Audie Award Nominee, Mystery, 2013
The brilliant new novel in the New York Times best-selling series by Louise Penny, one of the most acclaimed crime writers of our time
No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. They grow vegetables, they tend chickens, they make chocolate. And they sing. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices, raised in ancient chants whose effect on both singer and listener is so profound it is known as “the beautiful mystery.”
But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery’s massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. One of the brothers, in this life of prayer and contemplation, has been contemplating murder. As the peace of the monastery crumbles, Gamache is forced to confront some of his own demons, as well as those roaming the remote corridors. Before finding the killer, before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between.
©2012 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
interested in history, science, and pulp fiction
Louise Penny has written a tale with all my favorite things - fascinating historical context, complex, emotional characters, and a good story. The cloistered monastery setting is wonderfully detailed, and each monk has a clear, vivid character (even the minor ones). The twists of the story, whether humorous little details or fast-paced dramatic actions, prevented me from putting it down. The murder mystery was a wonderful tale, with an interesting resolution and a strangely hopeful twist at the end.
The parallell story, among the regular characters, will be interesting to new readers, and almost overwhelming for those of us who follow the series. I noticed in her previous book, "Bury Your Dead," that Penny has a gift for imagining the most heart-breaking thing that could happen to Inspector Gamache, and making it so - drawing it out over the course of hundreds of pages, awful yet irresistible. This book is no different. She definitely has a gift for creating characters whose emotions are so engaging, so vivid, that I am invested in their well being.
I loved this book, but I do feel like I need a support group now.
Wow, Ms. Penny hit it out of the park.
Instead of getting stuck in Three Pines (like Cabet Cove), the good inspector is off and running in this lovely "cozy". Set in a monastery on an island in the big woods, where just like Eden, serpents abound. A monk dead, fractions split the brothers into battling groups, a very sad development in a sect devoted to prayer and singing. Mr Cosham give life and lyrics to our favorite characters. Suspend disbelief and enjoy the sun, cool shade and blueberries.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
I am a great fan of the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. "The Beautiful Mystery" is, I think, a not-all-together-successful attempt to move the story along while touching on a different aspect of the French Canadian culture that has been so well presented in the books.
The setting and premise of the basic mystery here are quite intriguing. Murder takes Gamache and his associate to a secluded monastery on a remote island in Quebec. It's a place never visited by outsiders, and the residents have a tradition of silence except for the "beautiful mystery" of their simple yet glorious plainsong chant.
So far, so good. The basic story of this murder is intriguing and interesting, but the problem comes with pulling in the ongoing mystery in Gamache's past. This has been a part of the series' storyline that has always seemed weakest to me -- the conspiracy theory/police corruption incident that has made Gamache something of a saint and a martyr. Penny's attempt to intertwine these two story lines is sometimes quite contrived.
I missed the plots and characters of Three Pines, and hope Penny's next book will go back there! Meanwhile, I think all real fans of the series will want to read "The Beautiful Mystery." But don't start the series here -- it assumes a good bit of knowledge about Inspector Gamache's backstory.
One more picky little thing for those of you who, like me, ask for attention to detail. The music which opens and closes this recording may be nice religious music, but it is not the all-male Gregorian-style chant described in the book.
This story does not take place in Three Pines but deep in the secluded woods of Quebec in the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. The novel covers only a few days and is confined almost exclusively to the monastery. The real villain here is not the murderer but Gamache's boss who ranks high among the evil characters of English fiction. The strong relationship between Jean-Guy and Gamache is tested and the Chief Inspector's patience and real love for Jean-Guy are evident.
I enjoy the "Three Pines" novels but I also welcomed the break to a different world. One warning - this may not be a good place to start reading Louise Penny. Her continual references to the gun battle (see "Bury the Dead") may be confusing especially in an audio book if you do not know the whole story.
Finally I hope Ralph Cosham continues to narrate Louise Penny's books. He does a terrific job.
Now I can't wait for the sequel to this story. There must be one!
Poignant, mysterious and serene--these are not descriptors one would usually associate with a murder mystery. The setting is that of a remote, all but forgotten monastery, and the cloistered monks who have taken a vow of silence except for the expression of their faith in Gregorian chant-- a most unlikely setting for murder, yet that is what has happened.
This is perhaps my favorite Louise Penny novel yet. Remarkably, she manages to combine the atmosphere of transcendent monastic serenity with the gritty reality of a murder investigation, creating an absorbing and moving story. A beautiful mystery, indeed...
Never read a Louise Penny---got this recommendation, and now I am ordering more of Inspector Gamache.
Character description and insight is incredibly drawn.
Scenes described beautifully---I was IN the abbey! The atmosphere and interactions were deeply affecting... I am slightly familiar with religious chants, and I could almost hear them.
Looking forward to more from Louise Penney.
I have listened to it now 3 times. As with all Louise Penny novels, I am transported to a faraway place while losing myself in a beautiful story centered on colorful characters.
The background of Gregorian chants, the monastery and the beauty of the forest while being engrossed in the interplay of characters
He is the perfect narrator for her books. His voice is soothing and brings an authenticity to the characters and storyline. I read all of her books but really love the audio editions due to his voice quality.
Yes. Both my friends and I who listened to it were totally unprepared for the ending and are eagerly awaiting another of her novels
In every Louise Penny novel, I find such profound life lessons embedded into the dialogue. . Louise Penny has such a gift and with each recording I am transported into her little village with the characters I feel I know. Oh, how i wish I could visit and live in such a place.
Seeking the Truth
The unique setting; the use of more humor than usual by the author but always in the right setting and which never takes away from the drama of the story itself; the well-defined characters and the interplay that occurs between them; and, as always in a Louise Penny novel but especially in this one, the feeling of evil wending its way throughout the story, maybe just around the next corner, but never where you expected to find it.
There were several great characters, as usual in a Louise Penny mystery, but in the end it was Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. His powerfulness of character, his intellect, and even his frailness are front and center in this novel.
His performance never takes over the novel, never interrupts it; he is flawless.
I cannot answer this question without giving away part of the plot, but I thought about this story -- am still thinking about this story -- long after I had finished listening to it.
Yes, it's a murder mystery, but as with all of the previous Chief Inspector Gamache novels, there is a certain peace that you feel while reading this book. It takes place in an isolated monastery that is accessible only by boat or float plane among a group of monks who have taken a vow of silence - except for their Gregorian-style chants. The pacing is perfect and as the investigation takes place, both the Chief Inspector and Jean-Guy Beauvoir are still dealing with the not only the machinations of the Surete but also the physical and emotional aftermath of a previous raid in which they were both injured.
This book is a lovely 'read' - the narration is perfect - a very good mystery (it took me right until the end to even get a clue!), and a wonderful way to spend some leisure time. I DID miss Three Pines and the people there, but I am hopeful that we will get to "see" them all again soon.
Three Pines, Louise Penny's fictional village outside Montreal and its characters are so dear to me. I missed them! The research that went into The Beautiful Mystery was amazing, but I was almost glad when the book ended.
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