Receiving Louise Penny's The Brutal Telling (An Armand Gamache Novel) as an advance copy (thank you Minotaur Press/St Martins Books and you too FTC) turned out to be one of those miracle reading moments, the ones when you don't really know what you're getting into and it turns out to be a great reading experience.
The Brutal Telling is the fifth in Penny's Three Pines/Chief Inspector Gamache series set in a tiny village in Quebec. A village that sounds so charming you would love to visit it - except for the fact that murders keep occurring there.
The Brutal Telling is about the murder of a hermit who lived up in the woods amongst some of the world's most valuable antiques. As far as the mystery goes, I pretty much figured out who-done-it from the very beginning. Obviously, what I liked so much about this book was not so much the mystery aspect, but the characters that populate these books such as Chief Inspector Gamache. He is one of those 'knowing' souls, he sees and hears things the rest of us pay no attention to. He is polite, well dressed and he loves good food. Oh does he ever! I loved, loved, loved, reading about all the tasty things these characters were eating all the time. For me this novel was more about the why? and what if? than the who.
Well, I liked this book so much that I immediately went looking for books 1-4. And I wanted to read them RIGHT NOW! But I managed to ration myself to just one, reading Penny's first book Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Three Pines Mysteries) and enjoying it immensely as well. This cleared up some the past history and relationships for me that I read about in book five and this time around, I wasn't so certain who the murderer was.
Now I am greedily holding on to books 2-4. I've decided to reward myself with book 2 when I go to the in-laws for Christmas. They're lovely people but Christmas there tends to be a bit....dull. It's handy to have a book to immerse yourself in. You know.