The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8)

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  11,094 ratings  ·  1,910 reviews
The brilliant new novel in theNew York Timesbestselling series by Louise Penny,one of the most acclaimed crime writers of our timeNo 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....more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Beautiful Mystery, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Beautiful Mystery

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4.75* of five

The Book Report: The book description says:
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...more
Sep 11, 2012 Pat rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gregorian chants are at the heart of Penny's latest Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery. A monk, the choirmaster, has been murdered on a quiet, isolated island off Quebec where the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups has been home to the Gilbertine monks since the middle of the 17th century. Only recently discovered after centuries of obscurity, these monks have the mission of singing and preserving the purity of the Gregorian chant. Gamache and his right-hand man, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, m...more
I enjoy the special voice and psychological depth Penny has in this mystery series. In this one the murder of choirmaster in a remote cloistered order of monks leads Inspector Gamache and Agent Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec to travel there and live among the community until the mystery is solved. The site is of a fictional monastery established 300 years before by an order seeking a hide out from the Inquisition, Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups (“Between the Wolves”). They have recently achieve...more
This book is a departure from the others in the Gamache series. Set at a monastery rather than the perfect village, Gamache and Beauvoir must find the killer amongst the chanting monks. There is much to like about the novel, particularly the descriptions of the plainchants and the ancient neumes from which they are derived, yet I found the book unsettling rather than enjoyable. The antagonist in this story is not the murderer, but Gamache's boss who has joined them at the abbey, there to do his...more
my first and wont be my last novel by Louise Penny. I was actually with the Chief Inspector during the whole novel. Ms.Penny had me from the very first word, I just couldnt put this book down. At the very end I felt that I wanted more and was disappointed that there wasnt.However after sleeping on it, realized Ms Penny had ended this novel just as it should have been. Can hardly wait to read more of her novels. Thanks so very much Goodreads, for the advanced copy, have been going on about The Be...more
First Sentence: In the earth nineteenth century, the Catholic Church realized it had a problem.

The cloistered monks of Quebec’s self-contained Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups monastery focus their lives on prayer and the simplicity of Gregorian Chants. The murder of their prior and choirmaster, Frère Mathieu, has forced open their doors to Inspector Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec

Penny’s writing is simply superb. Her prose is more than mere words telling a story, her phrases...more
Sherry Roberts
I have followed Chief Inspector Armand Gamache from the beginning. He is an old friend so when he hurts, I hurt. This time he must find out who murdered a monk in the isolated monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden on an island in the middle of a lake deep in the wilderness of Quebec. The suspects are 23 cloistered monks living in peace, prayer, and song. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices, raised...more
"That word? I do not think it means what you think it means" (Inigo Montoya, quoting from memory.)

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Like the others in Louise Penny's series, this was a quick and (for the most part) easy read. Briefly, it told two stories: that of a murder in a monastery in northern Quebec, and that of Jean-Guy Beauvior, still struggling to overcome his many wounds (physical and emotional)and to protect his boss, Gamache, from his boss's boss. That second story was convincing and absolute...more
A locked monastery mystery - somewhere in the back of beyond in the northern Quebec wilderness there sits a 400 year old monastery inhabited by 24 members of a cloistered order who devote their lives to God and chanting. The unexpected popularity of a recording of their chants has created dissension in their ranks and a monk is murdered. Gamache and Beauvoir are called in to investigate.

The problems I have with this book: the abbot's recruiting of new members, poaching them from other monasterie...more
Penny is such a superb writer that even at her worst she's a four star winner in my opinion....With that being said, here's the thing...I'm growing weary of Jean Guy's (supposedly a bright guy though that fact is seldom apparent) idiocy, and the continued torture of our beloved Gamache by those circling vultures from the Arnaud case. Please, Ms.'s time to move on. Either let the vultures have Beauvoir permanently and let Armand retire in peace to Three Pines and spend his time dealing...more
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 becomes 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 n...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Canadian novelist Louise Penny charmed me immediately with her rural Québec setting and atmosphere in her latest Inspector Gamache police procedural, which centers on the religious music of plainchant, and the history of its written notes. Although it is #8, it is my first—but not my last! Fortunately, each novel stands alone, although it is evident within the pages that there is strong character development that was started and has evolved from the previous seven books. The “beautiful mystery”...more
This review is from: The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel - A Very Beautiful Mystery marred by an unexpected and unwanted intrusion (originally published in

This is the second novel in the series that strays from Three Pines and the endearing characters who live there (the first one is Bury Your Dead). But it is natural -- Three Pines is very small, and there are so only many murders that can happen there. So, here we are taken to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre...more
John Lee
First , a warning. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK before earlier ones if you are planning to read others in the series. Most unlike me, after reading No2, and with a choice of 4 others, I opted for this, the latest. Unfortunately there are references in this book to several previous events that will now spoil my reading of the books in which they occur.

