Google+ Followers

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: 'The Brutal Telling'

In honor of Louise Penny's Anthony win at Bouchercon this week for her brilliant novel, here is my review of it from last year:

By Louise Penny
Crime fiction
October 2009
Minotaur Books
ISBN: 978-0-312-37703-8

Three Pines, setting of Louise Penny's enjoyable, thoroughly Canadian series, has been a bit like Brigadoon. Not many people seem to find it or recognize its original beauty once there.

But those who do discover Three Pines have gloried in their personal journeys, secure that they are living in a place where they are valued for being their eccentric, quirky selves. Although there have been murders on a scale to rival Cabot Cove, the cast of continuing characters has been safe.

Until now.

Olivier, half of a beloved gay couple whose bistro is the community center of Three Pines, is not at home when the story opens. He is deep in the woods, listening to a frightening old tale told by an old hermit.

In the next chapter, a body is found in the middle of the night in the bistro.

Who is the victim, why was he killed, why was he in the bistro? And what about Marc and Dominique Gilbert, who haved moved to Three Pines to breathe new life into the brooding house that has cast such a dark shadow over the village? Will their tourist-attracting plans intefere with the pleasant life that Olivier and Gabri have made for themselves?

Surete Chief Inspector Gamache arrives back in his favorite place that is not his home to see just what is going on. Wonders and heartache await as secrets are revealed and carefully constructed facades crumble.

Every novel in this enchanting series has been gradually more complex, delving deeper into the hearts of its characters even as the author plays exceedingly fair in the whodunit puzzle that drives the narrative. In The Brutal Telling, Louise Penny paints a devastatingly acute portrait of her beloved characters. She shows all they are capable of, both good and evil, in a story that demonstrates how subtly layered a crime fiction
novel can be. This book is simply a treasure.

© 2010 All Rights Reserved Reviews at CompuServe Books and reprinted with permission


  1. Hello,
    I found your site through the marvelous @johnnie_cakes on twitter. I have loved the Louise Penny series since meeting her at Malice Domestic when she won the Agatha. I am thrilled her latest won the Anthony. Great series! Great review!
    Helen Ellis

  2. Thank you, Helen. A new Louise Penny book is a highlight of my reading calendar!

  3. I loved this book, and am hoping to read her latest one soon as well.

  4. Her latest one won't disappoint, either. My review of Bury Your Dead is posted below this reprinted review.

  5. LOL on the Cabot Cove comparison. I have been meaning to start this series since .... well forever.

  6. Oh do start it sometime. The first two were a bit on the cozy side, but the characters and what makes them tick grow more layered. The last two books were as psychologically astute as any lit fiction.