Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
A man's body has been found in the bistro of Three Pines village. No one knows who this man is, what he is doing in the village or who could have been involved in his death. Inspector Armand Gamache and his team descend on the village to discover what has happened and who is responsible.
Gamache and his team have been to Three Pines before and they know the people. There is Ruth, a famous poet who now is a bitter old woman who seems half mad. Olivier and Gabri are a gay couple that run the bistro. Myrna is a former psychologist who now runs a second-hand bookstore. The Parras are members of the refuge Czech settlement. Peter and Clare are artists, with Clare about to break out and become famous. The Gilberts are the newcomers in town. They have bought a ruined house above the village and are turning it into a luxury hotel and spa, a move that doesn't endear them to the village regulars.
As the case progresses, the team discovers that the man had lived as a hermit in the woods surrounding the village. No one there had known of his existence, except for the person who had supplied his needs. As the police investigate, his cabin yields marvels. It is full of heirlooms, true treasures from all over the world. These are marvelous items; items from the courts of Europe as well as fabulous art objects. How did this hermit come to have these treasures and who was he? The hermit himself was a gifted woodcarver and his mystery is solved as his sculptures are found and give up their clues about their creator.
Louise Penny is the most exciting find of the year for me. Her book is intricate and the plot is complex. Each character is fully developed, and the reader sees how each interacts with all those around them. As the book progresses, the reader discovers each person's strengths and their foibles, and how their characteristics have caused the events that have resulted in the murder. This book is recommended for mystery readers; especially those who enjoy authors such as Elizabeth George and P.D. James. This is an exquisite book.