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The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #5)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  23,710 Ratings  ·  2,238 Reviews

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 t

Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published September 22nd 2009)
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Micheal Fraser
Jun 05, 2010 Micheal Fraser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read all of Louise Penny's previous novels about the perfect
village of Three Pines and the amazing Chief Inspector Gamache I was
prepared to be vastly entertained by a witty, sometimes funny and
intricately plotted mystery whose solution always lies in the hearts of
men and the ability of Gamache to suss out what lies within.

I was not prepared for this compelling and unflinching look into the
heart of darkness that resides within us all. It is a universal truth
that we can never fully know ano
Chaos is coming, old son.

Having been introduced to Three Pines, the fictional Quebec village close to the Vermont border, I have fallen in love with it and it's quirky residents. But as I read my way through the series their flaws and imperfections are being revealed. Like layers on an onion slowly being peeled back one layer at a time. In A Rule Against Murder we learned a bit more about Peter Morrow. In this fifth installment in the series we learn more about Olivier Brulé, the gay man who alo
Dec 21, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Margitte
Penny is at the top of her form with this 5th installment of the “cosy” mystery series set in the fictional rural Quebec village of Three Pines. A strange turns up dead in the bistro run by a gay couple, and Instpector Armand Gamache of the provincial homicide division come to town with his team to solve it. In the process, he digs up many secrets and suspects in this tight-knit community, mostly achieved through his special talent at listening and being able to garner subtle clues and detect li ...more
Three Pines welcomed Marc and Dominique Gilbert as the new owners of Hadley house on the hill. For once, this sad, violated, derelict house got a second chance. It never belonged to the village, according to inspector Armand Gamache. It seemed the accusation, the voyeur on the hill, that looked down on them. Judged them. Preyed on them. And sometimes took one of the villagers, and killed them.

Three Pines was not like any other village. "Every Quebec village has a vocation", said Clara. “Some mak
The Hook Needed a comfort read after reading several brutal thrillers. Strange that this one has Brutal in the title but it was much less violent even with a murder in the plot.

The Line “Funny how imperfections on the outside mean something splendid beneath.”

The Sinker – I was probably half way through this 5th Chief Inspector Armand Gamache
in the series before I became interested in the mystery. It didn’t grab me right away. As more and more was revealed about the murder victim I began to e
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
My first book of the new year!

I'd really like to give this book 2.5 stars. The ending really irritated me but the rest was pretty good. I'm going to start of the new year with kindness and give it three stars.

This book is interesting and well written for the most part. It has a few slow spots but it's hard to put down once you reach the half way point. I'm sure it will be appealing to fans of this series. I haven't read any of Penny's books before so there have been a few moments when I've wonde
Never thought I would see this day!

If someone had told me that I would be rating a Louise Penny book with two stars, I would have disregarded them as crazy. The author is such a good writer that there is no way this was even a choice. Sadly, I have to do it. In this novel pretty much goes against everything that has led me to love her work in the past. When we first met the inhabitants of Three Pines we were introduced to a fascinating group of people. At this point, we have had quite a bit of t
Feb 17, 2015 Mona rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Forest British Columbia, by Emily Carr, Image source

As much as it pains me to say this, I'm finding that the appeal of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series is diminishing as I get further into it.

As I said in my review of the fourth (and preceding) book, A Rule Against Murder (see the review here:, the series is starting to get a bit stale, formulaic and repetitive.

Unfortunately, this often seems to happen with series
Richard Derus
Sep 08, 2010 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Louise Penny's Inspector Armand Gamache series is my favorite series in the mystery genre. The 5th book is back again at Three Pines introducing new unwanted owners of the haunting Hadley house. An unknown hermit is murdered, a treasure is found, and we witness the worst traits of the book's characters. This is a story of greed, jealousy, resentment, and lies.

What I enjoyed most was the wonderful poetic nature of The Brutal Telling. Listening to quotes narrated by the late Ralph Cosham is such a
Oct 13, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetry, art, philosophy, sociology, history, literature, psychology, and a smattering of la langue français.

