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The Brutal Telling

(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #5)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  55,306 ratings  ·  4,770 reviews
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 ran
Kindle Edition, 460 pages
Published September 22nd 2009
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Vicki Jaeger And Marc the horse is a symbol for the previously angry, hurt, and arrogant man that was Marc's father. He went to LaPorte and his life was changed. H…moreAnd Marc the horse is a symbol for the previously angry, hurt, and arrogant man that was Marc's father. He went to LaPorte and his life was changed. He found peace. So it's amazing that he advocated to send the horse there, to try to help him find peace, instead of putting him down.(less)
ElaineY Woo is not Olivier. The identity of this mysterious Woo is revealed in the next book, Bury Your Dead, which continues this murder/mystery thread.

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Micheal Fraser
Jun 05, 2010 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
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, mystery
Although Armand Gamache series is my favourite among the mystery genre The Brutal Telling is the first that got 5*. It checked all the right boxes but what finally made me to give it the top mark was the author's courage to make one of the most loved characters as top suspect .

Once again, I have to point out that this series has to be read in order so if you like crime fiction, which is a bit cosy but also dark try this series but from book 1.

I am not going to repeat the blurb, I will only writ
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada-crime
4 stars for book 5 in the Armand Gamache mystery series. This book would work as a stand alone, but it does help to read them in order, as I am doing. In this book, a body is found in the bistro/antique store run by Olivier and Gabri, a gay couple. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the the Surete homicide squad, based in Montreal, is called in along with his team. He and his team start investigating, uncovering secrets and lies. They soon have several suspects. Gamache does solve the crime, but ...more
“Fear more than anything was the thrust behind the knife, the fist. The blow to the head.”

This is the fifth outing of Penny’s much-loved and highly respected Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the head of homicide of Canada’s Sûreté du Québec. I’m always happy to return to Three Pines and immerse myself in village life with the characters I’ve come to know and enjoy.

Peter and Clara are a couple, artists who work separately, and she is on the brink of discovery and fame, which Peter envies. Gabri
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matt by: Marty Fried
Shelves: audiobook
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache makes another appearance in Louise Penny’s ongoing Canadian police procedural series. Things continue to get better as I binge my way through the well-developed novels, losing myself in the powerful narrative and peaceful setting. The calm nature of Three Pines is disrupted when a body is found within the town’s bistro. The owner, Olivier Brulé, is fingered as a potential suspect, but the evidence soon points in another direction. There’s no time to waste and the H ...more
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
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
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book in this great series. This is book five and I am becoming quite attached to all the characters, especially Armand Gamache himself of course. He always moves so quietly through each story, absorbing all the facts, gently managing his colleagues and eventually solving the crimes.
All our favourite residents of Three Pines popped up along the way and one featured in the worst possible manner. I cannot help thinking that something will happen in the next book to help this chara
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
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
Dec 21, 2016 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
The discovery of the body on the floor of Gabri and Olivier’s bistro was a dreadful shock to them, and the townsfolk of Three Pines. But when they realized he’d been murdered, they called the police. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team once again arrived in Three Pines to investigate a murder.

Secrets, lies, confusion, puzzles and treasure – all have Gamache scratching his head and trying to find the answers. But worse was to come before the final curtain – what would he find among the pe
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: "All of them? Even the children?' The fireplace sputtered and crackled and swallowed his gasp. 'Slaughtered?'


There was silence then. And in that hush lived all the things that could be worse than slaughter.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: 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
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several considered this novel dark. It is light! The mystery is identifying a victim. A resident knew the recluse and visited him on the key night. He was moved a couple of times but families under suspicion are new to readers. There is no emotional attachment, except a fantastic story with rescued horses. This is an interesting puzzle, dipping into famous treasures. Some must be gloomy about “The Brutal Telling” because a regular Three Pines resident was accused. So what? I wish one of my three ...more
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
4.5 stars

If there is only one mystery series you read, this should be it - that's how much I adore this series. This installment was the best one so far! And yet it was so sad at the end that I almost feel bad loving this book so much. I think the next book is almost a continuation of this one, so I will be picking it up sooner than later.
Lewis Weinstein
Louise Penny provides everything a fine detective story should have and much much more. This book breaks the bounds of the genre, as Inspector Gamache conducts a marvelous exploration of the mind of the criminal and the victim. There is also a serious break with the eclectic cast of the village of Three Pines that has fascinating implications for subsequent books in this series. Overall a great read.
Richard Derus
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This book was a decent read. I liked stories that focus on characterization. The author does this, but it is more the town I like that the main character. Not that there is anything wrong with Gamache- t's just that I see Hercule Poirot in my mind every time I read his description. I like Poirot, but Louise Penny is not Agatha Christie
For me, the magic in this series has always been the town itself. I love the setting of deeply frozen Canadian winters and murders among people that have known one
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first Inspector Gamache mystery by Louise Penny and I am hooked. I understand why so many readers have fallen in love with this series. I love the setting. I love the cast of characters. But above all, I love the writing. Penny has a gift for words. I love the stories within the story. I loved how phrases, such as beyond the pale, Hungry Ghost, and brutal telling, were threaded throughout the narrative. I equally loved the prominence of poetry and art. I found the Cesar cipher fascinating. Th ...more
joyce g
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three Pines is lovely , dark and deep.
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
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was the 6th book in the inspector Armand Gamache series ( I read one out of order and was chastised by a friend). I have enjoyed every book immensely. The village of Three Pines is such an idyllic setting and contrasts nicely with a murder. I always have the feeling I am coming home when I begin a Penny book. Such good friends, such great food and wine. The Brutal Telling was all that and more. It is my favorite to date.
This was a difficult book for me in the Armand Gamache series. I did not enjoy the direction that the story went at all. Gamache and his crew are all wonderful, but some of the dark belly of Three Pines comes to light. One of my favorites in the village is accused of something horrid. This was painful.
Feb 17, 2015 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
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, audiobook

I cannot even with the ending of this one. I went back to Three Pines, Canada to visit a murder of a hermit man whose body is left in Olivier's bistro. Saved horses, the old Hadley house being replaced by a spa, and Ruth's duck Rosa makes an ending appearance. Oh! And the murder clues lean towards first edition books including Charlotte's Web and a web with a word in it. I loved those little throwbacks to a classic that I wear close to my he
Oct 13, 2016 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
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**Spoiler Alert** What is "Woo"? 12 772 May 07, 2021 07:38AM  
Play Book Tag: The Brutal Telling / Louise Penny - 3.5*** 1 6 Feb 28, 2021 10:44AM  
The Three Pines: The Brutal Telling #5 4 46 Jun 26, 2019 04:32AM  
Penny Pushers: Chapters 1 - 4 16 30 Mar 05, 2018 05:18AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #42 The Brutal Telling 1 3 Jul 29, 2016 07:30AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #67 - The Brutal Telling (Gamache #4) 1 5 May 21, 2015 02:45AM  

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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 (seven 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 ...more

Other books in the series

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (1 - 10 of 17 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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