The brilliant new novel in the New York Times bestselling 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.
The Beautiful Mystery is the winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for best novel, the 2013 Anthony Award for best novel and the 2013 Macavity Award for best novel.
Religious music serves as the backdrop for bestseller Penny's excellent eighth novel featuring Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Quebec S ret (after 2011's A Trick of the Light). Gamache and his loyal number two, Insp. Jean-Guy Beauvoir, travel to the isolated monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, which produced a CD of Gregorian chants that became a surprise smash hit, to investigate the murder of its choirmaster, Fr re Mathieu, found within an enclosed garden in a fetal position with his head bashed in. Gamache soon finds serious divisions among the outwardly unified and placid monks, and begins to encourage confidences among them as a first step to catching the killer. Traditional mystery fans can look forward to a captivating whodunit plot, a clever fair-play clue concealed in plain view, and the deft use of humor to lighten the story's dark patches. On a deeper level, the crime provides a means for Penny's unusually empathic, all-too-fallible lead to unearth truths about human passions and weaknesses while avoiding simple answers. 150,000 first printing; author tour.
A mystery that will break your heart
Is it a mystery? Yes, but it is so very much more. Only one character in this book is truly evil, and it is not the murderer.
Louise Penny does not write about New York City or Los Angeles or Montréal. Instead she places her stories in very small communities, so the reader can get to know everyone -- in this case, the 23 monks who live in an isolated abbey. We learn that everyone has secrets, and that everyone has sorrows. And we learn that everyone is haunted by the past.
Yet we are also touched by the beautiful mystery and by joy. I recommend this book without reservation to anyone who has read and enjoyed Louise Penny's earlier books.
Once again I am left waiting for more. When will the next one come? I almost wish I hadn't found Louis Penny yet. Then I would just be beginning these books and maybe by the time I finished, the next book would be out and I wouldn't have to wait!
The Beautiful Mystery
Very disappointed in the ending. Waited all summer for this book, downloaded it as soon as it was available and then read the whole thing and it was a total disappoint. Don't know if I will buy her next book.