I like the character development in the series. The attention to detail makes me feel like I am learning something about people and a different culture-- which is always interesting. I appreciate that this book is not horribly violent- although it is gripping right to the end. I have been following these books from the beginning, and they have become more complex. The characters show more weakness, more flaws-- and are affected by circumstances beyond their control- so the characters are becoming more real. There are many little giggles throughout this series, and the last two have also made me cry. I appreciate also that we get to continue the story. While I want everything tied up in a happy ending, I am always anxiously awaiting the next book. We want things to turn out well for these people, and we want Chief Inspector Gamache to continue to love his wife and show integrity and reach out to help people and solve mysteries by listening and drawing people out.
I love the the author's prose, and the narrator is as fine as ever. I was delighted to find it taking place outside Three Pines, which was growing a bit stale, and the setting is marvelously described. The monks become interesting individuals, all too human.
However, the story line was disappointing toward the end. Without giving anything away, the focus of 3/4 of the book is on solving a mysterious murder in a monastery, but when the murderer is finally revealed, it does not have the feel of a denouement. At the point that should be the climax, the murder mystery has given way to what seemed to be a secondary issue, one that takes the form of a character conflict although there clearly is much more at stake. It seems too petty, too contrived, and too incidental to the thrust of this book. (I should add that it may even be incomprehensible unless one has read others in the series leading up to this one.) In context, I can understand that it may represent an agent of the devil vying for a man's soul with our hero's voice of reason, but it just doesn't work. The conclusion lacks the subtlety and nuance so characteristic of the rest of her writing, in which no one is all good or all bad, but has strengths that stand out in one situation and weaknesses that disappoint in another.
The author is setting the stage for the next book in the series, but it comes across as less of a tease and more like a sledgehammer. While I will no doubt read the sequel, I hope the plot will be better crafted. Maybe writing a book a year to a predetermined deadline is too demanding. Louise Penny has been more consistent so far than, say, Michael Connelly or Harlan Coben, two other of my favorite mystery writers. She deserves the success that her novels have brought, but precisely because of that, she needs stronger editors or critics. She raves about having made #2 on the NY Times best sellers list recently, but that should not be misconstrued as a measure of worth. She has a following, myself among them, but she should not confuse commercial sales with good writing.
I have had a library card wherever I've lived, & always have a book in progress. Fell in love with Audiobooks when my 70 yr old eyes couldn't keep up with my reading. Mysteries are my favorite, but last enjoyable read was "Fifty Shades of Grey" WOW Sensual reading, but it had my interest ! I'm not dead yet!
The first time we are not in Three Pines so I didn't know what to expect from one of my favorite investigators & his team. Wonderful plot that really had my interest. Let's see where Louise Penny takes us next time & cannot wait to find out how the relationship with his assistant will work out.
The narrator is so perfect that I hope it never changes. His accent is just what makes this novel so much better.
Her novels are not to be rushed but to be savored like wine.
The narrator is excellent. I bought this book ( pre ordered) on amazon. When I realized I hadn't bought the audible version, I immediately rectified that omission. I think Louise Penny's books are meant to be read aloud. The words are so lovely and the deep texture is brought out by the narration. However, the ending is so sad, I don't think I could stand to hear it again.
Armand Gamache is a wonderful human being. He is insightful, and a great listener. Jean Guy's behavior, even being a drug addict, wad hard to fathom. Would he really give up on Armand and Annie so easily? I too miss Three Pines and it's inhabitants but I understand why every story can't take place there. However, by the end, I did not care who killed the monk. I only cared about Gamache and Jean Guy. I have not been this disappointed since Elizabeth George killed off Helen Lynley. and can anyone be as devious as Francoeur? I ask Louise Penny, isn't real life hard enough? Does my fictional world have to be so sad too?
Louise Penny's writing is superb as usual, but I missed the levity of the Three Pines characters intertwined in this mystery. The philosophy and history of Gregorian Catholic Church Chants was very interesting, but tended to dominate the mystery more than I'd expected. So, while I enjoyed this latest mystery from Penny, I was disappointed also. Without revealing the ending, I also felt a little cheated , as it reminded me of endings of weekly soap operas. Still a four star read for many excellent reasons, but my disappointment kept me from continuing my 5 star rating as I'd rated all of Penny's earlier books. But still a fan, and looking forward to more of her Three Pines Mysteries.
One of the best....But I better not have to wait 2 years before she writes another one!
(spoiler alert!!!!!!!!) I was not happy with the end......
As always, Ralph Cosham, does and outstanding job in his narration of "A Beautiful Mystery". I have listened to all of the Louise Penny books and was looking forward to this one. The story is a different Penny offering based on it's location. Gamache is as intriguing and clever as always, but I'm ready for his demons and the chief superintendent to be put to rest. Please return to Three Pines for the next novel, it was probably good to have a different setting for the murder, but I miss all the characters that live in Three Pines.
The ending was a disappointment.
Great as usual
I was happy to leave Three Pines. The quirkiness of the characters was getting a little strained. This, like the previous books in this series is cross between Brigadoon and a locked room mystery. The settings- isolated from the modern world- give these books a fantasy aspect that is very well executed. I would usually think this is a hokey idea for a plot, but it works here.
Ralph Cosham is the voice of Armand Garmache- he is an excellent narrator.
I am ready to return to Three Pines, I miss the regular characters especially Ruth and Gabri.
I stumbled upon this delightful series when the first one was placed on sale via Audible and instantly fell in love with the Chief Inspector and his grumpy second in command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. I have read and/or listened to all of the stories and eagerly looked forward to this latest installment. To be honest, the story is not my favorite in the series, although I did enjoy it. I missed the quirky inhabitants of Three Pines and the monk of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups were not a good replacement. Still, the quiet brilliance of Gamache shined, even in the cloistered monastery. At the risk of giving out any spoilers, I must say that Jean-Guy really breaks my heart! I recommend this book, as well as the rest of the series. Can't wait for the next one!!