont border, often seems lost in time. Even with an occasional murder investigated by Inspector Armand Gamache and his team from the Quebec Surete in Montreal, the basic fabric of life remains intact.

The bistro, with its wonderful food, is the center of communal life. The used bookstore is filled with good books, advice, and the large presence of its owner, former psychologist Myrna Landers. The artists Peter and Clara Morrow continue to produce wonderful art, and Clara is anticipating her first major show. The eccentric and often vulgar poet Ruth Zardo maintains her policy of offending everyone while she dresses her duck Rosa in sweaters and coats.

Yes, murders happen, but the fabric of life in Three Pines continues.

But not this time. Not in the fifth of the Inspector Gamache mystery novels by Canadian writer Louise Penny, “The Brutal Telling.” This time, the world of Three Pines will be upended.

A body is found early one morning in the bistro. It appears to be an elderly man who’s had his head bashed in. But there’s no blood, indicating the man was killed elsewhere.

What the reader knows from the beginning is that Olivier Brule, the owner of the bistro, knows the murdered man’s identity, and has been visiting him at the man’s cabin deep in the nearby woods.

The mystery of the man’s identity is compounded when the cabin is eventually discovered. Inside the cabin are priceless antiques, signed first editions of books, artifacts that went missing during World War II, and other treasures. Among all of these are small, exquisitely carved pieces of redwood, found only in British Columbia.

Solving this mystery will indeed change Three Pines and the lives of the people who live there.

“The Brutal Telling” is the fifth mystery in Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. The amazing thing is that, despite many of the same characters and same setting, each story is new, fresh, and different. And so far in the series, the stories are becoming better, more nuanced, and deeper. This story at times threatens to break out from the mystery genre and become serious literary fiction.
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on 16 May 2011
Having purchased "Bury Your Dead" as a special offer, I realised that it was actually the latest in a series. I'd enjoyed this exciting, twisting, beautifully written book so much that I wanted to read the rest.
Reading them from "Still Life" and finishing with a reread of "Bury Your Dead" I have been breathing the Canadian air through all the seasons.
The amazing beauty of Canadian forests, settlements and cities are the backdrop to the investigations of detectives Gamache and Beauvoir.
Each book has its own plot and place, from the Plains of Abraham in old Quebec to an exclusive hotel in the wilderness, but the connecting thread is the Three Pines community.
In Three Pines Louise Penny has created a group of real people. Each character is so well drawn and developed through the novels that I personally want to know what happens to them next.
There is humour and tragedy. The wonderful old poet Ruth, so rough and yet so gentle; artists Clara and Peter; book-shop owner Myrna; Gabri and Olivier (who seem to feed everyone as they come together each day in the Bistro!) ... all seem to have been hurt or damaged in some way and have found healing in Three Pines.
Overlaying this delicately created background, Louise Penny has then taken us on a thrilling tightly-interwoven mystery of murder or espionage and, in some stories, both!
Betrayal, revenge, greed, prejudice, ancient history, deadly-politics and beneath it all a loyalty and hope that survives throughout.
These books are so well written that a second read is an added bonus!
I'm looking forward to the next instalment.
Why is it so difficult to find Louise Penny's books in England?
In the large book chains in the North of England I could only find two of her novels.
Then I remembered Amazon and have managed to get the rest of the series. Thank You Amazon!!
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on 18 January 2015
I did enjoy this book, however I felt it wasn't as good as previous books Penny has written. As another reviewer has already mentioned, the plot seemed a bit too far fetched.

I also think the writer needs to "double check" what she has written before.In previous books the police "Incident room" is an old railway station now semi used as the fire department. In previous books the redundant station had been part of the Canadian National railway. In this book however the station was part of the Canadian Pacific railway. CNR and CPR are and were 2 entirely different organisations. Picky I know - but I'd prefer continuity.
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on 20 May 2016
How many murders can a small village like Three Pines realistically expect? There were several plot twists in this that I found overly contrived / more unbelievable than usual. The ending left several threads (as far as I was concerned) hanging (pun there?) so I have ordered the next book in the series (no doubt as the author intended). When looking at the order in the series I found that No. 12 is about to be published (Brutal Telling = 5) and Insp. Gamache had retired by book 10....... I wait to see how much further I want to read on in this series.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 October 2009
First Sentence: "All of them? Even the children?" The fireplace sputtered and cackled and swallowed his gas. "Slaughtered?"

As the seasons are changing, so are lives in the village of Three Pines. The body of an unknown man of a stranger is left in the bistro and antiques store of Oliver and Gabri. Chief Inspector Gamache must identify the victim as well as the killer uncovering secrets and lies along the way.

Quite different from the previous four books, this feels to be a transitional book, both for the author and the characters. As with all Ms. Penny's books, it is wonderfully written. One of the magical things about her books, is that you can read them as simple mysteries, or you can take the time to realize all the depth and layers that exist therein.

She is an author who makes you want to read passages aloud to others because they are so well done. You can tell that Ms. Penny loves her characters and the setting yet knows neither is perfect. They convey both the best, and the worst, of all people.

I love Penny's sense of humor; it is wry, subtle and brilliant. One character talks states that "I decided since I turned fifty, I needed to get into shape." She smiled fully then. "Or at least into a different shape. I'm aiming for pear rather than apple." She patted her stomach. "Thought I suspect my nature is to be the whole orchard."

Ms. Penny is a very descriptive writer of places, people and animals. She brings everything to life, without ever being cute or maudlin about it. She has a clear love and respect for all living things.

Three Pines and its residents are undergoing significant changes. I'll admit I shed a few tears at the end of this book. I am anxious to see where the road, and author, takes them.

THE BRUTAL TELLING (Pol Proc-CI Gamache-Canada-Cont) - Ex
Penny, Louise - 5th in series
Minotaur Books, 2009, ARC Trade Paperback - ISBN: HC- 9780312377038
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on 21 February 2013
This series just gets better and better and despite trying to ration them and not read them all at once I find myself going back to the next one as soon as I finish one .The characters are as well-drawn as ever ...the creation of the poet Ruth is an absolute triumph! AN EXCELLENT BOOK!
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on 22 July 2015
Never less than five stars for any of Louise Penny's books. Her novels are intelligent and the necessary research appreciated. All her characters are well drawn as multidimensional individuals with various strengths and vulnerabilities and none less than colourful. There is a surprising resonance in everyone. The psychological insights are numerous and thought provoking. Her narrative is full of the unexpected with much I didn't know that I didn't know, inspiring further inquiry. Snippets of history and culture play an essential part in the process of seeking to understand the cause and effect of events. So who wouldn't want to visit Louise Penny's Quebec despite the winter storms or the sweltering summers when the village of Three Pines beckons. As with all her novels Brutal Telling is hard to put down and makes me hunger for more. This multi-layered tale has both humour and joy, anxiety and despair. The atmosphere can be warming and cosy as well as disturbing as the hard truth is brought to light (or is it?) and a maze of secrets are unveiled without predictability. I'm confident that Penny's Inspector Gamache series could never disappoint. Another great read!
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