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The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8)

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  24,676 Ratings  ·  3,140 Reviews
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 chocola
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Clara Baker Baldwin If you began with #8, STOP, and go back and start at the beginning. They all build up to what is happening with the characters, both Gamache and…moreIf you began with #8, STOP, and go back and start at the beginning. They all build up to what is happening with the characters, both Gamache and Beauvoir. Wonderful story telling.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Richard Derus
Aug 13, 2012 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.75* of five

The Publisher 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 a vow of silence, the
May 24, 2012 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan Baxter
Apr 01, 2013 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynne King

I’ve read some remarkable books this year – it’s like a miracle – and I thought that there was no way that I could find a book that was even better. How wrong could I possibly be?

I knew as soon as I read two Goodread reviews on this book that I would love it. It has actually succeeded my wildest dreams. All the ingredients were there that have fascinated me since I was a child: monks, monasteries and Gregorian chants, with the added bonus of the setting in Québec. The only other book in this gen
Historical theme:An ancient order, the Gilbertines, is occupying the monastery with a unique selection of monks singing an ancient collection of Gregorian chants as part of their Divine Office. Their power was not so established in their disciplined, isolated religious calling, as it was divided between their dedication to their music and their silence. In this impregnable wall of divinity and humanity a few cracks appeared. A silent war was raging, pushing a divide through the old institution a ...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
Nov 26, 2016 Renata rated it it was amazing
I'm really just an occasional mystery reader and by that I mean I will read quite a few mysteries over the course of two years and then be entirely immune to their siren call for the next year or so. After reading a few Louise Penney mysteries my friend Juliann recommended this one and I absolutely adored it. I loved everything about it - the setting in the monastery, the descriptions of the life and various monks living within, the tensions between Armand and his odious superior, and most of al ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mandy Radley
Mar 25, 2017 Mandy Radley rated it really liked it
This series just keep getting better and better. I'm so glad I'm new to this series if I had to wait a year for the next one it would drive me mad. In this one Gamache and Beauvoir are not in Three Pines and are called to a monastery in the middle of nowhere to investigate the murder of one of the monks. I found this one quite creepy you could almost imagine you were in the monastery, behind the thick stone walls, dark corridors, door leading everywhere, no one around, deathly quiet until you he ...more
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
Jan 18, 2013 Monica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 09, 2013 ☮Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, read-in-2015
She is such a great author who always impresses me with how much research she does on the locations and history of her subjects. And as usual, I am eager to read the next one to see how things pan out.
Jul 06, 2015 Jon rated it really liked it
Named for Agatha Christie, The Agatha Awards are literary awards given out each year to mystery and crime writers who write in the "cozy mystery" subgenre (I love that term). Cozy mysteries are traditional mysteries that contain little or no sex or violence and are often set in a closed setting with an amateur detective (think Christie's Miss Marple books or TV's "Murder, She Wrote"). Over the last 8 years, Penny has been nominated each year for best novel and has won 5 times. Pretty impressive. ...more
Oct 15, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, mystery
I recently purchased "The Beautiful Mystery" (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8) by Louise Penny, after reading such great praise for this book on Goodreads.I have to admit that I haven't read any of her other novels,so I didn't know what to expect.This novel can be read without visiting previous novels. Little did I know that I was in for such a real treat.I was drawn into this book right from the beginning. Her characters are complex and very human, and I was right there all the way as the pl ...more
Sherry Roberts
Feb 08, 2013 Sherry Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 24, 2012 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Sep 08, 2012 Jeanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Martha Francescato
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
Sep 25, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Good continuation of the series, with much less angst than I was expecting based on the previous book... at least initially. Let's just say I'm eying the next book anxiously and suspiciously... This was the first book that had only the briefest reference to Three Pines - it mostly takes place at a remote Quebec monastery.
Aug 13, 2015 Kiwi rated it really liked it
I had a fascination with mysteries set in monasteries since I read The Name of the Rose. This book is successful in reproducing the abbey atmosphere, the repetitive simple monastic life and the obscure religious order close-knit community (the Gilbertines was founded around 1130 and closed down in 16th century at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries).

The murder victim is the prior and choirmaster, close to the abbot but generally considered strong minded and hard to handle. The invest
Aug 18, 2012 Kindred rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 01, 2012 Dorie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
What can I say? I am a die-hard Louis Penny fan and this book did not disappoint. Set in an isolated monastery in Quebec, Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups. A monk is murdered and guess who comes to visit? Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his side-kick, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir. This one was a little slow to start, but if I had any doubts about how good the book was going to be, they were quickly dispelled.

Again, I would make note that these books are best read in order, starting with Still Li
Sep 02, 2013 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Wow, wow, wow what a powerful story, the eighth in the series. These books just keep getting better and better. I learned so much about monks, chants, monasteries and about Chief Inspector Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir.
Kathy Davie
Jan 23, 2015 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Eighth in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series and revolving around the inspector and his second-in-command.

My Take
I've been waiting for this installment with great trepidation. I knew it was coming, and I didn't want to know. I didn't want to read about it. And, in some ways, I'm relieved it's finally happened, and it's no longer looming over me.

Jean-Guy really pissed me off in this. It's early on that Jean-Guy voices his worries, his concerns, and it's too late for us and Jean-Guy
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LOUISE PENNY, a former CBC radio journalist, is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of twelve Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has been awarded the John Creasey Dagger, Nero, Macavity and Barry Awards, as well as two each of the Arthur Ellis and Dilys Awards. Additionally, Penny has won six Agatha Awards and five Anthony Awards, and has been a finalist for an Edga ...more
More about Louise Penny...

Other Books in the Series

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)
  • A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2)
  • The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3)
  • A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)
  • The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)
  • Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6)
  • A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7)
  • How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #9)
  • The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #10)
  • The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #11)

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“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.” 29 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.”
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