Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

Some authors pen 2 or 3 books a year (a wonderful treat for us readers), while others pen only one.

179987866Author Louise Penny is one of those authors who pens only one book a year and what a book she has this year. Penny’s latest release is THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, a Chief Inspector Gamache novel, well worth the wait.

The book is intense, powerful, suspenseful, nerve-racking, moving - an out-and-out great story. The narration by Ralph Cosham just boosts the story up a notch further. The audio also offers snippets of the enchanting music featured in the story. 

Cosham does an excellent job portraying Chief Inspector Armand Gamache interrupting his emotions, his highs and lows. In addition, Cosham gives unique voices to each of the other characters. He brings the characters to life with his distinct accents and cadence drawing the listener into this amazing tale. Not to disparage Penny’s wonderful story, but Cosham has an alluring voice that would make even the reading of a phone directory captivating.

The choir director of a forgotten order of monks in northern Quebec has been murdered. Gamache and his second in command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, of the Sûreté de Québec are called in to investigate. They are the first outsiders allowed in the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups (St. Gilbert Among the Wolves). The monks’ vow of silence has been lifted, but still they are not forthcoming with information.

The Gilbertine monks have been forgotten for hundreds of years. A recording of their beautiful ancient chants has made them world-famous and caused a division among the monks. Something tipped the scales causing one brother to kill another.

As Gamache and Beauvoir search for clues, they each are tormented by demons of their own. In their search for the killer there are twists and turns to provide a number of plausible suspects. When Superintendent Sylvain Francoeur shows up unexpectedly, Gamache is faced with new emotions and uncertainness that could effect his entire family.

The powerful emotions of the lead characters pulls you into the story. Penny does an excellent job describing the monastery in such a way it becomes a character as well. 

Throughout the story one phrase/action is repeated - ‘deep breath in, deep breath out.’ Penny’s writing goes along these actions. She takes you to a critical tense moment only to change course in the next paragraph giving you time to catch your breath before returning to take you over the edge. The characters are well-developed with flaws listeners/readers can relate to. Listeners/readers become invested in the characters anticipating, dreading their next action for fear where it will lead while eagerly rushing for more.

THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY is the 8th installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, but is a stand alone book. Back story from previous books is scattered throughout, but will only heighten a new reader’s interest (in the series) while not leaving them in the dark.

Once you begin THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, you won’t be able to stop and it will stay with you long after the end. The book takes you on a wonderful journey of highs and lows, good and evil, friend and foe before leaving you breathlessly at the stunning conclusion gasping for more.

Author Louise Penny’s website is
THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY is slated to be released Aug. 28. 

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Read by Ralph Cosham, MacMillan Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1427226099, Unabridged, 11 Discs, Listening Time: 13 Hours 30 Minutes

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Are you easily pulled into stories? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope your day is filled with peace, wonderful friendship, a good book and maybe even a little music.


  1. Mason - Oh, you're highlighting one of my favourite series! I'm so very happy you liked this one as much as you did. I think Gamache is a terrific character and this one sounds like it's got an awful lot of well-drawn atmosphere, as Penny is prone to do.

  2. Margot, had it not been for one of your post I'm afraid that I might not have tried Penny's series and what a shame that would have been. In one of your FYI post you mention Macmillan was looking for reviewers for the audio version of Penny's A TRICK OF THE LIGHT. I checked into it and fell in love with the Gamache series. Thank you for the introduction.

  3. I haven't read a Louise Penny mystery in quite a while. This sounds like a must, must listen. Adding it to my TBR(L) list right now, Mason. Thanks!


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