The Brutal Telling, Part 2

Recap (from Chapter 26 to the End)

Clara talks to Myrna about her incident with Fortin, and Myrna says she would have done nothing as well. Clara decides to talk with Gabri. Olivier says he didn’t kill the Hermit, but confesses that he found the Hermit dead in the cabin and moved the body to the Hadley house for Marc Gilbert to find. Gamache makes a trip to the cabin to look around before it’s cleaned out, and ponders who might have had motive to kill The Hermit. Vincent or Marc Gilbert, Roar or Havoc Parra. A casual look around the cabin reveals that several items all have one name in common, Charlotte.

Olivier attempts to talk to Gabri, but Gabri continues working on his preserves. Clara asks Peter what to do about Fortin, and Peter is slow to offer any advice. The next morning he tells Clara to speak to Fortin. Clara confronts Fortin, and just as Peter suspected he would, Fortin tells Clara he needs to reconsider her show.

Gamache gets help trying to decipher the codes on the bottom of The Hermit’s carvings and learns that several have been sold and are worth enough money to be a possible motive for murder. Once again, Olivier lied about what he did with the carvings The Hermit gave him. The word Woo and the prevalence of the name Charlotte lead Gamache to think of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Emily Carr spent time on the Queen Charlotte Islands painting and documenting totem polls, with carvings very similar to the carvings done by The Hermit. While speaking of Emily Carr, Clara mentions the concept of “the brutal telling.” Carr was estranged from her father, and later in life she said it was because her father had said something horrible and unforgivable to her. The brutal telling.

Garbi makes a trip up to the Hadley house to talk to the Gilberts. The visit doesn’t go well. Tensions are high as the group argues. Gabri explains how people come to Three Pines and find their niche, rather than moving in on someone else’s. He tries to apologize for Olivier’s actions. In an empty bistro, Gamache questions Olivier again about The Hermit and the carvings. Olivier admits to selling them online.

Gamache takes a trip to Queen Charlotte Island to see if that’s where The Hermit had come from. No one on the island knows him. Gamache strikes out, but a famous artist, Will Sommes, tells Gamache that the person who made the carvings was terrified. As he learns more about the island’s history, Gamache is certain that The Hermit spent time on the island, but no one can verify it for sure. It’s on the flight home that Gamache realizes how the carvings fit together.

Back in the Bistro, Gabri learns that Olivier has never told his father he is gay. When questioned about the order of the carvings, Olivier claims he doesn’t know the story they’re trying to tell. In a rare moment of frustration, Gamache pounds on the table and demands the truth. With more pushing, Olivier tells them that the Hermit’s name was Jakob, but Gamache doesn’t know much more about him. The Hermit came from Czechoslovakia just as the Berlin Wall fell, stored his treasures in Montreal, and moved them to the cabin once it was built. Olivier says that The Hermit was telling him the story of the carvings, but never finished the story, and Olivier has never seen the final carving.

As the officers meets at the B & B, they ponder the story the carvings are trying to tell, and The Hermit’s possible connections to the Czech community in Three Pines. Though they’ve asked many Czech families about the treasures found in the cabin, they’ve had no leads. Another trip to the Parras doesn’t turn up anything new. A search team tears apart the Bistro, and hidden in the fireplace is a sack and a Menorah, the murder weapon.

Olivier swears he didn’t kill Jakob. He spent time with Jakob, and had to go back when he realized he left the artifact he was given. When he returned, Jakob was dead. Olivier took the Menorah because it had his fingerprints all over it, and admitted that part of the reason he moved the body to the Hadley house was to stop the clearing of trails that would eventually lead to the cabin. Olivier took the Menorah and the sack with the last carving, and hid them in the fireplace of the bistro. Another revelation lets us know that Olivier was the one telling the story to Jakob. Olivier knew Jakob was afraid of something, so he made up a story to keep Jakob scared and isolated. Despite claiming that he didn’t kill Jakob, Olivier is arrested for the murder.

The key to the codes on the bottom of the carvings is the number 16. With the code, Gamache was able to learn that the words under them were Emily and Charlotte. Cracking the codes still doesn’t offer any insight into their meaning.

