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The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (edition 2012)

by Louise Penny

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8448410,672 (4.02)199
Member:joanslib
Title:The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Authors:Louise Penny
Info:Minotaur Books (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

Recently added byjeanned, private library, mtgillis59, EmilWilliams, pat1202, jennyborkbork, tennwisc, jlrobinson99

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Warning: This review contains spoilers.

****

This book turned out to be a disappointment for me. Part of this could be personal expectations on my part: I'd saved the book specifically to read on my vacation, because the Gamache series has been reliable vacation reading in the past. However, this time, I was restless and unable to focus on the story. The sentence fragments that are the hallmark of Penny's writing, which I usually become accustomed to after a couple of chapters, remained an irritant all the way to the last page. I was infuriated with Francoeur and completely lost patience with Beauvoir. How could he possibly fall so far, so fast? Presumably the next book will have the answers, but I remain skeptical.

Another factor in my non-enjoyment of the book could be the plot itself. The idea of a locked-room mystery in a remote monastery is a good one, but I really struggled to finish this book. I did have similar problems finishing The Name of the Rose, so perhaps I just don't find novels about monks interesting. Would the same story told with nuns be more interesting?

I will continue to read the series, but it will no longer be saved for a special vacation treat. It will just be read when the urge strikes (and I might read more reviews beforehand to temper my expectations). ( )
  rabbitprincess | May 18, 2014 |
Carefully plotted slowly revealing the characters and ideas. Too often there are "meaningful looks". ( )
  pnorman4345 | May 11, 2014 |
unknown
  Bruno_Estigarribia | Mar 31, 2014 |
I've been on a Louise Penny marathon the past few weeks, but found this to be the least engaging of the three books I read in the Gamache series. Interesting concept but it did not really hold my interest. The monastery setting was described way too many times, the interactions between Gamache and Franceour were not very believable and still left the reader hanging, and the suggestion that the resident monks had been exiled because of sexual misconduct seemed contrived. The part of the story relating to the relationship between Jean-Guy and Anna was also weak. I read it to ensure I didn't miss any links from previous and later books in the series, but overall was disappointed. ( )
  Jcambridge | Mar 28, 2014 |
“That was what Gamache and his team did. They sieved for that often tiny event. A word. A look. A slight. That final wound that released the monster. Something had made a man into a murderer. Had made a monk into a murderer, surely a longer journey than most.” (Ch 10)

In a remote Québec monastery, Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, Prior Frère Mathieu is found murdered in the abbot's private garden – in his hand a scrap of sheepskin vellum, scribbled on which are a handful of musical notes. In recent years, the Gilbertine monks released a recording of Gregorian chants which captured the attention of millions worldwide. The resultant windfall allowed for much needed improvements to the ancient buildings, but it came at a cost: the order lost its former peace and privacy to the madness of celebrity. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, arrive at the monastery, it is clear that it is a community divided. “… what had started the rift? Where did the crack begin? What blow, minor or otherwise, had started it all?” (Ch 11) – Gamache knows that when he has the answer to these questions, he’ll have the murderer.

The Beautiful Mystery is well-written and well-paced, much more about its characters than its crime – just as I’ve come to expect from Louise Penny. But I missed Three Pines! – which I’ve also come to expect from her. The ending was a little melodramatic, too: now I’m worried about Beauvoir and will need to read How the Light Gets In immediately. Still and all, thoroughly enjoying this series. One more to go, and it better be set in the Pines! ( )
3 vote lit_chick | Feb 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (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,
and those who stand up.
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In the early nineteenth century, the Catholic Church realized it had a problem.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:19 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When a peaceful monastery in Quebec is shattered by the murder of their renowned choir director, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Saurete du Quebec are challenged to find the killer in a cloistered community that has taken a vow of silence.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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