Apart from that, I enjoyed this new offering although the central premise is a little strange. Perhaps because of this, certain parts seemed a little hard...more
She's done it again! In my opinion, it is difficult to find a better writer of mysteries in the current market than Louise Penny. I was so fortunate to be the winner of an early giveaway from a contest sponsored on her monthly newsletter earlier this spring. Those of us who have been following her Chief Inspector Gamache series are not going to be disappointed by this one. It is different. It is not set in Three Pines. The normal cast of characters is missing. Instead we are presented with Arman...more
Nancy  W'f
Ms. Penny has retained her wonderful writing ability in this her 8th Inspector Gamache mystery. I fall into her books and hate to come out, staying up late, rising early, neglecting home and spouse so that I can read her marvelous prose. That was true of this novel. I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't a Three Pines mystery, but I do understand that it's a small village, and it has already had a pretty large share of murders. I missed some of her regular characters very much. That being sa...more
From the beginning, the premise of this newest Louise Penny novel is a departure from her previous novels feature Inspector Gamache of the Quebec Surete. In the past, the books have taken place in the lovely, secluded village of Three Pines, a place not on many maps, a Canadian Shangri-la, if you will, although the people there are not immune from murder and mayhem. In this novel, a monk from a mysterious order known as the Gilbertines, has been murdered. The monastery, previously rather poor an...more
Carolyn E
Louise Penny's latest book, The Beautiful Mystery, is certainly aptly titled. It is indeed a beautiful mystery. I would give this one a perfect 10. My only complaint is having to wait several months for the next book in this series. I understand from Penny's website that book #9 is now at the publisher's, so hopefully the wait won't be too long.

If you have not read any of the books in this series, you are missing a treat. I highly recommend all of them.

Incidentally, Still Life, the first book in...more
Luanne Ollivier
The Beautiful Mystery is the eighth entry in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. This series has become one of my favourites, but I have to say that this latest book is exceptional.

The series is set in Canada. Gamache is with the Sûreté du Québec, as is his second in command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. In The Beautiful Mystery, Gamache and Beauvoir are called out on an unusual case and location. A monk at a monastery hidden away in the wilds of Québec has been murdered. The monastery h...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love Inspector Gamache and Beauvoir and the whole gang. I love Three Pines, too, but it wasn't in this book. Instead, we're at a mysterious abbey almost-unknown until a CD of their Gregorian chants is released. So, in this novel, there are only Gamache, Beauvoir, the monks, and Chief-of-all-chiefs in the Surete, Francouer.

I felt Beauvoir's relationship with Gamache was a little different than before. I didn't remember him being quite so free and able to be sarcastic with his boss before. His...more
I won this fabulous book in a contest on Ms. Penny's website and couldn't be more thrilled to be able to review the ARC of The Beautiful Mystery.

