The Brutal Telling

by Louise Penny |

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REVIEWED BY ELLEN SHAPIRO

MYSTERY

Three Pines, a tiny Quebec village distinguished by its isolated beauty, world-class eccentrics and an alarming procession of murders, once again hosts the estimable Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he contemplates the intricacies of the criminal mind. This time around, a bludgeoned body has been found on the old pine floor of the town's very fine bistro. Everyone claims not to know the victim. But when the dead man's cabin is discovered deep in the forest and filled to the brim with priceless antiques and first editions, Gamache must face the possibility that one of the townsfolk is a killer. With an intricate, almost mythic plot, superb characters and rich, dark humor, Penny—a former journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation who has garnered multiple awards for the series' four previous novels—continues to deepen and modernize the traditional "village mystery." Her courtly, poetry-loving Inspector Gamache, who peers into suspects' souls over meals so mouthwatering you'll want to book a flight, contributes a humane and sophisticated perspective on human foibles. Here's hoping that Three Pines—a town as improbably intrigue-filled as Murder She Wrote's folksier Cabot Cove, Maine—continues to provide him with plenty of bodies.

Love and Summer

by William Trevor |

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REVIEWED BY VICK BOUGHTON

NOVEL

Set in an Irish town in the late '50s, Trevor's 14th novel is partly the story of an illicit affair: a dreamy young man seduces a farmer's wife one lush summer. But Trevor, an insightful, compassionate writer, gives seemingly less significant characters secret desires of their own: A secretary in love with her middle-aged employer lives for the glass of 7-Up he offers her each morning as they look over the books; the employer's sister waits with little hope for the return of her married lover, a traveling salesman, who abandoned her years ago. Such yearnings lend subtle drama to this beautifully realized account of a small, self-contained world turned upside down, briefly, by love.

Her Fearful Symmetry

by Audrey Niffenegger |

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REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NOVEL

Returning with her first novel since the acclaimed bestseller The Time Traveler's Wife, Niffenegger has created a compelling modern-day ghost story set in and around London's atmospheric Highgate cemetery. When Julia and Valentina, 20-year-old twin sisters living in Chicago, inherit a London flat from their aunt Elspeth, the stipulation is that the girls spend a year living in the flat by themselves. Once in England, they find their carefree sojourn complicated by a quirky cast of characters, including Elspeth's graveyard-obsessed boyfriend and a crossword creator with severe OCD. The sisters' lives are further challenged by a strange, haunting presence in their new home—one that behaves suspiciously like their dear departed aunt. An engrossing love story that crosses to the "other side," Symmetry offers an inventive take on sibling rivalry, personal identity and what it's like to be dead.

BY THE AUTHOR OF ...

The Time Traveler's Wife became a movie starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. The DVD is out this fall.

>FICTION

THE HIDDEN MAN

by David Ellis

The first in a series starring grieving lawyer Jason Kolarich, who is called to defend an old pal accused of murder.

13½

by Nevada Barr

A lonely New Orleans woman marries a mysterious architect with an eccentric brother and a possibly homicidal past.

DEXTER BY DESIGN

by Jeff Lindsay

The darkly endearing serial killer is now a newlywed—and on the hunt for a terrifying new bad guy.

>• The View cohost, 47, owns up to her imperfections in her new book—and advises other women to drop the guilt.

EXPLAIN YOUR FIRST "PERMISSION SLIP."

On my second or third day on The View Whoopi Goldberg asked me, did I believe the earth was round or flat? I was very nervous and I said I didn't know. It was a brain fart, but I beat myself up about it. I realized ... we have to give ourselves permission to say dumb things.

ANY OTHER PERMISSIONS?

I'm a single working mom [to Jeffrey, 4], so I'm constantly feeling that guilt.

HOW DOES JEFFREY MAKE YOU LAUGH?

He won't kiss me unless I have my hair on! Any woman that has to wear a wig or a weave, she doesn't have to worry. My son's going to love it.

>• Asked by his hometown rabbi to deliver his eulogy, the Tuesdays with Morrie author did some faith-finding

WHAT INSPIRED YOU ABOUT RABBI ALBERT LEWIS?

His sermons were so captivating ... He once read a Peanuts cartoon. I said, "I'm in!"

YOUR BOOK'S ABOUT A PASTOR TOO ...

I started working with the homeless and spent a night in a shelter. Someone told me about this Detroit pastor who told the men there to keep on believing that things could get better. It was Henry Covington.

HOW DID YOUR FOUNDATION, A HOLE IN THE ROOF, START?

When I walked into Henry's church, I saw rain splattering on the pews. I thought we could tie the book profits to helping his church and others. I hope the roof will be fixed by Christmas.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT YOUR OWN FAITH?

I'm not cynical about religion anymore—in Henry and Albert, I saw the best of it. I've started going back to my old synagogue, but also to Henry's church because I live in Detroit. I feel closer to God and the universe in both places.

>• As ambassador to the UN and Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright deployed what she called "my whole arsenal"—300 brooches on display in her new book, Read My Pins—to make various points.

"THE SECRETARY'S PIN"

With a collection of mostly rhinestone costume jewelry, Albright promised herself she'd splurge on this diamond-encrusted French antique "only if by some miracle I become Secretary."

PUTTING IT TO PUTIN

She wore this "hear no evil, see no evil" set to protest the Russian president's denial of atrocities in Chechnya. "He wasn't happy."

PATIENCE

"I had pins I wore at various phases of Middle East talks," Albright says. "Mostly I wore a lot of turtles because it was very slow."

BLUEBIRD IN MOURNING

In 1996 Cuba shot down two small planes flown by Cuban-Americans. This antique pin "is a bird soaring up," says Albright, "but I wore it head-down in honor of the fallen pilots."