Chief Inspector Gamache is so much more well read and insightful than I am. But his wisdom is held and shared quietly, kindly.

There are so many facets I enjoy about the Three Pines mysteries. The village itself, the community and all its colorful inhabitants. The smooth and thoughtful Inspector Gamache, his family, and his somewhat clumsier colleagues. And all those first eight things I m
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
Feb 16, 2010 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, first-reads, reviewed
[This review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy won through the Goodreads First Reads program.:]

The Brutal Telling is an enjoyable, quiet mystery, with two major flaws.

To repeat what some others have said, this is a nice small town mystery with interesting characters. Once the story pulled me in, I "couldn't put it down." (Okay, I could put it down. But I was always eager to return to it.)

You can read more about the plot and the characters and the writing in other reviews. I want to address wha
Aug 31, 2009 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephen by: First Reads Giveaway
Shelves: first-reads
People come to mystery novels for different reasons, which explains why there is such a wide variety of sub-genres. When we read a mystery we are confronted with our own fears, desires, and those less than pleasant parts of our personality that we work to prevent seeing the light of day. Louise Penny deals with exactly that uglier part of our natures in this novel, The Brutal Telling.

I have read all five of the Chief Inspector Gamache novels. After reading Ms Penny's second novel I caught on to
Appropriate October read, this being the darkest of the series for me thus far. We find our group of regulars battling some of their own inner demons, while at the same time trying to come to grips with the arrival of some unwanted outsiders. Even the landscapes in this addition were described more gloomy, remote and shadowy than usual.

Inspector Gamache is back in Three Pines again surrounded by his friends and a mysterious death. The body of an unknown homeless man is found in the local Bistro
I have enjoyed Louise Penny’s novels immensely, but reading her 5th instalment of the series has sealed it firmly, she is an amazing writer and I loved her novels deeply. This book makes me curious enough to google famous English verses and poems because how wonderful it features them.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache was called back to Three Pines for another murder, the victim was a stranger with a smashed skull found in Olivier’s and Gabri’s Bistro. Everyone was shocked, the Bistro’s reputation
Karen Hall
Apr 04, 2012 Karen Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve loved Louise Penny’s books since Still Life, and read them quickly, almost one after another, but somehow I missed The Brutal Telling in my Year of Louise Penny, 2011. Since some of what happens in The Brutal Telling is revealed at the beginning of Bury Your Dead (2011), which I thought was brilliant, I considered skipping it altogether.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t! Had I not opened this book, I would have missed the continued rich development of characters I know and love, the interesting comp
Mackey St
Ahhh, Louise Penny you have broken my heart! Generally I read Penney's novels because I adore her mysteries but even more so because I have come to think of Inspector Gamache, his team and the marvelous people of Three Pines as literary friends. Penny does this to you with her incredible writing, in-depth character development and her beautiful story telling. The mystery is there but it is the people that you come back time and to visit time and again.

So I blindly walked into this story believin
I made it to the duck.
Rosa is a character finally.
She even wears clothing.
However, she does not say, "Fuck" and that means I haven't read what I'm supposed to read about this duck, yet.
I've got to keep going.

I'd keep going anyhow.

While the mystery in this book, like the others, is fairly weak, and I'm not buying the solution at all, I truly enjoyed everything else, especially the cabin full of treasure hidden in the woods.
A first edition of Charlotte's Web? I'd have drooled all over it.

I savored
Kathy Davie
Apr 23, 2014 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Fifth in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series and revolving around Gamache and Three Pines.

The Brutal Telling won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2009 and the Anthony Award for Best Novel in 2010 and was nominated for a Dilys Award and the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel in 2010.

My Take
This one was confusing, convoluted, and horrible. The confusion from how Penny filled in the background on the Hermit and the "stranger's" relationship, over the victim's identity, the why o
Dec 16, 2016 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Gamache #5 is in the books.

