Gamache Goes Abroad – The Brutal Telling

Off to Greece this week, with the cover of The Brutal Telling as envisioned by our Greek colleagues. There’s clearly a stark difference between the two cover treatments: while we chose to emphasize the fall season in our jacket approach, they focus on traditional mystery elements. 

With the silhouette of a raven, their cover puts the reader in the mind of Edgar Allen Poe, and immediately suggests something sinister is afoot. In contrast, the US jacket focuses on the vibrant fall foliage of Canada, with only the darkness at the edges to symbolize danger.

Both jackets, however, speak to the untamed landscape that Chief Inspector Gamache must navigate to solve the crime. 

Which cover do you think best fits the story?

If you were designing a new cover, which elements of the book would you choose to highlight?

Discussion on “Gamache Goes Abroad – The Brutal Telling

  1. Connie Jaworski says:

    My first reaction was I liked the ominous nature of the Greek cover. No mistaking it, this is going to be brutal. But, the longer I looked at the two covers, the more sinister the the U.S. cover seemed. The beautiful, rich colors of the Canadian autumn juxtaposed with the title becomes unsettling. What brutal telling is hidden beneath those trees?

  2. Louise Burton says:

    I prefer the Canadian/American version of the cover as it does evoke the fall season in which the story takes place. Seasons are a big part of Louise’s books and paying tribute by adding some of that to the cover makes the book that much more enticing, taking us back to three Pines. I agree that a little cabin in a corner would enhance add some mystery. With the showing of fall leaves one can almost smell the smoke in the air, see the trees with the colourful leaves around Three Pines, hear their crunch underfoot and feel the change in seasons. Time for me to re-read this book.

  3. Linda says:

    This is a tough call. The Greek cover catches the ominousness we feel all through the story; the English-language cover, to me, depicts the confusion in our minds (as the author skilfully steers us toward the wrong conclusions concerning the victim and his visitor). On a bookshelf, the autumn leaves would probably appeal to me more, but whatever the cover, the name of the author is the biggest drawing point.

  4. Christine Mikulice says:

    The Greek one. I think the starkness of the Raven is interesting and foreshadows Danger.

  5. Fran says:

    The Greek cover is just sparse and ugly.

  6. Sylvia says:

    Canadian for me – the other is too creepy

  7. Steve Doyal says:

    It doesn’t really matter. If it says Louise Penny on the cover I’m going to be drawn to it.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Although I like the Canadian version better, I really like @Michele H’s idea of a dark foreboding forest even better.

  9. Sharon says:

    Having grown up in the very far south of Florida, I must admit that I never take the physical characteristics of each season to heart. I view the season to be as much a character as the human ones. It is so vital for setting the mood of the story. Especially in this book, autumn, for me, symbolized the fall of one of the characters and changing times and relationships. I, too, prefer the American/Canadian version, although I love Poe!

  10. Pat Thibodeau says:

    I prefer the Canadian cover — it reminds me of the setting of Three Pines but how under all that rural beauty there can be brutality. However, the Greek cover is haunting and I would be attracted to that as well.

    It is interesting to see how some of the treatments are much more literal in their interpretation of the content. I prefer the more abstract — perhaps haunting or intriguing cover designs.

  11. Denise says:

    Just finished the book. Left with more questions and urning to pick up next book for answers – hoping! I like the Greek version and now understand the Raven represents, although a very small aspect of Gamache’s visit to the Charolette Islands.
    If I were to design a book cover I would think about so many aspects of this book that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on just one. I picture an old printer’s drawer hung up and the camera focused on a portion. In each rectangle and square are different small objects that make the story whole – statue of a horse/moose, candlestick, fireplace, log cabin, one of the whittled carvings, and perhaps money for greed. Three pine trees and Canadian flag.

  12. Adele says:

    The reference to the raven on the Greek cover evokes Gamache’s visit to Haida, the Charlotte Islands, off BC. It’s pretty obscure to have been chosen as a focal point in my opinion, but I kinda get it. On the other hand, the densely packed fall trees shows me two things: that there are references in the story to how soon all the leaves will be changing, and that the forest can hold and hide so much that might actually be within reach. I go with the trees.

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