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The Beautiful Mystery Audiobook

The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (2635 )
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  •  
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 12-17-12
    Diane Louisville, KY, United States 12-17-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Transcendant Melancholia"

    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...

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 12-31-14
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 12-31-14 Member Since 2015

    Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?

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    "Fascinating Music Lesson, ho hum setting"

    It's got to be me. I loved learning about the origin of written music and Gregorion chants. It's fascinating and well written into a good mystery. But I found myself bored with the rest of the story.

    I wonder if Penny did too. Because she brings in Gamache's nemesis and that of his protege. So I give a low 3 stars.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 01-06-13
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 01-06-13 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

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    "Twists and Turns galore"
    What did you love best about The Beautiful Mystery?

    I found Mr. Cosham's voice almost hypnotic. I loved the look into the life of cloistered monks and the development of each of the monks' characters and backgrounds. I loved the way the story twisted and turned, constantly leading you to another conclusion about who might have "dun it". I also loved the way the two inspectors' characters and their own conflicts were woven into the story, but very skillfully. Finally, I loved learning about the roots of written music. No more said so as not to ruin the story.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes, I must say the plot kept me on the edge of my seat... as the author kept the reader guessing re: the culprit, and also gave the reader tons of interesting information as the book progressed. There was a lot of verbal imagery in this book that I really enjoyed.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    Everything. That sums it up. His voice bounces softly from word to word and is full of so much feeling.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, and to the best of my ability, I kept reading almost continuously, listening on my iPhone after coming in from the car, where I did the bulk of my reading via bluetooth on my car radio's speaker.


    Any additional comments?

    Read this fabulous mystery. It really is beautiful.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harley 05-17-13
    Harley 05-17-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Beautiful Story"

    This is wonderful. Louise Penny and Ralph Cosham weave the calmness of the monastery and the monks into the excitement and adventure of a mystery. Great listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi 01-14-13
    Kathi 01-14-13 Member Since 2010

    Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

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    "Oh, it pains me to say, I was disappointed."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Well, before I read (listened) to it it, I gave a print copy to a friend as a birthday gift. We share the enjoyment of this series. If I had heard it first, I might have chosen something else.

    Till now, I have thought this series was as good as it gets. Lately there is a change I've noticed as Penny seems to be trying to do more psychological development of the characters. Ordinarily, I'd say that was a good thing, but at least in this episode, I'm less sure. I thought it pushed too hard. At the end, I felt as though she was competing with a mystery and psychological character development that did not blend well with each other. I don't know what happened. Others may feel differently.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'll for sure listen to her next book, and await it with interest. I'm just thinking this one didn't hit me in the right place somehow. Since she has written reliably excellent books till now, I assume future ones will also be great.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd like to say, I was excited for about the first half, as I loved the mystery taking place in an abbey and focusing on plain chant (both of which are subjects I am interested in). But it got tedious with all the stories of each monk, and the interactions between Gamanche, Beauvoir and their boss just seemed to go out into orbit. "A" for effort in trying to make these books a cut above, with psychological insights into character, but somehow I miss the interactions between the village people in her earlier books. They kept the books alive and feeling so very human. In some ways, this book felt as dead as the centuries that had passed in the monastery in the story. Not a bad book, but disappointing compared to her others.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-02-13
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

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    "Another winner"

    I'm not sure exactly why I like these books, but I do. The mystery portion of it always takes a back seat for me. Sometimes the characters are too confusing for me to even care who did it. But, I still listen and eagerly download the next one. The backdrop of the monastery was interesting in this one. It was a slice of life that was unfamiliar to me.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 12-07-12
    Linda PITTSBURGH, PA, United States 12-07-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Wonderful"

    To me, this is the best yet of the series. All of them are terrific. This is the 1st not to involve any of the Three Pines villagers. Best to read these in order. Events from previous books are referred to, but explained. The characters build though, and it would be hard to appreciate that without reading in order.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K.Appelhans Huntington Beach, CA, United States 12-06-12
    K.Appelhans Huntington Beach, CA, United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Absolutely The Best"

    I cannot stop listening to the Louise Penny mysteries! The combination of humor, seriousness and a good story is unmatched by any author in my opinon. Additionally the narrator is the best, translating the story perfectly. When is her next book due. I have listened to them all and cannot wait.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MidwestGeek 09-17-12
    MidwestGeek 09-17-12

    Love a good mystery, but don't care much for pure thrillers.

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    "Splendid writing, great narrator, ragged storyline"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Byron 09-14-12
    Byron 09-14-12
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    "Great writing but felt a little cheated"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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