Vincent Gilbert decides to stay in Three Pines and live in Jakob’s cabin, Clara is contacted by Therese Brunel, and has hope that her art show might still happen. Gamache is confronted by Gabri again, trying to explain that Olivier couldn’t have murdered Jakob. As the book closes, we see Ruth’s duck Rosa take to the sky and fly away. Gabri is with Ruth to comfort her as they watch the duck go.


Bury Your Dead was the first book release I experienced at Murder By The Book, and every customer wanted to know if Louise was going to fix what she did in The Brutal Telling. I think that’s a beautiful testament to the world that she created. The citizens of Three Pines have become like family to us all, and with The Brutal Telling we learn some things about our family that we really didn’t want to know. There’s no way to fix it. A Rule Against Murder changed the series because we were taken out of Three Pines, but The Brutal Telling changes the series because it changes Three Pines.

We’re left in a place of transition. Olivier is in jail, Gabri is still convinced he didn’t do it, and even Ruth’s pet duck has left.

It seems dire, but I think Louise left us with some hope. I love the tender moment between Ruth and Gabri as Rosa takes flight. We see hope is Gamache’s patience with Gabri, and we’re left with some hope that Clara might still have her art show.

When I think of this book, the image in my head is always of Gabri and his preserves. Louise so perfectly captures that need to complete some task in order to have some control in the chaos. Part of the beauty of the series is the way Louise just nails those very human moments.

Favorite Quote

“Every surface of the kitchen was packed with colorful jars filled with jams and jellies, pickles and chutneys. And it looked as though Gabri would keep this up forever. Silently preserving everything he could.”

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think Peter was purposely trying to sabotage Clara with his advice?

2. We see Gamache get visibly angry with Olivier, and he’s usually so collected. How did it make you feel? Why do you think Gamache lost his cool?

3. How have the events of The Brutal Telling changed your opinion of Olivier? Do you think he did it? (Remember, no spoilers from Bury Your Dead.)

4. What do you think was Olivier’s brutal telling? Do you think any of his lies were unforgivable in the eyes of Three Pines? Was Peter’s advice to Clara about the art show a brutal telling?

5. Gamache says that he doesn’t believe Olivier is a murderer, but that he does believe Olivier has killed. Do you agree with his distinction?

John KwiatkowskiJohn Kwiatkowski is a reader, theatergoer, and music lover living in Houston with his husband and 2 cats. He is the Publicity Manager at Murder By The Book in Houston, TX, and has been a bookseller for eleven years (seven years at Borders, four at Murder By the Book).

Discussion on “The Brutal Telling, Part 2

  1. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    #1 Do you think Peter was purposely trying to sabotage Clara with his advice?
    I just cannot trust Peter to have Clara’s best interest in mind. He is so filled with envy. Any love he feels for her is squelched when confronted with her talent. He fears her talent will bring her more acclaim than his has earned him.

    • Julie says:

      John, you’ve summed up the conclusion of this book so beautifully. Bravo! You have obviously captured the nuance that Louise has given us, and it will help us to discuss the rest of the book. I loved and dreaded this book. I loved really getting to see the people of Three Pines with their “hair down”. We’ve seen Olivier with warts and all, now. Do we still love him? Will the other people in Three Pines still love him? And whose heart didn’t break when Rosa “rose up” and flew away? So very sad.

      • Susan Mulanax says:

        it’s interesting that you dreaded this book. When I reread them all the first time I avoided this one because of the hurt. However I did recently reread it and enjoyed it immensely! I guess knowing what was going to happen on the future helped.

        • Julie says:

          Same for me, Susan. I dreaded it, but then, as I got into it, I really enjoyed it. In many ways, it’s a favorite, but I seem to think that of every one of Louise’s books!

        • Eva says:

          Julie, I was dreading this one, too, because I remember being so disturbed the first time that I read it. Now, after my second reading, though, I have a very different perspective. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book this time. I think it was a necessary storyline to fully flesh out the characters more. I won’t say it is my favorite in the series, but it is no longer “the one that I didn’t like.”

      • Lizzy says:

        He sure did!

      • Ruth says:

        I have to ditto your response.