Louise Penny continues to spin excellent mysteries in the tiny Quebec village of Three Pines.
Again, the regulars are present: Olivier, Gabri, Clara, Peter, and of course the acerbic Ruth. And her duck.
And, once again, the mystery is a mystery, keeping you guessing throughout.

Penny's gift is making every page interesting. Whether it be by dialogue or plot reveals or the evolution of these characters, the last thing you can say about her novels is that they're boring. Th
This was 4.5 stars. My only criticism is that it took its time to reveal some movement towards solving the mystery of the murder. Like many readers of this series, I love discovering more and more secrets of the Quebecoise village of Three Pines. Penny infuses her Gamache novels with details of life in Francophone Quebec, as well as details from Gamache's life and past.

The identity of a murder victim is as much of a mystery as "who dun it". What I enjoyed the most about this novel was that it i
Tanja Berg
Jul 19, 2012 Tanja Berg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aw - now that the politics are done and over with, I just love this series! Finally a Chief Inspector who is not a Lord, Poet, near Deity or a Drunkard! It's so nice to meet up with the familiar inhabitants of Three Pines village. Who cares that they have the highest rate of murder per capita in the world?! Such a picturesque, sweet little town anyway.

A body is found in the gay couple's bistro, Gabri and Oliver's. No one claims to know him. Chief Inspector Gamache comes and begin to investigate.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2011 Deb rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2009 judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
When I find myself in Three Pines it reminds me of Brigadoon, the fictional Scottish village that only emerges from the mist for a single day each hundred years. Fortunately Penny doesn't make us wait that long for another glimpse of the charming, magical, slightly other worldly Three Pines. Penny is an amazing writer. Through her prose I can actually see and feel the stunning power of Clara's paintings. I can sit in the Bistro enjoying the smells and watching Gabri deliver yet another superb me ...more
Ronald Roseborough
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. Ea ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Sub_zero rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2016
La novela de Louise Penny brutal, lo que se dice brutal... pues no es. De hecho, se trata más bien de un cozy mistery bastante inocuo que tiene lugar en el seno de una pequeña comunidad canadiense y donde la investigación criminal cobra solo importancia relativa, sustituida por un exhaustivo tratamiento de los diferentes personajes implicados. No es que me parezca una mala propuesta, pero desde luego la manera de llevarla a cabo no me ha impresionado lo más mínimo y en más de una ocasión he teni ...more
May 22, 2012 Contrarius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I just love the way Penny's books are about so much more than what they seem to be about. I guess that's the point of "literary" fiction and "literary" mysteries, huh?

Anyway -- I'm tempted to give this 5 stars, but once again a few points of plot weakness keep me at the 4 star level. I'm already behind on writing my Penny reviews, but I promise promise promise to catch up in the next day or two. But the take home message is: if you like thinking while you read, if you love vivid characters, and
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The Three Pines: The Brutal Telling #5 1 11 Jan 18, 2017 09:20AM  
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #67 - The Brutal Telling (Gamache #4) 1 3 May 21, 2015 02:45AM  
**Spoiler Alert** What is "Woo"? 11 319 Nov 26, 2012 08:02PM  
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LOUISE PENNY, a former CBC radio journalist, is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of twelve Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has been awarded the John Creasey Dagger, Nero, Macavity and Barry Awards, as well as two each of the Arthur Ellis and Dilys Awards. Additionally, Penny has won six Agatha Awards and five Anthony Awards, and has been a finalist for an Edga ...more
More about Louise Penny...

Other Books in the Series

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)
  • A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2)
  • The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3)
  • A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)
  • Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)
  • A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7)
  • The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8)
  • How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #9)
  • The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)
  • The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #11)

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“Where there is love there is courage,
where there is courage there is peace,
where there is peace there is God.
And when you have God, you have everything.”
“The leaves had fallen from the trees and lay crisp and crackling beneath his feet. Picking one up he marveled, not for the first time, at the perfection of nature where leaves were most beautiful at the very end of their lives.” 30 likes
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