An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
Louise Penny (author) is truly gifted. She has written a series of books (this is book 8 of 10 ... so far) that intricately and naturally intertwines the lives of a myriad of characters, most of whom I love. She has created a town in Canada where I'd like to live, or at least vacation, and neighbors I'd like to live near. And yet there is always a murder.
Penny explains the number of murders associated with the town and/or with these characters in a way that is credible and interesting. She also has a way of pulling the rug out from under the reader; not in an abrupt way, but by ignoring what are normally accepted rules of story telling. For example - and this is not really a spoiler - in one of the books, a beloved, main character turns out to be the murderer!
Her primary character, Armande Gamache, is a brilliant detective, a man of integrity, and a wonderful husband and father. I miss him in between books.
I cannot recommend this series enough. READ THEM IN ORDER!
Probably not - but I don't' think I've ever listened to a mystery more than once
Gamache, of course.
I found the history of Gregorian chants fascinating (I am assuming that the author did her homework).
If I had it to do over again, I would have started with the first book of the series and read them sequentially. Characters develop from one book to the next.
Its always great to find an new ( to me) author who has written lots of books. Im going to go back to the beginning of the series " Still Life" I love the fleshed out characters, the expressive narration and the who dunnit that keeps you guessing till the end. I love books that teach you something along the way too...a little bonus without a lesson plan. All the references and short snippets of the Gregorian Chants are just marvelous. The main character is Inspector Gamache. He's a very subtle fellow, insightful, thoughtful...clever. The French dialogue here and there...also brings flavor.
The Canadian equivalent to BBC has filmed a 2 hr movie based on the first book " Still Life" . The inspector is played by Nathaniel Parker who plays Inspector Linley in Elizabeth George's series. ( also fab)
Best narration of any books I've read on Audible. The story is excellent, one of an amazing series.
A great addition to Louise Penny's Armand Gamache series.
This book doesn't have the charm of previous Gamache books. A whole book in a monastery was a bit much and I guessed the killer right from the beginning. The story of his inspector John Guy just recently out of rehab and in love with Gamache's daughter made the book move and provided an exciting ending. Worth the listen.
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
I am so filled with irritation at how The Beautiful Mystery turned out, that I can’t get on with my life until I criticize it. It seemed endless and tedious but I could have gotten over that if it had resolved to my satisfaction. I was not enjoying the anxiety the presence of Gamache’s boss caused me. Not so much because of some particular plot element that could occur but simply because I feel uncomfortable when Gamache is not in charge of things. I was expecting something bad at every moment. But my biggest complaint was Jean-Guy, a character we readers had gotten close to. First I was feeling anxiety (and I don’t like anxiety) about wanting to get to the point when Annie and Jean-Guy told Gamache of their relationship. I actually felt great relief when I found out he knew. I thought at that point not far from the end that the book that things were about to take a turn, resolving all its issues to my satisfaction. And it would have been SO EASY for the author to do that. I’m so mad she didn’t do that!
Beauvoir has always been his own worst enemy, but he was reaching new heights here – doing whatever was exactly the dumbest and most destructive thing possible. I suppose the frustration and anger I felt about this might be similar to what one would experience dealing with an addict in real life, but I don’t want to deal with that, in books or out. And to reward Gamache for all his goodness by having him fail at everything except solving the crime was such a betrayal by the author. Also we already dealt with Jean-Guy having a painkiller addiction and we moved on. I didn’t want to rehash that.
Then of course there were all those monks/ religion and the discussion of the sexuality of monks (not something I want to know about). But what I disliked most about these monks were they were not believable characters. These are people who normally have a vow of silence. It was just lifted. And I am supposed to believe that all of them talk like Gamache – long and flowery and wordy. You ask one a simple question and you get long ramblings pages with intros like, “Have you ever fallen in love, Chief Inspector?” I think people who didn’t normally talk would have a lot less to say and wouldn’t say it like that. I think this about many Penny characters because a large percentage of them talk like this, but for monks under a vow of silence it is simply extra absurd.
So bottom line, what a long tedious downer that whole thing was. Definitely worst in the series which I had previously liked very much.
I listened to this book twice. The first time I didn't get the full depth of being inside a place not many have seen or experienced. The second time I felt it. What I liked best was the real sense of what life must be like in a monk's world so removed from the outside and how the different personalities of the brothers all fit together.
I wouldn't compare this book to another of Louise Penny's books or any other book. This one is truly unique.
I've listened to all of the Louise Penny audiobooks with Ralph Cosham. This one is outstanding like all of the others he reads. He's the BEST.
This was not a story that grabbed me the first time I listened perhaps because it was such a very different kind of setting. However, the second listen did keep my interest even though I knew the plot. There is a lot more to this book than just solving the mystery. Music lovers will appreciate and enjoy this story greatly.
The ending of this book was very difficult for me to hear and accept. Bouvoir is one of my favorite characters, and I adore the interactions between Gamash and Bouvoir. There has to be another book to follow this one to let us know where their relationship goes. I seem to be emotionally involved with these characters. I feel as if I know and care about them.
Louise Penny's intelligent and well-crafted mysteries are always thought-provoking and enjoyable, but this one reaches far down into the psyche and creates a building of dread and suspense that is far and above the previous installments.
Having read a couple reviews of the this book, I decided to try it on Audible, hoping it would, as is often the case, be even better and more interesting if read by someone with appropriate accents and intonations. And I did try to tolerate the reader, in hopes that improvement was on the way. But after about 2 hours of listening while awake, tolerate it I no longer could. Maybe it's just me, but this person's reading does not work.
My favorite books are filled with the kind of historical detail found in this one. Louise Penny may well have written a fascinating story, but I will never know - this tediously read book will be deleted from my library.
I would place it in the category of "will mean more if you've been following the series."
It is a bit slow to get going - actually quite slow - however there is a mood to be set and such things take time. The basic story was good, but the thing that made the book truly great for me is how Penny has continued to develop her characters (in this book, Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir). At the point at which things come to a peak near the end, I was actually shaking with emotion - I'd become that involved!