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The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
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The Beautiful Mystery

by Louise Penny

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English (129)  German (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (133)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Another strong entry in Penny's Gamache series. The setting was great - a remote monastery in the wilderness, with an order of monks forgotten by everyone, including the Roman Catholic church. One of the tiny order has been murdered, and one of his brothers has done it. Much of the plot revolves around their powerful renditions of Gregorian chants, and we learn a lot about this early style of religious music.

The murder mystery was well done, but for me the real power in the story comes from the plot that is gradually unfolding in the series. Gamache and his assistant Beauvoir are both scarred by a horrific incident in which both nearly died. As they try to recover, they must struggle with their own weaknesses and the corruption in the department. Penny has been developing this plot through the recent books in the series, so it is worth taking the effort to read them in order. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
While this novel never visited the delightful storied village of Three Pines, I think "The Beautiful Mystery" will remain one of my favorite Inspector Gamache stories. Even though I missed the villagers - an amazing cast of characters - there was something about this one that grabbed me.

The story unfolds at a monastery, hidden deep in the woods outside of Montreal, where one of the monks has been found dead - murdered. Gamache and Beauvoir find themselves inside the cloistered walls of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups (among the wolves,) where the monks have, for years, observed a vow of silence. The murder investigation breaks that silence as Gamache and Beauvoir begin interviewing the monks of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups to try to uncover the truth of what happened to Brother Mathieu - the highly regarded choir director who was found, in the Abbot's garden, dead and curled up into a ball along the garden wall.

Other stories unfold with the arrival first of Gamache's superior, Chief Inspector Francover, and then a Dominican brother from Rome.
We also get some insight into Beauvoir's relationship with Gamache's daughter, Aimee, and his ongoing internal turmoil.

A bit of a cliff-hanger near the end... I can't wait to see what happens! ( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
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 Sûreté du Québec. 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. ( )
  jepeters333 | Aug 30, 2018 |
In 1833 Dom Prosper brought back to life the Abbey of St. Pierre in Solemes, France and made it his goal in life to change the Gregorian chants from the corrupt and barbaric thing they had become into the pure thing of beauty they had once been originally. Unfortunately, no one knew what they sounded like all those years ago. A search was begun to find the earliest sheet music of Gregorian chants. In the ninth century, a nameless monk got the idea to write down not just the words but also the music of the chants. Not knowing how to describe the music he used squiggly lines representing his hand directing the choir indicating how long to hold the note and whether to go up or down. These are referred to as neumes and became the first written musical notes ever. The only problem was that no one knew what note to start the chant out on. They had to guess. The Gregorian chants are called the beautiful mystery because they affect people on a deep level. The monks believe they are singing the words of God and take the singing very seriously.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir have been called out to a remote monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups because a monk has been murdered there. Brother Mathieu was found in the Abbot's private garden with his head bashed in. The monks are all walled in and the place is only reachable by boat. No one is let into the monastery. Not long ago the monks recorded themselves singing their Gregorian chants and sold them to family and friends and to the local store. Somehow they got out and they sold millions worldwide. Eventually, the press found out where they were and people began to flock to their island. The Abbot went on television and explained that their's was a quiet monastery. They took a vow of silence and that no one would be allowed inside and soon people gave up coming for the most part.

The monks were talking about doing a second album. That seems to have been the problem. The Abbot and Brother Mathieu were the best of friends until the album happened. The money from the album made it possible to fix the roof and install geothermal heating and solar panels on the roof. Some of the people believed it was God's will to break the vow of silence and make another album and go on tour. These people sided with Brother Mathieu. Those that sided with the Abbot believed that they should not turn away from their old ways and be tempted by money. That God would provide for anything they needed. The others said he had and that the second album was the how he was providing. It was a bitter divide.

Brother Mathieu died with a piece of vellum in his hand that contained sheet music written with neumes on it and Latin words on it. While Gamache is getting a monk to translate the music and Latin and make a copy of it for him, the Superintendent of the Surete arrives by plane with the coroner's report. But that's not why he's really there. He, as always, has an ulterior motive and it's not good for Gamache whom he hates with a passion and wants to destroy. This is a brilliantly written book that keeps you guessing right up to the end. And the use of the Superintendent was a masterstroke. I cannot wait to read the next book to see how the fallout from that carries on. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Quotes

Beauvoir had never liked dark chocolate. It seemed unfriendly.