    • Linda says:

      I agree. Peter does not have Clara’s best interests in mind. He’s too busy being a wounded child.

      • Margaret says:

        Peter is exactly that, a wounded child. All of us probably know at least one person who simply cannot put their childhood wounds behind, cannot “grow up” even though, I think, Peter would like to. We saw his terrible family in “A Rule Against Murder” and can understand his hurt, but oh, why oh why does he keep punishing Clara, whom he loves? Again, it is childlike, the behavior of a teen, usually a younger one, full of hormones and rage and terror that we just aren’t “right” — but most of us, thankfully, outgrow that stage.
        I think Peter is central to these stories, even when he’s not playing a major role. He and Jean Guy — different, but a sameness. Feelings, as Louise says, locked inside, leaking every now and then when something causes a crack in the wall.

  2. Linda Maday says:

    I agree, Barbara. Peter hesitated understanding, perhaps, that Clara would even decide to confront Fortin on her own. But it was almost like he wanted just a little assurance, so he gave her just that little nudge — she was already so close to the edge. Who would ever know HE had pushed her over? Not even Clara noticed, she was so intent on defending her friend Gabri!

  3. Julie says:

    Do you think Peter was purposely trying to sabotage Clara with his advice? No, I don’t. But I don’t think he was really trying to help her, either. I think he really didn’t know what would help and what wouldn’t. I’m very sure he WANTED to help her, even that he TRIED to help her, but he is so little in touch with himself that he just can’t see his way. I do think he tried. I also think that his jealousy of Clara will not allow him to act as he should. Has he really been a loving husband as long as Clara showed no signs of the great talent that is rising up now? Or has Clara been asleep and is about to awaken? I really think it’s the latter. And God help him, Peter is in for some trouble!

    While talking about this book, I’ve been re-reading (yet again) A Fatal Grace. My husband and I read a book together every night, and this is our current book – it’s his first time through – he loves Ruth! Just last night I read a bit where Clara is reading from CC’s book and talking about what hogwash her advice is to keep your emotions bottled up. Peter secretly thought that this was good advice – which, of course, should have been noted by me, the first few times I read it, but wasn’t.

    • kb says:

      I believe that Peter was trying to sabotage Clara. His belief that keeping feelings bottled up was good advice supports this. Instead of urging her to do what he thought was safe, he urged her to tell Fortin how his comment had hurt, angered, disappointed. He expected Fortin to react in the way he did.
      However, I’m not sure that Clara wouldn’t have done it again. It seems to me that supporting a friend is more important to her than personal success. (Not to say that she wouldn’t take both.)

    • Lizzy says:

      I love that line Penny wrote about Peter: “His heart beat for Clara every hour of every day. But every now and then it stumbled.”

  4. Michele says:

    #1 I do think that Peter intentionally sabotaged Clara’s work, and I agree that there is envy there. But could it also be fear of losing her? I think Peter has absolutely no sense of self-worth, and when you have no confidence in yourself, you don’t have any in anybody else, either. Maybe he fears Clara growing beyond him.

    • Julie says:

      I think that’s a good point, Michele. It’s hard to imagine Peter as being thoroughly bad – there IS some good in him, though he tries to keep so much feeling stifled that it must be hard for him to even get out of bed every day! I think he genuinely loves Clara and that he would be lost without her, but then again, is that love, or neediness? It’s certainly not a healthy love. He’s like a child in so many ways, and Clara has grown so used to taking care of him. When she needs some advice like this, I truly think he is just lost as to what to do. And I DO think he is trying to do better after the incident with his trying to sabotage the painting in the first place.

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Good point. Peter is so very needy that he would be afraid of Clara growing beyond him. Many times one spouse “grows beyond” the other. This is seen when one earns higher degrees, becomes better known, not necessarily known on a national or world level. Even local recognition can be seen as a threat. It would be very frightening to be insecure and see the spouse you love on a path that might lead her or him away from you.

