The Beautiful Mystery
A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
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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.
LOUISE PENNY is the New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of seven previous novels featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Her debut, Still Life, won the John Creasey Dagger and the Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys Awards, and was named one of the five Mystery/Crime Novels of the Decade by Deadly Pleasures magazine. Penny was the first author ever to win the Agatha Award for Best Novel four times--for A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, and The Brutal Telling (which also received the Anthony Award for Best Novel), and Bury Your Dead (which also won the Dilys, Arthur Ellis, Anthony, Macavity, and Nero Awards). She lives in a small village south of Montréal.
Ralph Cosham expertly presents Penny's writing, portraying Gamache's quietly thoughtful style and Beauvoir's earthy personality and giving each monk distinction and humanity…Quebecois accents and a sprinkling of French words flow seamlessly amid the story and add greatly to the listening pleasure.
In measured, sonorous tones and an accent reflective of the French Canadian setting, Cosham conjures the disquieting atmosphere of an isolated Quebec monastery, where the choir director's murder invades the monks' silence and evokes the pervasive influence of their chants…Penny's gorgeous prose sings in Cosham's hypnotic performance and mirrors the chants, with phrases repeated for emphasis and intensity, creating a musical cadence. This is a superior production of serious multidimensional drama, breathtakingly performed.
Cosham's approach enhances the reverent tone while still plucking Penny's ripe humor from the vines that weave their way throughout the dark plot. Penny has a gift with dialogue, and Cosham makes that gift pop for the audience…there is no mystery about the allure of Louise Penny's series or the beauty with which Ralph Cosham continues to narrate it. This is a series that should be experienced at least once on audio, and THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY is the perfect choice.
Not enough praise can be accorded Ralph Cosham, who has served as the reader for all the audiobooks in this series. His voice is simply magnificent.
Penny's dark atmosphere and characters are as always masterfully interpreted by narrator Ralph Cosham in his excellent, beautifully paced, fully-voiced narration...Listeners will want the next, the ninth, volume in the series as soon as possible. Excellent as always with the brilliant combination of Cosham and Penny.
This is much more than a whodunit; Penny renders her characters with real depth and puts them in an unusually intriguing setting and situation. And Ralph Cosham's excellent, empathetic narration enhances it all.
Narrator Ralph Cosham brings Penny's vivid descriptions and lyrical writing to life. His hypnotic voice and unhurried pace combine to draw the listener into the seemingly tranquil world of the monastery and its inhabitants. Cosham deftly handles the Quebecois accents and intricate plot twists, balancing the emotional tensions of this multilayered story.
The narration is fantastic with the occasional French phrase flowing beautifully off the tongue of narrator Ralph Cosham.
Louise Penny has crafted an almost perfect crime--haunting, puzzling, brilliant and indeed a most beautiful mystery. Chief Inspector Gamache is one of my favorite characters in fiction. Here he must penetrate a cloistered monastery deep in the northern woods of Quebec, where a murdered monk is his ticket to get in. This is a tour-de-force for Penny, and a thrilling, intelligent read.
A. Ma. Zing! A remarkably courageous--and very beautiful--book that leaps the abyss between faith and despair.
The superbly gifted Louise Penny is on my secret shortlist of must-read authors. A Trick of the Light will not only keep you engrossed from start to finish, it will teach you something new about love, truth, and the human heart.
Stellar. . . . Penny proves again that she is one of our finest writers.
Deceptively charming . . . delivering acute insights into the complicated motives of complex characters.
Penny, elevating herself to the pantheon that houses P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters, demonstrates an exquisite touch with characterization, plotting and artistic sensitivity.