The Beautiful Mystery

The Beautiful Mystery

Paperback - 2013
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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 S#65533;ret#65533; du Qu#65533;bec. 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.

Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2013
Edition: 1st Minotaur Books pbk. ed
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781250031129
Branch Call Number: PENNY L
Characteristics: viii, 390 p. ; 21 cm

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m
m0mmyl00
Dec 16, 2017

I loved this book. It’s my third Louise Penny book, and by far my favorite. Most probably the reason for my opinion is my long-time fascination with Gregorian chants. I was never fascinated enough to study them at all; in fact I didn’t know there was anything to study. But listening to them transported me to another state of consciousness. They sounded so ancient to me, and so intimate in some way. Like a whispered secret, or words spoken in code.
Penny did a masterful job of researching their history and meaning, as well as their place in worship. Her story (a murder mystery, of course) was set in a secluded monastery in which the chants were central to the monks’ worship and faith. To them, they were a communication with God.
Reading another reader’s review of Beautiful Mystery in which she states it provides background information to How the Light Gets In, I can see I’ll have to read that before I call a hiatus to my Louise Penny phase.

j
JLMason
Aug 08, 2017

The theme of a “band of brothers” riven by differences in fundamental beliefs drives this mystery set in a remote Quebec monastery where both the monks and the Sûreté du Québec are beset by internecine strife. Parallel conflicts play out, one rooted in murder, the other leading to a lost soul in turmoil. The reader learns about the origins of Gregorian chant and the development of early musical notation, which are central to the mystery. The narrative could have been tightened by removing some of the repetitive emotional wallowing and reliving of past trauma, but Penny’s strength is how she immerses us in the minds and motivations of her characters. We understand them, the dark and the light, and sometimes recognize ourselves.

w
WhidbeyIslander
Aug 05, 2017

As usual, the writing is the best thing about these books. Although this is a self-contained mystery, having read the previous books in order helps prevent some "huh?" moments. I thought it was a little too long, and I learned a little more about Gregorian chants than I need to know going forward in life. Plus, I was disappointed by the abrupt, pseudo-cliff-hanging ending. Oh, and the monk did it.

k
Karen500
Jul 10, 2017

Nice to get out of Three Pines and learn about the music. And then the 'other' outstanding mystery, oooooo that nasty Francoeur.

r
randalljay
Jun 17, 2017

I really liked the story around the monastery. Interesting characters and premise. I really got tired of the constant referral to the shooting in the warehouse and its aftereffects. But it's easy enough to skim over those parts and concentrate on the murder plot.

r
rb3221
Jun 05, 2017

The novel is situated in a locked monastery where monks sing Gregorian chants and the choir master is murdered by one of the remaining 23 monks.
The relationship between Gamache and Beauvoir continues with a surprising twist. Gamache's boss and clear enemy Francoeur shows up with a hidden agenda which causes lots of grief.
A shocking and unpleasant ending for Gamache and Beavoir; how will this relationship be worked out in the next novel?
I had mixed feelings as it was not my favorite Penny novel but still worth reading.

r
RuthRed
Jan 16, 2017

Louise Penny's books keep surpassing one another. She has an ability to graciously and compassionately portray so many perspectives, personalities and circumstances. And she doesn't shy away from some very real, very scary truths about people, their institutions and their struggles.

This book is a treasure.

w
WomanOfMystery
Jan 31, 2016

As a fan who savours the newest Inspector Gamache novel, this one left me a bit cool. The monastery & music plot is really interesting - it's a variation on the locked-room mystery - but the conflicts between Gamache, his boss and Beavoir felt a bit over the top. However, I still love the book and would recommend it.

h
heinrij
Dec 22, 2015

I usually like Louise Penny, but I thought this one dragged. "PG" 13 for violence,drugs and strong language

s
socooked
Nov 20, 2015

I like her Inspector Gamache books very much generally, but I found this one quite boring. Unfortunately, this book contains information that is background to her book HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN.

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behere
Aug 18, 2015

Gamache to Reine-Marie: "There's clearly something very wrong here, among the monks. An enmity. But when they sing it's like all of that never happened. They seem to go to another place. A deeper place. Where no quarrels exist. A place of contentment and peace. Not even joy, I think. But freedom. They seem free from the cares of the world. That young monk, Frère Luc, described it as letting go of all thought. I wonder if that's what freedom is?" p 105

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