  5. kb says:

    2. Gamache’s anger with Olivier. The anger makes sense. Gamache had established a friendship with the villagers, including Olivier. It was disappointing to see how much Olivier kept hidden and how many lies he told. It was disappointing that Olivier didn’t know Gamache enough to know that his lies would be revealed. It was frustrating that Olivier chose to continue lying. It was frustrating that Olivier didn’t trust Gamache enough to believe that it would be better to tell the truth. If Gamache didn’t care about Olivier, he wouldn’t have become angry. He wouldn’t have cared. And the irony is that, had Olivier told the truth from (near) the outset, had what he said been verified, rather than disproven, Gamache might have been more inclined to believe him when he said he hadn’t killed the Hermit.

    • Julie says:

      KB, you have it exactly the way I think it is! Gamache is, of course, angry at Olivier for being so stupid as to lie, lie, lie. Heck, I was angry with Olivier by about the third set of lies! After the first two murder investigations in Three Pines, everyone in the village (well, at least all the ones we have come to know) must have known that Gamache and his team would find out. Why is it he keeps lying? It’s not really reasonable to think that he could have kept something hidden. It WILL all come out – and if he really had told the truth from the outset, I agree that he probably wouldn’t have been arrested for the murder. All through this, I just think of poor Gabri, saying “Oh, Olivier!” over and over as each new lie is exposed and Olivier is shown to be so very greedy and unfeeling. I think I felt Gabri’s heart break over and over again.

      • Jane F says:

        KB and Julie, I agree about Gamache and his anger at Olivier’s constant lying. In a way I think Olivier got caught up in his lies, beginning with the first one, at least that we know of in this book, of not knowing who the hermit was after Myrna discovered the body in the bistro. {BTW, that would make a great title for a mystery novel! :-)}
        I don’t think Olivier thought about the consequences of his frequent lying until Gamache got angry and confronted him about all the lies, and by that time, it was like the boy who cried wolf–he’d told so many lies that by the time he did tell the truth, it wasn’t believable, coming from him. I also agree that Gamache is angry with Olivier precisely because he has considered O. to be a friend, and who expects a friend to continually lie to him? Also in Gamache’s experience, the people who lie to the police over and over do so because they have something to hide, namely that they are guilty of a crime. (The corollary being that innocent people do not need to lie). By Olivier continuing his lies to the police, he just digs a hole deeper and deeper. My heart also really broke for Gabri as he discovered all the dishonest things Olivier had done, starting with removing the body of the hermit and taking it to the Hadley house in order to put suspicion on Marc. That in itself is horrible, not only because he was willing to treat the body of the hermit in such a disrespectful way, but that he was willing to let someone else take the blame for killing the hermit. I don’t think, if Marc had called the police after finding the body at his home, and been arrested for the murder, that Olivier would have come forward to confess that he had placed the body there. While it’s a delicious bit of irony that Marc does to Olivier the same as Olivier had done to him, it’s stunning to think that if Marc hadn’t done so, he would surely have been blamed for killing the hermit. Whoever originated the saying that “What a web we weave, when first we practice to deceive,” surely had someone like Olivier in mind.

  6. kb says:

    3. How has this book changed my opinion of Olivier? Do I think he did it? I was very disappointed in Olivier. I thought of him as being brave and principled in “Still Life”, based on the first impression: kissing Gabri’s manure stained hand in the face of the hate of the group of teenaged boys. I did not see him as consumed by greed. I did not see him as a liar or a manipulator. The Brutal Telling made me see Olivier as tormented, fragile, fallible. Greedy. And wanting to dodge responsibility (and judgement) at all costs.
    Do I think he did it? I didn’t like thinking that he could have done it, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go. There were no other suspects who made sense. And I trusted that Gamache wouldn’t arrest the wrong man. (Still Life said he wouldn’t….at least not knowingly, and all of the books in the series said that he was conscientious and brilliant.)

