An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
It is hard to write this review without spoiling the story, so I'll be intentionally vague. The characters are just as fully drawn and the story feels right; I still love them all and wish I lived there. What makes this bittersweet is that the plot is upsetting. STILL a great book and part of a series I couldn't recommend more highly. READ THIS!
You must go in order with the Three Pines series. And it helps if tu parles francais un peu.
I love books!
I was able to start reading Louise Penny novels with book #1 and I've methodically worked through them, this being book #6. Often when you read most or all of the works of a writer you can sense them evolving and their books get better the more they write. This book was #6 in the Chief Inspector Gamache crimve novels set in Three Pines, a fictituous, small village an hour south of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Ms Penny has great character development and has created a great cast of characters that inhabit Three Pines and her novels are set around these characters plus new ones she introduces each book. This book was philosophic as Gamache unravles the murder he's trying to solve. Thoreau, pricelss old art, current Canadian art, Canadian history are all weaved into the story. I thoughly enjoyed this book and look forward to #7.
It is true that I know only what I have read in books. But I have read a great many books. ("Venetia" by Georgette Heyer)
Ahh, series, the lifeblood of mysteries and fantasies, authors and fans alike! But, while I almost always read the entries of a fantasy series in sequence, I have done the hunt-and-peck and read-them-as-I-find them thing with most of the mystery series I enjoy.
That said, I'd advise anyone new to this series to take the Inspector Gamache books in order. Unfortunately for me, after listening to first book--the wonderful "Still Life"--the next one I listened to was the recent "A Trick of the Light," which contains major spoilers not only for "The Brutal Telling" but also for the next book in the series. So I'm sure part of my disappointment with "The Brutal Telling" is the result of too much information about what's going to happen next.
I liked both "Still Life" and "Trick of the Light" better than this book. I found the victim's slowly unfolding story to be far-fetched (in this case, to discover who the victim is is to discover who killed him--maybe). The menage of totem poles and Charlotte's Web, native Americans and Czech immigrants--to say nothing of presumed-dead famous authors who just happen to show up and turn out to be someone's father--makes the head spin. These elements all come to roost in a hermit's cabin that's within walking distance of Three Pines' center but for years has somehow gone undetected by all but one of the town's inhabitants ... well, taken together, it's a lot of unlikely events to swallow. Woe. Or is it Woo? (Just a little TBT joke :-)
BUT in general I recommend this series, especially listening to it. Ralph Cosham's narration is poetic and mesmerizing. The main character is heroic (if a bit too much of a Saint and Martyr), and the recurring characters quickly become friends (although I doubt you'd want to live with any of these eccentrics, they are delightful to visit). The philosophical musings and the digressions about the art world are often fascinating. And the French-Canadian setting is beautifully depicted and seems like another world (although reviewers who seem to know that region a lot better than I do assert it's quite accurate).
I enjoyed this book! 1/2 of the outcome I didn't care for (the identity of the bad guy) and 1/2 was perfect (Clara's success in spite of Peter.) The narration is great. Louise Penny creates more details of Three Pines adding and removing characters. Ms Penny does a fantastic job with all types of descriptions and has the imagination to keep Three Pines and its residents interesting. This series just keeps getting better!
Chief Inspector Gavroche is as charming as ever, but this convoluted plot never fully comes together. This is the first Louise Penny novel I haven't enjoyed.
A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air
If you haven't discovered Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache mystery series, you are in for a treat. But don't start here, go back to the beginning (Still Life) and read them in sequence.
A Brutal Telling was another enjoyable entry in the series, with some surprising twists along the way. Her books make me want to visit Quebec very soon.
I only rated the performance three stars, because while the performance is quite good, I always wish that the narrator, Ralph Cosham, would pause just a moment before moving to different settings/scenes in the story.
I loved listening to this book, more than I imagine I would reading the print version. The narrator has a great voice and brings the French accents and phrases to life.
Since Chief Inspector Gamache is a poetry-quoting policeman, I am reminded of P.D. James' cerebral, poetry-writing detective Adam Dagliesh. The dark psychological thriller aspect of the plots reminds me of some of Ruth Rendell's novels. Gamache is unique in his "normalness." He has a wife, grown children and he's happy, even though he delves into the darker regions of the human psyche.
I wanted to listen to this whole series -- let alone this book -- all in one sitting, except I'm trying to stretch them out a bit and savor them.
This particular book ended with a number of loose ends, unlike the previous books in the series. I was a little confused and dissatisfied. I have been assured by a friend, however, that the next book in the series clears up some of the ambiguity. I just love this series, the characters, the setting, learning about the culture in Quebec, feeling the cold weather. I think it's brilliant.
While it might be considered a police procedural mystery, putting it in that genre doesn't take into consideration that this novel is deeply thoughtful, with complex and beautifully drawn characters and deep, affecting themes that remain in thought long after reading the book.
The tone and the way the characters are developed. There is an underlying thread of kindness and acceptance of human complexity that is unusual for this genre.
I have listened to all of the Three Pines novels through this one--I can't think there could be a better narrator for this work.
Manslaughter can take many forms.
I can't say enough for this writer and this series. Can't wait to get to the next one, but will space them out so that the aura of this one can settle in. This is the first mystery series I have read that I would want to read again. And possibly again.
I have read/listened to all of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books and up until now have enjoyed the quaint characters and interesting plots. "The Brutal Telling" left me much less satisfied, however. All the familiar characters were there with a few new ones. I enjoyed the characters and actually laughed out loud with the description of some of their actions.
The problem for me was the plot. It was too complicated and Penny tried to put in too many twists. She seemed to be trying to put in too many characters who revolved around famous Canadians - Emily Carr and Jean Vanier. Nothing seemed to connect. Why did Gamache go to Haida G'wai? That part of the story was interesting but didn't really connect to the plot. At the end of the novel, the listener still doesn't know who the victim was or why he had all these treasures. It didn't seem realistic to me that the person identified as the murderer, was the murderer. I felt she just didn't know how to end the story. I felt that she had two, if not three, plots that she was trying to develop in one novel. It just left me with more questions than answers.
I am disappointed in this book because I liked her others so much.