Day 314: The Brutal Telling

Cover for The Brutal TellingI was unable to judge the difficulty of this mystery because I read its sequel first and therefore knew how the mystery would be solved. The other Louise Penny books are not quite so dependent upon sequence, but I suggest that you read The Brutal Telling before Bury Your Dead, if at all possible.

That being said, I still found the novel to tell a compelling story.

A body is discovered in the bistro/antique shop of the small village of Three Pines. The bistro owners, Gabby and Olivier, are appalled but also confused. No one knows who the man is or where he lives. At least they say they don’t, but the reader knows from the first that Olivier knows more about the man than he is saying.

Inspector Gamache and his team quickly determine that the victim was not killed in the bistro. Soon, they find a cabin deep in the woods that apparently belongs to the man, apparently a hermit. They are amazed to find it stuffed with priceless antiques, first edition books, and treasures from Europe thought to have disappeared during World War II. Gamache begins wondering how Olivier has made such a success of the antiques side of his business. And where did Olivier, or for that matter, the victim, come from in the first place?

Louise Penny’s novels always have more going on in them than the mystery. The setting of the small village is beautiful. The characters are interesting, and we learn more about them with each visit. Gamache is warm and perceptive. As always, I think the covers of the paperback editions should win a prize for most beautiful artwork.