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The beautiful mystery by Louise Penny
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The beautiful mystery (edition 2012)

by Louise Penny

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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)
Member:NicoletteMarie
Title:The beautiful mystery
Authors:Louise Penny
Info:New York : Minotaur Books, 2012.
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The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

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English (151)  French (2)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (156)
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Chief Inspector Gamache enters an ancient monastery deeply hidden in Quebec to investigate the death of the choirmaster. The monastery was essentially unknown until a few years before, when the choirmaster, Brother Mathieu, recorded the voices as they sang their chants. He sent the recording out in the world and the world responded. The chants were a hit! Not because of the chants themselves necessarily, but because of the perfection of the blend of voices.

Now he was dead and the monastery was uneasy.

Gamache brought with him Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, along with a bigwig, Captain Charbonneau, intent on catching Gamache making mistakes. For Gamache was not universally loved, having brought to justice many of his blue brothers in a scandal that shook the police force.

The small team brought scene-of-crime equipment with them, determined to finish their investigation by the end of the afternoon and bring the body back with them.

The monks were released from their vow of silence to cooperate with the police. Some were happy to cooperate, while others resented the intrusion into their private space. As Gamache and Beauvoir continued their questioning many monks rose to the top, as possible murderers. A tricky business it was, though, to sift through the words and spot the lies. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
This was my favorite Gamache mystery by far. The setting is not in Three Pines, but in a monastery of monks... the long lost Gilbertines. So of course, being a history buff, I investigated to see what the actual history of this order was. This is what sets Penny apart from many other mystery/detective writers. She infuses her stories with intelligence that adds to the reading experience! I was inspired to learn more about something I had never known before!
Along with the Gilbertines, Penny makes, through Gamache, allusions to TS Eliot's play, "Death at the Cathedral". ("Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?") I love it! Of course, Eliot's play is also based on actual English Monarchy- Catholic Church history.
For music lovers, the book is rich in references to Church music, specifically Gregorian Chant, which is at the center of the murder mystery, hence the name "Beautiful Mystery".
The book can certainly be read and enjoyed without paying mind to these 'extras'. The sub plot thickens: both Gamache and Beauvoir are attempting to overcome the results of the terrible event in the factory which happened several books ago.
The ending of this book was jaw-dropping. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
I'm not sure this is a good place for me to start the series. I don't know, after reading this one, whether I can trust the author with characters I could care about. Since this one takes place away from the usual places and community it's also hard to judge if I'd care for those. As a mystery, well, the 3 major suspects were clear and the lack of intense who-was-where-when given less than 1/2 hr. window, was absurd, which made the possibilities even more obvious. ( )
  quondame | Jul 4, 2020 |
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 just oozes love now. The way they are together now gave me whiplash. Especially since I didn't read a hint of this in the prior book. It honestly doesn't feel earned. Jean-Guy acts like a fool worrying how Gamache will take it when he finds it. But also daydreams about being related to him.

Gamache is focused on the case and finds himself in awe of visiting the monastery that has come into public focus now that the monks singing Georgian chants has become the new thing. He realizes quickly after Francoeur shows up, that the man is planning something. Again. It's just repetitive at this point. We hear about the video tape again. Jean-Guy watches it again and gets bitter again about Gamache leaving him to die.

Honestly I ended up skimming most of the book after a while. I just didn't care anymore. Either tell readers who released the tape, of the raid or don't. Either have Jean-Guy get over it or not. I hope Annie dumps his butt but that's probably doubtful.

The writing was so-so. I just found it boring to read about the chants and what they meant. Everyone has a look of bliss/Joy when discussing singing. I found it pretty repetitive after a while. Penny shows Gamache and Jean-Guy at several points writing to their respective wife and girlfriend. I assume I'm supposed to imagine how perfect Jean-Guy is since he is acting similar to Gamache? I just went meh.

The setting of the monastery should have been intriguing, but falls flat when Francoeur shows up and throws his weight around.

The ending leaves Gamache alone. I'm still going to read the next book, hope it bounces back from this. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Penny just opened me up to an entirely new world of music. ( )
  amandanan | Jun 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (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)
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Penny, Louiseprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, LauraProducersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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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

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