    • Julie says:

      This book DID change my opinion of Olivier. No, I don’t think he did it. I think we all found out together the magnitude of his greed. Before this, I, too, thought that Olivier was principled and honest. I thought the price tags on everything was a cute and clever way to combine two businesses, not a sign of greed. We all have to make a living, and this was a way to sell antiques without working very hard at that part. I have to admit, I thought Olivier was like Gabri, in that he preferred not to work too hard – that was wrong, of course – he actually works very hard in the Bistro – I forgot that you can’t run a restaurant without hard work. And Olivier was most often the chef, as well as the manager/owner of the Bistro. Finding out that he also owned a lot of real estate in Three Pines also says he works hard and is a shrewd businessman. A lazy man wouldn’t take things to the next level, as he seemed to do. And a lazy man wouldn’t travel to people’s homes, to buy their antiques, even when he thought they wouldn’t have anything of value. Olivier actually hustles to make money – which I really hadn’t seen before. And none of those things would make me think he was overtly greedy except, perhaps, when he took advantage of the elderly widow who sold him all her furniture, and then, of course, what we were finding out about what he took from the hermit for a few groceries.

      So, yes, I was surprised to find out these things about Olivier – and my feelings about him changed. I see him now as seriously flawed. At least as seriously flawed as Peter. I don’t think he’s guilty of murder, though. I think he was propelled by his greed to do some awful, awful things, but not that.

      • Julie says:

        I need to add, too, that one of the most awful things he did was move the body and dump it in the new Inn’s vestibule. This shocked me. After you see others being so respectful of the dead, such as Lacoste’s speaking to them, to reassure them that they will find who did this to them, to the rituals that the women of Three Pines do – the smudging and tying ribbons on the sticks… it’s awful to see someone treat the body of someone who just a few hours ago was a living, breathing, person who called himself your friend! To see him just see the body as a “thing” – that was the thing I have the most trouble with. Greed – eh – lots of people are greedy – it’s almost a natural growth out of scrambling to have enough. But desecration of a body? That’s horrible.

      • Jane says:

        I do think Penny is consistent about Gabri being greedy. It’s mentioned several times in previous books. The first time I read this book I thought it was a change in Gabri, but I really think that she established this as part of his character. As far as the question of murder or of killing….that’s a legal distinction that we gloss over frequently when we speak about someone taking another’s life. Not all killing is murder.

        • Linda Maday says:

          Don’t you mean Olivier? Gabri is so giving.

        • Julie says:

          Yes, in previous books, Olivier is described once or twice as “greedy”, but in passing, and usually, in jest. We couldn’t possibly know the depth of the greed from what’s been said before, when we compare it to his actions. He’s clearly kind, friendly, and an upstanding citizen of Three Pines. The actual reveal comes as quite a shock! As usual – there are hints beforehand, which, if we had known then what we know now, would be very telling.

      • Linda says:

        Sorry, but I disagree about Olivier’s being as seriously flawed as Peter. Olivier’s flaw has to do with greed. Peter’s has to do with hurting or maiming the person he allegedly loves. Olivier would never do that to Gabri.

        • Julie says:

          Linda, yes, Olivier didn’t mean to hurt Gabri, like Peter did, but he DID hurt Gabri, terribly. First, by just his actions, but second, by leaving. If he hadn’t acted as he did, he wouldn’t have been arrested, and he wouldn’t have left. Gabri is inconsolable without Olivier, and even though we might think – “But he didn’t do it!” and “It’s so unfair”, Olivier is still the reason he got arrested – his lies actually disrupted and thwarted the investigation. He could have been arrested just for obstruction of justice. So, I think he DID hurt Gabri.

          I also think he hurt the hermit so badly – even without the killing. That was a pretty awful thing to do – to scare someone so much that they don’t dare leave their house…

      • Michele says:

        I absolutely adore Gabri’s character, but I ask myself, how innocent is he, really? No, I don’t believe that he knew anything about Olivier’s stealing, but surely he wondered from time to time about the expense of things. The B&B, in my mind, is the answer to Gabri’s need to nurture (I have no idea of same-sex partner laws in Canada). He’s said it himself, he doesn’t really want a lot of customers. He just seems to want to take care of friends, and he does that beautifully. But the loss in profit has to come from somewhere. I think Gabri’s perhaps subconscious determination to ignore finances is a common thing, but unfair to Olivier.

        • Julie says:

          True – and it could definitely be said that this caused Olivier to be even more anxious to earn money – because he had to not only support himself and Gabri, but also the B and B.

