13 December 2012

Review: THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, Louise Penny

  • Format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 684 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312655460
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (August 28, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0071VURHW
  • Source: I bought it

Synopsis (Amazon)

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.

My Take

This is a hard book to review without revealing too much more of the story than is disclosed in the synopsis. This book is not set in the village of Three Pines (as most of the earlier ones in the Gamache series are) although there are references to earlier plots.

In some senses it is a locked room mystery because the murder takes place in a gated community of 24 members so when Gamache arrives the murderer must still be present. It soon becomes apparent that identifying the murderer will be difficult - there are several who seem to have a motive. The monastery isn't the harmonious enclave that one might expect, divisions have been building for some time.

Gamache is struck by the fact that the Gilbertine order was founded by a supporter of Thomas a Becket and he keeps thinking of the line from Murder in the Cathedral: Will no one rid  me of this meddlesome priest?

There is danger for Gamache too which becomes obvious when his boss, the head of Quebec Surete arrives with some documents Gamache needs including the results of the post mortem on the body. But Francouer obviously has a hidden agenda.

Once again a most enjoyable offering from Louise Penny. Although I eventually guessed who the murderer was, I don't think it was obvious.

My rating: 4.9

I've also reviewed
4.8, THE CRUELLEST MONTH
4.9, A RULE AGAINST MURDER
4.9, THE BRUTAL TELLING
5.0, BURY YOUR DEAD
5.0, A TRICK OF THE LIGHT
4.5, THE HANGMAN - a novella 

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

So glad you liked this one, Kerrie. I'm a Penny/Inspector Gamache fan, but I just haven't gotten to this one yet *blush.* Good to know I've something to look forward to.

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