In this outing we are not in the familiar setting of Three Pines but instead in an isolated monastery in the Quebec wilderness. One of the monks in the abbey has been murdered...and he has obviously been murdered by one of the other monks. It is a fascinating story of an order of monks who have been hidden away for centuries, the Gilbertines, who have o...more
Newport Librarians
If you’re a follower of Loiuse Penny’s Inspector Gamache series (see review of Still Life below) you know that part of the charm of that series is the characters that live in Three Pines. Well, Penny’s new book – The Beautiful Mystery – leaves all that behind. The Beautiful Mystery takes place in a remote (very remote) monastery, the home of the Gilbertines – a lost order of monks whose major claim to fame is their glorious ability to sing Gregorian Chant. Unfortunately, the choir master, Brothe...more
Marcia Ferguson
I'd already read that Louise wasn't certain what reader response would be to a mystery involving Gregorian chants - so my expectations were lower than usual. Happy turnaround then, when I was enchanted by the story. With a limited location and technically 'limited' suspects because they were seemingly so similar, Louise put all of her skills to excellent use. Like another reviewer said, I was also with Gamache every step of the way. With the limitation of the location, every bit of it was unveil...more
I've loved this series from the start despite my dislike CI Gamache. The beauty of Quebec, the other characters and the rich plots made up for such an arrogant, controlling, egomaniac for a lead character.
I was thrilled with the beginning of this novel- all the characters seemed on track, the history and concept of the monks and the power of the chants was vibrant and exciting. As always her descriptions were as vivid as looking at a photograph.
Then in chapter 16 the whole book collapsed for me....more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
As a former soprano in my church choir, I often would be required to sing 'plainsong.' We were an Episcopalian church and only used this form of 'prayer' for high church days. In this novel we are treated to the history and yes, romance of plainchant or better known as Gregorian chants.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his second, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Surete du Quebec are called to duty at a remote Monastery. The Abbot has opened the gate to allow the police in when the Prior and...more
Jocelyn Harvey
I am a dedicated fan of Louise Penny's Armand Gamache mysteries, but this new book was a terrible disappointment to me. It was not very interesting as a mystery, despite the almost hectoring claims of MEANINGFULNESS by the author, and except for the two main characters most of the secondary people (the monks) were oddly undifferentiated, not at all like the wonderfully defined, highly individual characters we are used to from Penny. I found the constant insistence that we were experiencing an aw...more
Megan Baxter
An Armand Gamache novel not at least partly set in Three Pines? What will I do with myself? I have so much enjoyed knowing a whole town involved in a murder mystery, as well as the detective and his team.

Despite the initial trepidation this set off in my head, it was quickly allayed by the story that Louise Penny laid before me. This was really damned good. Even if it had a heartbreaking ending. Penny's understanding and portrayal of human nature in all its warts and beauties shines through eve...more
This is one of the first books that I listened to instead of reading, and I got lucky! This modern day mystery takes place in the cloistered monastery St. Gilbert Entre Les Loups (St. Gilbert Among the Wolves) in Quebec. The mystery concerns not only the death of one of the monks, but also Gregorian Chants. Very well written, and very nicely read, although I'm not finding his name to include it here. I thoroughly enjoyed the transitions between English and French. Members of my book group will t...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Figuring out Who Did It 1 24 Feb 17, 2014 01:56PM  
Predictions for Inspector Gamache #9 19 179 Nov 22, 2013 12:35PM  
  • No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14)
  • Through the Evil Days (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #8)
  • The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4)
  • Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs #10)
  • White Nights (Shetland, #2)
  • A Fatal Winter (A Max Tudor Mystery, #2)
  • A Question of Identity (Simon Serrailler, #7)
  • Until the Night
  • Blessed Are the Dead  (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #3)
  • Grandad, There's A Head On The Beach (Jimm Juree, #2)
  • As The Crow Flies (Walt Longmire, #8)
  • Beastly Things (Commissario Brunetti, #21)
  • Cop To Corpse (Peter Diamond, #12)
Many of Louise Penny's books are published under different titles by UK/Canada and US publishers.
She lives with her husband, Michael, and a golden retriever named Trudy, in a small village south of Montreal.

Her first Armand Gamache novel, "Still Life" won the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony and Dilys Awards.

* Agatha Award: Best Novel
o 2007 – A Fatal Grace – Winner
o 2008 –...more
More about Louise Penny...
Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1) A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2) Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6) The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5) A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)

Share This Book

“What did falling in love do for you? Can you ever really explain it? It filled empty spaces I never knew were empty. It cured a loneliness I never knew I had. It gave me joy. And freedom. I think that was the most amazing part. I suddenly felt both embraced and freed at the same time.” 12 likes
“One of the elders told him that when he was a boy his grandfather came to him one day and said he had two wolves fighting inside him. One was gray, the other black. The gray one wanted his grandfather to be courageous, and patient, and kind. The other, the black one, wanted his grandfather to be fearful and cruel. This upset the boy, and he thought about it for a few days then returned to his grandfather. He asked, 'Grandfather, which of the wolves will win?'

The abbot smiled slightly and examined the Chief Inspector. 'Do you know what his grandfather said?'

Gamache shook his head. . . .

'The one I feed,' said Dom Philippe.”
More quotes…