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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 Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Lynn
  • Aurora, CO, United States
  • 09-10-12

Crafted as intricately as a Gregorian chant!

I have either read or listened to each book in the Inspector Gamache series and have enjoyed them all. However, "The Beautiful Mystery" has blown me away! The settings and characters are so thoroughly and beautifully described that it's easy to be "transported" there. The information about monastery life and Gregorian chants really enhances the already fascinating mystery. The narrator is superb as well. Highly recommend!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Penny pulls it off again!

Any additional comments?

hard to praise this book enough. Haunting, enthralling, richly detailed, complex. am sure i'll read it again and again, and i can't wait for Penny's next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 09-02-12

You can start here

I usually agree with C Telfair's very good reviews, but in this case I disagree-- You can start here with Penny's Inspector Gamache series. In fact, I have been trying to get into the series for some time but hadn't been able to finish a novel. This one had the added attraction of the monastery setting, and it grabbed my attention from the beginning. Now that I've been introduced to the characters later on in the series, I am more motivated to go back to the earlier novels to fill in the blanks about the characters and continuing story lines.

I think Penny gets the exterior stuff of the monastery right, but I didn't find the portrait of the interior life so convincing compared to other classic detective cozies set in convents/monasteries. The setting still made the mystery for me-- I felt like was visiting the monastery in a northern Quebec autumn. And now I want more Inspector Gamache.

22 of 31 people found this review helpful

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The beautiful mystery

The story was compelling. The language atrocious. Clean it up, ms penny. The f bomb doesn't need to be used to tell a great story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A good listen! A classic Penny, asking the big questions.

Penny's Gamach books always have a theme that makes them so much more than just a murder mystery. Usually, it's hard to figure out who the murderer is, but this time it was easy (hence the 4 stars - comparing Penny to Penny) but the theme was compelling. What does it mean to have faith, to truly love something or someone; to trust that someone or something has your best interest at heart and will not betray you. What would it take to break that trust? What wound do you carry that makes you vulnerable, and could that wound become your breaking point - where your love would turn to hate and your trust to bitter ashes?
There's always a choice: will you choose to listen to the voice for calm, peace, and faith - the voice of God, or will you choose to listen to the voice of the Devil as he whispers lies in your ear, turning your calm to anxiety, your peace to pain and your faith to emptiness?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Another Great Read

This novel continues the Chief Inspector Gamache series with a story that takes place outside the village of Three Pines. As always, there is a murder to solve, but the setting inside a remote monastery and the background story about Gregorian Chant provide a different slant than previous books in the series.

Another element that I particularly enjoyed was the interplay of emotions among Gamache, Beauvoir, and Superintendent Francoeur. I had inadvertently read "How the Light Gets In", the following book in the series, before this one, so I knew something of the outcome, but that did not spoil anything for me.

If you are a Louise Penny fan, "The Beautiful Mystery" will not disappoint!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Bartonville, TX
  • 07-27-14

Something is rotten in Denmark

When Gamache, and Beauvoir are assigned a murder case in a remote monastery they step into a different world. These monks have recently released a single of ancient chants that has been at the top of the charts and quickly become popular around the world. Their once uncomplicated life suddenly becomes very complicated and it is up to Chief Gamache to determine who among these men of God is capable of murder.

When the corrupt Superintendent Francoeur, Gamache's boss, mysteriously shows up with no real reason for being there, Gamache's instincts go into overdrive. This snake like man has a secret agenda and has not an ounce of conscience or honor, he will do anything to disgrace Gamache or anyone on his team.

This was a good mystery, however, I am anxious to get back to my favorite characters in Three Pines. There are loose ends in this addition and lingering, unresolved issues that will have to be settled in the next book. A great series that is best read in order.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Stevon
  • Tempe, AZ, United States
  • 06-02-14

LP has really hit her stride

Louise Penny started really hitting her stride in her writing of the Chief Inspector Gamache series several books ago. "The Beautiful Mystery" just continues the trend. In this one, Gamache goes inside a cloistered Catholic monastery in the wilds of Quebec, Canada to solve this latest mystery. I'd never heard of Gergorian chants before this book, although I suppose I'd heard them and just didn't know what they were, and now I have a Gregorian chant Pandora radio station! The chants are central to the story and, in fact, the life in a monastery is deeply delved into and you feel like you are learning about the inner workings of one, at least this fictional one. As always Penny weaves several stories into the overall plot and you find yourself just rolling along with the story, which in real time only took a couple of days. The stage is set for unraveling some continuing stories and as the book ended I started thinking about the next book in the series, "How the Light Gets In".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Series, Great subject matter

I believe that a good book leaves you wanting to know more about a subject. This book will entertain and educate you. I loved the setting of this mystery. The character's continue to surprise the reader, I can't wait for the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Marvelous historical mystery. THE BEST.

What made the experience of listening to The Beautiful Mystery the most enjoyable?

The setting is unique (a monastery in the woods of Canada), the presentation is magical (including Gregorian chants), the story is complex and interesting and the reading is exquisite.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Of course, Gamache, followed by his assistant, followed by the abbot of the monastery.

What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

Ralph reads at a pace that is comfortable to readers, with appropriate pauses and he attributes different and appropriate voice qualities to each characters including obscure accents and perfect French which is wonderful to hear. He is the perfect narrator for this series!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Gamache's assistant is subtlety tricked into reverting to past behaviors thus completing the mission of Gamache's enemy. (I don't want to give too much of the plot away.)

Any additional comments?

I love all of the Inspector Gamache's books, but this one, with the addition of music and in a new setting stands out as my favorite.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful