The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (#5 Armand Gamache)

The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Published: 2010



The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny is the 5th in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series (also known as the Three Pines Series).

There are a couple of story lines in this one.

New people have bought the Hadley house, planning on turning it into a spa retreat.  Their appearance has not been particularly welcomed in the town, especially by Gabri and Olivier, who may be afraid of the competition.  But the new people have their own quirks and skeletons, which may present some problems.

Then there is Clara, who has an upcoming exhibition of her artwork, thanks to Denis Fortin and his gallery.  But things become complicated when their opinions differ.

When Myrna finds a dead body in the bistro run by Gabri and Olivier, Gamache and his team are called to investigate.  No one admits to knowing the dead man.  Even when it becomes evident that the “Hermit” had been staying in a cabin in the woods, and had food brought to him, still no one comes forward.  Further investigations show that the cabin contained a wide variety of antique treasures – everything from first edition books, to a priceless violin, to dishes from Catherine the Great.  Yet no one admits to being aware of his presence.  But there are a lot of secrets, and the truth is not easily found in Three Pines.  One of the residents will test the bounds of friendship within the village, and with Gamache.  He may end up arresting a friend.

This one is about betrayal and trust.   Hard when lost, and harder yet to recover from.

I simply cannot get enough of this small town, or the characters who live there.  As well, Gamache and his team always delight.  This one did not have the typical happy ending I have grown to expect, but perhaps it had a realistic one.  After all, how can everything always be perfect when you are dealing with human beings.  They have faults, which are evident in this one.


Favorite Quotes from The Brutal Telling:

“Look, it’s a huge mistake to judge others by ourselves. One of the first things you learn with Chief Inspector Gamache is that other people’s reactions aren’t ours. And a murderer’s are even more foreign….And don’t ever think you know what someone else is thinking, never mind feeling.”

Gamache looked at the contents of his bowl.  He could make out canned peaches, bacon, cheese and Gummi Bears.  “They’re all the things I love,” said Ruth, smiling.

“One chair for solitude, two for friendship and three for society,” he said. “Walden.  How many would you need?”

Then, near the end of her life, she wrote to a friend.  In the letter she said that her father had said something to her.  Something horrible and unforgivable.” “The brutal telling.”

“It’s a Buddhist belief.  One of the states of man from the Wheel of Life.  The more you eat the hungrier you get.  It’s considered the very worst of the lives.  Trying to fill a hole that only gets deeper.  Fill it with food or money or power.  With the admiration of others. Whatever.”
“The Hungry Ghost,” said Gamache. “How horrible.”


Re-Read: December 2016


About the Author:  Louise Penny is a Canadian author, born in Toronto, but presently living outside of Montreal.   She was a journalist and radio host for CBC.  Her awards for writing keep coming.  Her beloved husband Michael Whitehead, the former head of Haematology at Montreal Children’s Hospital, passsed away in September of 2016.  He had dementia.







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