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A Beautiful Mystery

Updated on September 18, 2014
Nathaniel Parker as Armand Gamache
Nathaniel Parker as Armand Gamache

Gamache of Quebec

This was my first introduction to Armand Gamache, of the Quebec Surete. And what an introduction! I was captured from the first pages.

Gamache and his assistant, Beauvoir, are called to a murder in a monastery. Another version of the Locked Room Mystery, this should be a simple whodunnit, a killer somewhere among a closed community with no access for outsiders. However, this isn't your everyday monastery and this isn't your everyday murder.

The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Book 8)
The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Book 8)

A Magical Book

Penny is a wonderfully lyrical writer. The descriptions of the forest, of the abbey, of the wondrous light and, of course, the music are enthralling.

A magical book indeed. I'm so pleased that I found it!.


Monastery of Mystery

The monks in this particular monastery are of a strange sect, the Gilbertines, thought to have died out in the 12th century. They're alive and well in a remote area of Quebec, in an abbey of stunning design set in the equally stunning wilderness. Their order is distinguished by two things - the Vow of Silence and the magnificent voices of the monks when raised in Gregorian Chant.

Music of Mystery

Gregorian chant is, of course, vocal music, and the only time that the monks raise their voices is in this plainsong but they can communicate in nuance, in many shades of subtlety. How can this be enough to solve the mystery?

The two most important men in the monastery are at odds with each other. One wants to keep the seclusion of the last 400 years and particularly the Vow of Silence, the other wants to take the choir out into the world.

In the remote and claustrophobic community, Gamache begins to understand the significance of suggestion.

"Dies Irae"

This video is of a Gregorian Chant from the 13th century, the "Dies Irae" - "Day of Wrath,", which features in The Beautiful Mystery

North Country Public Radio

Lousie Penny's novels have been translated into 23 languages and she has won the prestigious Agatha Award (for best mystery of the year) four times, in four consecutive years.

Read more at The Official Website for Louise Penny

Like Mysteries? I certainly do. Here are just three selections, from some of my favourite mystery authors

© 2013 Susanna Duffy


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    • mel-kav profile image


      5 years ago

      This appears to be a book that I would enjoy reading. Nice review.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      5 years ago

      Sounds like a fabulous book, and Quebec would be such a nice setting.

    • CassandraCae profile image

      Cassandra Kuthy 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Love this review. it looks amazing. Definitely going to be looking up this book soon.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      I'd not heard of Louise Penny before. Your description of this novel makes me want to read it, and more of her writing!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds like a book I'd enjoy.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Sounds like an intriguing mystery that I will have to read. Thanks for the recommendation.


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