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The Beautiful Mystery

(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  53,182 ratings  ·  5,677 reviews
No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Québec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. 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 s ...more
Paperback, 373 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published August 28th 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 Beauv…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)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  53,182 ratings  ·  5,677 reviews

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Start your review of The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8)
May 24, 2012 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.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoy this series but this was one that did not really enthral me. I like the books set in Three Pines best, largely because I have become very attached to all of Penny's wonderful characters.

The Beautiful Mystery however is set totally in a monastery and the only characters we know for most of the book are Gamache himself and his off sider Jean Guy Beauvoir. Now I really do not like Beauvoir and find it very hard to understand why Gamache has so much time for him. In this book he sink
Richard Derus
Aug 13, 2012 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
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Louise Penny has taken another gamble with this unique novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. When a monk is found at a remote priory in the Quebec woods, Gamache and Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir make the difficult trek to investigate. Using this whittled down Homicide squad of the Sûreté du Québec, Gamache soon discovers that the priory is well-known for its chanting monks, who were headed by music director Frère Mathieu, the victim of a significant blow to the head that cost him hi ...more
2.5 stars

Well, I was warned by several book-friends that this was not going to be one of the better books of this series. They were not wrong. Not every book in this series is set in the imaginary small Canadian town of Three Pines, so the new setting of a monastery cannot be solely blamed for this lackluster novel. Instead it's the bland characters. Monks do all kind of look almost the same in their robes, and this was kind of the literary equivalent of that. I can't seem to recall any of their
Megan Baxter
Apr 01, 2013 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
Jan 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
“For Frère Mathieu there were no more mysteries. He knew who took his life. And he now knew if there was a God. And a Heaven. And angels. And even a celestial choir. It didn't bear thinking about what happened to the celestial choir when yet another director showed up.”

A small joke about Heaven. Hidden away in the backwoods of Quebec is a monastery of a lost order of monks, the Gilbertines. They fled the Inquisition centuries earlier bringing almost nothing with them except their music – Gre
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 phrase
Readers of this series know that Chief Inspector Armand Gamache arrested Chief Superintendent Pierre Arnot. In doing so he became a hero with the men and women of the of Sûreté du Québec as well as the public. But he also made enemies. There were some who did not want Arnot arrested. They felt it would be an embarrassment to the Sûreté and that he should be allowed to resign. But Gamache knew it was the right thing to do.

"Some malady is coming upon us"

Two dozen cloistered monks live in peace
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
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, thriller
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
Nov 26, 2016 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
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Gregorian chants in a remote monastery in northern Quebec set a mood that certainly is the antithesis of a typical murder mystery. These cloistered monks vowed to silence are heard through their music. Can music express some magical essence that words cannot? Hand picked to sing with this select group in a monastery built to acoustically enhance each note, these brothers are passionate about their music and dedicated to their chosen lifestyle, but they are human. They feel every emotion. Their
Apr 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Oh man, that ending!

This one does not take place in 3 Pines, but in a secluded, really hidden, monastery. I love music so the history of Gregorian Chant and plainsong was so interesting to me. I love how in each book the murder or mystery is standalone, but it's encased in a larger story that continues through the whole series. I'm completely hooked!

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
Jul 09, 2012 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
Mandy Radley
Mar 25, 2017 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
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF. The setting is a monastery. Monks are not exciting enough to hold my interest. Three Pines and it's usual characters are not involved. Those characters are what keep me coming back. I hate to DNF, and I kept reading hoping it would improve. I feel like a quitter, but I am giving up and moving on. ...more
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars-2021
This might've been the fastest I've finished a Louise Penny, but luckily I thought the eighth entry in the Gamache series just kept on getting better and better! I'll keep these reviews short because there's nothing that I say that probably hasn't been said a bunch of times before, but they all are so perfectly campy in a way that also doesn't feel like a cozy mystery. Both complicated and dark yet light-hearted. Compared to the rest of the series this is in my top three or four. ...more
Amy Imogene Reads
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars

The ending of this one ripped out my soul and I can’t even. Nice mystery, as always, but Beauvoir’s story line is the true heart.

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★ 1/2
Character arcs: ★★★★★

The Beautiful Mystery is the 8th installment in the Armand Gamache Canadian mystery series by writing goddess Louise Penny. I recommend skipping this review and checking out Still Life if you are at all interested in starting at the beginning of this series.

[This review spoils some plot points of the earlier book
This Gamache doesn't hang together very well. When Gamache and two of his team are called to a monastery to investigate a murder, things once again come to a head with Jean- Guy and Gamache's supervisor who is intent on making him pay for not being corruptible. I also didn't get much of the discussion about the chants/singing that was discussed throughout the book.

I think it's been about three months since the events in the last book. Jean-Guy is now dating Annie (Gamache's only daughter) and j
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
The Beautiful Mystery is a locked room or rather a locked monastery mystery: the prior and musical director of a remote, 24 member monastery in rural Quebec in murdered. The question is, which one is the killer? Although the plot line sounds familiar, the book’s strength lies in its rich historical detail. The monastery is renowned for its Gregorian chants, which become the focal point of the mystery. Louise Penny skillfully intertwines the history of chants, their relation to the history of mus ...more
In The Beautiful Mystery, 8th in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, we are taken to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, located on the edge of a lake in the isolated lands of Quebec, where no others – except the monks – had ever been allowed admittance. Twenty four monks living in the peace and tranquility the order had known for centuries. Now, their peace had been shattered – there were twenty three after their choir director was murdered. It was up to Gamac ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 I am always amazed at the amount of information Louise Penny weaves so seamlessly though her novels. This book takes place in a forgotten and lost monastery and features much about the history of Gregorian chants. In fact she describes these chants so well and the way they affected her characters that I actually checked out a CD of Gregorian chants from my library so that I could listen to them while I finished this book. I did miss the opportunity to check on the residents of Three Pines, e ...more
"And a man's foes," she read out loud, "shall be they of his own household."
Matthew 10:36

The Beautiful Mystery #8 in A Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny is a haunting and puzzling mystery. I listened to the audio version of this book.
Captain Charbonneau, who ran the Surete du Quebec station in La Maurice, met Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir at the plane and drove them to the dock, and after a twenty-minute boat ride on the remote lake in the wilderne
Dave Schaafsma
“Who can help me get rid of this meddling priest?”--King Henry, about Thomas Becket, in T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral.

Gregorian chant:

Many people refer to Gregorian chants as “the beautiful mystery” in that they seem to call forth the presence of God as they are sung. Penny opens her book with a preface about the chants, which she assumes readers will know less and less about, though readers of a certain age will recall the kind of popularization of
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015, audio
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.
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LOUISE PENNY is the author of the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (seven times), and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise lives in a small village south of ...more

Other books in the series

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (1 - 10 of 17 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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