-Louise Penny (The Beautiful Mystery p 65)

Beauvoir was Cancer, which always annoyed him. He wanted to be Scorpio, or Leo. Or even that ram thing. Anything other than the crab that, according to the descriptions, was nurturing, nesting, and sensitive.

-Louise Penny (The Beautiful Mystery p 134)

“We have recorders and violins. Or are they fiddles? I’m never sure what the difference is.”

“One sings, the other dances.”

-Louise Penny (The Beautiful Mystery p 146)

Beauvoir knew that the root of all evil wasn’t money. No, what created and drove evil was fear. Fear of not having enough money, enough food, enough land, enough power, enough security, enough love. Fear of not getting what you want, or losing what you have.

-Louise Penny (The Beautiful Mystery p 159)

Just our luck. Every other monastery makes alcohol. Brandy and Benedictine. Champagne. Cognac. Wine. Ours sings obscure songs and breeds near extinct chickens. No wonder they almost went the way of the dodo.

-Louise Penny (The Beautiful Mystery p 213) ( )
  nicolewbrown | Aug 13, 2018 |
Penny's books get better and better. The Beautiful Mystery is I believe the most dramatic (and emotional), in an isolated, stark but striking setting of the Monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups. Gamache and Beauvoir investigate a murder among the most talented and brilliant singers of Gregorian plainsong, the monks. We learn much about music history, how neumes were used prior to chords, notes and keys to write music, and how they led to modern Western music. (I enjoyed learning about this because I didn't get any music education in grade- or high-school, and only one pre-requisite course at college.)

As always, Penny's mysteries, are deep and rich; about good versus evil, love, loyalty, wisdom, acceptance, choice and grace. Her series are beautiful mysteries possibly as radiant in word and substance as the Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loup monks’ music.

If you haven't read a Penny book yet, I suggest you start at the beginning of the series to understand the plot flow and development.
  Bookish59 | Jul 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
The “beautiful mystery” of Penny’s eighth Gamache mystery refers to Gregorian chant, plainsong, and its mysterious allure and spiritual appeal even to the lay listener. Playing off the international sensation surrounding the 1994 release of recordings of the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos, The Beautiful Mystery finds Gamache and his loyal lieutenant, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, being called to a monastery to investigate the murder of a monk.

But it’s not just any monastery, and it’s not just any monk.

The mysterious Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups monastery existed in isolation for hundreds of years, two dozen monks living in the remote Quebec wilderness, accessible only by plane or boat, with a plain wooden door locked to the world. They are the last vestiges of the Gilbertines, an order of monks devoted to plainsong, who vanished during the Inquisition.

Their seclusion came to an end, however, with the release of a recording of their chants, a recording which became a sensation around the world, drawing pilgrims and the press, all of whom met with the locked door at the gate. The door opens to Gamache and Beauvoir, however, as they come to investigate the murder of Brother Mathieu, the choirmaster.

The choir of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups became a sensation on the basis of a single recording, but that success has also created a fracture in the monastic community, “a civil war, fought with glances and small gestures,” which Gamache and Beauvoir discover early on in their investigation. That fracture makes everyone in the once close-knit community a suspect in the choirmaster’s murder.

The mystery – which is in itself compelling, and reminiscent, on the surface and unavoidably, of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose – works as a catalyst for an ongoing series of inquiries into the nature of faith, loyalty and friendship, deepening familiar characters and developing relationships in a realistic, often painful fashion. It’s a stirring, thought- provoking read, less a matter of whodunit than a relentless questioning of why any of us do anything. The Beautiful Mystery satisfies as a mystery, and stands as a powerful literary novel in its own right, regardless of whether one has read the previous seven novels in the series.
added by VivienneR | editThe Globe & Mail, Robert J. Wiersema (Sep 7, 2012)
 
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This book is dedicated to those who kneel down,
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In the early nineteenth century, the Catholic Church realized it had a problem.
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Following the arrival of an envoy from the Vatican.

\\ “Jeez,” said Beauvoir. “The Inquisition. I didn’t expect that.”
\\“No one does,” said Gamache.
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Book description
A MONASTERY
Hidden deep in the wilderness are the cloisters of two dozen monks - men of prayer and music, famous the world over for their glorious voices.
Haiku summary
Murder among monks \\ Ganache and Francoeur will fight \\ Not all is resolved

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312655460, Hardcover)

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 Sûreté du Québec. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:03 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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 Surete du Quebec. 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.… (more)

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