          • Cathryne Spencer says:

            I think Gabri would have been happy with whatever they had. When Olivier calls their earlier home “…that dump of an apartment, ” Gabri says, ” I fixed it up.” I think he was sincerely proud of fixing it up. Gabri would have been fine without the B & B, with just what they could afford and do themselves. They are both smart, talented people.

          • Julie says:

            Cathryne – yes, I agree, that Gabri would have been happy with whatever they had. It’s Olivier who wouldn’t have, and seeing that Gabri was not going to work very hard at making a go of the B and B just put more on his shoulders. It’s not that Gabri put it there – Olivier did it to himself, but he did feel the pressure to make up for what the B and B lost.

          • Linda Maday says:

            I don’t believe Gabri put any added weight on Olivier. Olivier was every bit as greedy and determined to make money before he even met Gabri. Olivier LIKES making money.

  7. Meg R says:

    The first time we hear this expression is in relation to the artist Emily Carr. Supposedly she cut her family ties when her father produced a “brutal telling.” Gamache and L. Penny pick up the term later on in the novel. I’m not really sure or clear about just what this expression means – i.e. – ?being brutally honest about telling a truth? An actual truth or what is assumed to be the truth by the teller? We’re never given access to what Carr’s father said. I know that Ms. Penny chose this expression for this book – and am a bit puzzled by it. Anyone have any insight about what is meant or intended by use of this term?

    • Michele says:

      “The Brutal Telling” – For me (and I think there are several brutal tellings in this book), in regard to what I said above about Gabri and for Clara herself, is facing some hard truths about themselves. They have been fooling themselves about their relationships and they’ve failed to see their partners going down for the third time. It would be very easy to picture them as the victims in their situations, but self-honesty is called for in order to have any hope of moving forward.

    • Linda Maday says:

      To me, I quite believe the brutal telling is to us, the readers as we learn the sometimes brutal truth about the characters we have come to know — only not so well as we thought.

      • Michele says:

        Well said, Linda. I was just thinking that authors frequently kill a character off to shake up the reader, to change the world, a number of reasons. But to take a character that the author has so carefully built into this very loveable person and to turn him over and show his not-so-loveable sides to us … that takes real courage on the part of the writer. Skill, as well, for it to be believable.

      • LeaDee Miller says:

        I feel the Brutal Telling is when we face the truth about ourselves. Some people can have a false front to show other people but when the darkness falls, its within ourselves we face the brutal telling.

  8. kb says:

    4. Olivier’s brutal telling. Maybe Olivier’s brutal telling was from the actions of his parents (father). “You aren’t good enough for me to care to know you.” Olivier’s father chose not to know him before Olivier started hiding who he was. I don’t think that Peter’s advice to Clara is the brutal telling – I think it is all of the “it needs more” or maybe “it needs less” are the brutal telling. The accumulation of thousands of nit-picking comments, eating away at her self-confidence.

    • Julie says:

      Meg – I’m like you in that I have trouble figuring this out. There are so many things. I think KB is on the right track with what Olivier’s father said to him – that definitely parallels whatever Emily Carr’s father might have said. I have to think that these things have such an impact on us, that only the strongest among us can rise up and not be crushed by them. But I think it’s also the story that Olivier tells to the hermit. That was done with brutality. It’s an awful story, meant to keep the hermit “caged” in his home – afraid to go out. At the same time, I think the story, which Olivier seemed to be just making up out of thin air, also scared him a little. I think he might have been getting a glimpse into his dark soul with that story, and he didn’t like it. I also think that one aspect of the Brutal Telling for Olivier is when Gamache tells him that he is arrested. That there is overwhelming evidence that shows he must have done it. When he talks to Olivier, Gamache is angry – he didn’t tell him of the arrest as gently as he might have done someone else who had not thwarted him with lies at every turn.

      I think, in the end, that The Brutal Telling is, for Olivier all these things, and the lies he told.

  9. Julie says:

    Gamache says that he doesn’t believe Olivier is a murderer, but that he does believe Olivier has killed. Do you agree with his distinction? I do. I think that Gamache has the opinion that Olivier got carried away by his greed and his fear that the hermit was about to discover that there was no chaos on the way in the outer world, and that he acted in the heat of the moment. It’s why he made sure Olivier was charged with manslaughter instead of murder. I think that this is a distinction that makes some sense. It’s why the law provides for degrees of homicide. First or second degree murder. Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. These are all gradations of something that result in the same thing – someone’s life being taken by another.

