Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

Cover image from Amazon

As I read from Penny's mystery series, I grow ever fonder of Chief Superintendent Armand Gamache and his moody sidekick, Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir.

I have also grown familiar with the tiny village of Three Pines, near Montreal. With these officers of the Surete du Quebec, I travel back and forth from the city across the Jacques Cartier Bridge, investigating murder in this small artistic community.

With a sure touch, Louise Penny reveals her complex mysteries, told from the very different points of view not just of Gamache and Beauvoir, but of various other characters as well.

Penny enjoys describing art, artists and gallery people in her novels; in fact, Gamache's clever Surete superior, Therese Brunel, is a former curator of the Musee des Beaux Arts in Montreal, with an encyclopedic knowledge of art she gleaned before taking up her second career of sleuthing. (Conveniently, her husband Jerome is a code and puzzle expert.)

Still, this author seems to take a certain pleasure in skewering the Montreal gallery owners she has imagined into being. They are not very nice people; they bully and manipulate the artists whose work they represent, even as they make money off them.

This story has a British Columbia connection. In the course of investigating the murder of a Czech hermit, Gamache finds himself thinking about Emily Carr's monkey and travelling to Haida Gwaii.

I enjoyed this as an audio book, ably narrated by Ralph Cosham.

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