Book Review: The Brutal Telling

(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #5)
10.03.2017 (first published 09.22.2009) | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars


Olivier’s Bistro is practically a landmark in Three Pines. The local villagers go there to meet with friends and neighbors over a delicious meal and drinks. The summer tourists stop by to feel at home with the always welcoming staff. This picture perfect setting is shattered when a body is found early one morning in the bistro. The mysterious body belongs to a man no one has seen before, or at least that’s the story everyone is telling. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team are called on the case to solve not only who murdered this man, but who he actually was and how he ended up in Three Pines.

Chaos had found Three Pines. It was bearing down upon them and all that was safe and warm and kind was about to be taken away.

As Gamache follows the trail of sparse clues left behind, he uncovers the history of how several villagers came to call Three Pines home. There are revelations about the new owners of the Hadley House, the surprisingly large Czech community living in Three Pines, Olivier, and the dead man, now known as the Hermit. With each set of people being investigated, new information comes to light that simultaneously makes the case more confusing and leads to answers not everyone wants to hear. Can Gamache discover the real identity of the Hermit, along with who and why he was murdered?

This case didn’t begin with the blow to the head. It started years ago, with another sort of blow. Something happened to our murderer, something we might consider insignificant, trivial even, but was devastating to him. An event, a snub, an argument that most people would shrug off. Murderers don’t. They ruminate; they gather and guard resentments, And those resentments grow. Murders are about emotions. Emotions gone bad and gone wild.

Louise Penny and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache are back at it again in the fifth installment of this series. After taking a brief hiatus in book four, we’re back in Three Pines for another murder. This time the body has been found in one of the town’s most beloved establishments and one of my favorite villagers is at the center of the crime. Penny certainly had me going around and around with hunches as to whodunit with this case. One of my favorite aspects about this series is the way Penny unravels the characters featured. Some you receive only small glimpses of their lives and others you learn their whole backstory. No matter how much information she gives me, I always feel the connection and want to know more, despite how minor the character might be to the plot. I have to say that the ending was not my favorite, but I am hopeful that some of the storylines will continue on in the next book.

If you’re looking to chat with other Louise Penny fans about the Inspector Gamache series, head over to the Penny Pushers Goodreads group and join in!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Brutal Telling

  1. I really enjoyed your review and it made me want to read the book for myself. The woodland setting of your photographs interspersed with excerpts from the book drew me in and I’m looking forward to your next post!

    Would you say that this book can be read as a stand-alone or is it better to start with the first in the series?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! ☺️ I really appreciate them! While I think you could read this as a stand-alone, I really recommend starting from the beginning with Still Life. You’ll have so much more background for the characters that way and pick up on the subtle nods to previous books.


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