    I think, in the end, that Gamache truly believes that Olivier killed the hermit. And I think this bothers him, because he knows Olivier did not have murder in his heart. Still, small consolation to the dead person.

    • Jane F says:

      I agree, Julie. That distinction is important in a court of law, but not really to the person killed. He or she is still dead at the hands of another person, whether or not that person planned to do harm ahead of time or not. It is of some consolation for Gamache to believe that Olivier did not go to the cabin that fateful night intending to kill the hermit, but for the hermit, the end result is still that someone took his life away from him.

  10. Elina says:

    It is as if the village is in a state of flux exacerbated by Peter’s envy, Oliver and Gabriel, and finally Ruth’s duck!

  11. Terry says:

    I seem to have much more faith in Clara’s ability to see Peter and understand him. And I really don’t understand this need to constantly condemn him out of hand. I think Peter struggled with what to advise Clara about Fortin because Peter knew Clara needed to be honest about her friendships even if it meant lost opportunity, but he is also aware of his own insecurity and had to examine his conscience to ne sure he wasn’t purposely sabotaging her. I cannot believe anyone reading about Clara could think she would do anything other than talk to Fortin honestly. Come what may. And I think Peter knows that.

  12. Nancy says:

    Just noting here that I am doing the Gamache series re-read and loving it. My first read was of library books. This time I bought e-books and had to wait until my finances allowed. Now I have the books I have had some difficulty reining myself in, though I tried, so am reading The Beautiful Mystery.

    Sorry I don’t take part in the discussions, but I have read most of the comments. Thanks for the insight and much material to mull over.

    I found the Emily Carr bits very interesting and also wondered what her father told her that was so awful she couldn’t tell anyone. That happens, sometimes, that a person with brute sensibilities will say something that is so horrible that we can’t confide in anyone and I’ve seen this happen when it’s something that involves another person- such as the comment Fortin made about Gabri. Bad enough that Clara heard it, but how hard was it to share with anyone else. And there are worse things said, or that can be. It really is cowardly to hurl remarks that way. As we discover later, Fortin had a hidden agenda, quite calculating and horrible, really. I think Clara did the right thing by confronting Fortin, for the right reasons, no matter Peter’s motives.

    I will say that I am enjoying the series more the second time than the first and I have been a huge fan right from the first chapter of the first book of the series.

  13. Dennis says:

    Being of Czech descent, I was happy with the resolution of this book.

  14. Katie says:

    No doubt in my mind that Peter was trying to sabotage Clara’s psyche when he advised her to confront Fortin. Peter is like someone with a dual personality because he does appreciate Clara but he also wants to see her fail, which is not being supportive. So is it love or is it a need to have her there to do things for him. The word childish has been used to describe Peter and I would agree that he is childish but it is a childish selfishness he displays whereas Clara displays a childish naivete. She is not sure of herself which makes it easy for Peter to take advantage of her.

    Olivier has always seemed to be a good guy and not the sort to commit murder. We don’t believe he is the murderer and yet more and more the evidence points to him as the one who did the deed. I was not surprised when Gamache lost his cool with Olivier because I could see it coming. Gamache desperately wanted the truth from Olivier, feeling that Olivier knew more than he was telling. Even when Gamache arrested Olivier for the murder, you could see that he wasn’t totally convinced. He just didn’t have the evidence to do otherwise.

    So what was the brutal telling? I am not sure but it seems to me that what Peter told Clara was quite brutal given the results.

  15. Lizzy says:

    Everyone has so thoughtfully answered the questions that I”ll mostly be echoing what all has been said! I love doing the re-reads as there is so much I don’t remember. Also I love seeing the new insights I missed the first time.

    . Do you think Peter was purposely trying to sabotage Clara with his advice?

    Poor Peter has such a battle with his good/evil twins! He does want to, but then I think deep down inside he doesn’t. He is jealous and fearful. He is insecure and lacks self confidence. I think if the tables were turned he would not have defended Olivier as he’s weak and a coward.

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