A trail of astounding 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, then back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the final, brutal telling.
Listen to another Three Pines mystery.
©2009 Louise Penny; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Excellent....Readers keen for another glimpse into the life of Three Pines will be well rewarded." (Publishers Weekly)
I've listened to all of the Three Pines novels now, having started with Still Life and fallen in love with the seemingly idyllic town and truly eccentric but delightful characters. Penny does a very fine job of drawing out the souls who people her novels as well as the settings, so much so that I wish I could find a Three Pines and move there.
As another reviewer had done, once I listened to Still Life, I downloaded and essentially devoured the remaining novels. I do hope Penny has another novel planned; this last one--The Brutal Telling--shook my gestalt as much as it did the citizens of Three Pines and the police. Although Penny is consistent in her story-telling, it wasn't until this last novel that I realized what it is that I like so much about her work: while her mysteries are traditional police procedurals, there's also an strong undercurrent of philosophy and psychology. The Chief Inspector's ruminations on human nature are what saved this particular novel from devastating me, leaving me with a tinge of hope, but also with an heightened understanding of how none of us is saved from those things that are "supposed" to happen to other people.
Like the Chief Inspector, I find myself ruminating about Three Pines and its inhabitants long after the "case is closed." And I hope I don't have to wait too long before there's another installment in this series.
I simply adore her books and her writing. I find her use of theme to tie all of her subplots together just wonderful...not since reading my first Sayers novel, The Nine Tailors, have I found a mystery writer more inspiring.
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.
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
If you're ever depressed there are few novels or series I strongly recommend. Peter Pan, The Chronicles of Narnia top the list of children's fantasy with more than enough adult wit, wisdom and hope to pull you through the dark times. (By no means wait till you are depressed to read these!). But I'll add two modern, purely adult efforts, Big Little Lies and the Three Pines/ Inspector Gamache series. Like the two classic examples, these modern gems take you away to a wonderful place with unforgettable characters, life to the fullest and in the end, hope.
The Brutal Telling takes us back to the lost village of Three Pines to yet another murder. We are treated to a few more interesting characters, including an abused horse named Mark and a duck wearing pearls. However, there is another murder that sadly exposes the darker side of some of Three Pines more colorful residents.
Gamache and his team are brilliant and the subject matter that surrounds the murder, rare art and antiquities, make the novel a fascinating listening experience.
This is the fifth Inspector Gamache book I have read. One thing I like about this series is that we readers get to see the imperfect side of the characters in addition to all of things they do right. However, I didn't expect that behind the facade of one of the seemingly "normal" and likable Three Pines characters that we would ever find something like what is unveiled in this story!
I gave the story three stars -- I liked it, but just not as much as I've liked other Gamache books. I tend to like mysteries that have more to do with action, limiting the time spent on motive to a basic explanation -- and I felt that this book spent more time than I would have liked "inside the heads" of the victim and the perpetrator of the crime. Also, too much symbolism left unexplained throughout the story whose ultimate reason for being was weak.
The narrator is great.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
....a Louise Penny novel is a real pleasure even when i have previously read a printed version of the novel. The Brutal Telling is Book 5 in the of the Chief Inspector Gramache series. In my view it is the weakest of this wonderful series. Even so, it is far better than most novels.
Ralph Cosham was among the very best narrators. He is missed.
I have listened to many great books but have never written a review. This book left me feeling completely satisfied. Can not wait to get another by this wonderful writer.
A lovely weaving of mystery and small town charm. Characters are beautifully developed and the plot keeps you listening for the next twist. Funny too. lovely.
Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!
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).
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