The Beautiful Mystery

The Beautiful Mystery

Book - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, [2012], ©2012
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780312655464
0312655460
Branch Call Number: FICTION Pen
Description: viii, 373 pages ; 25 cm

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j
JMK1941
Aug 25, 2018

#8

h
harrissusanc
Jul 02, 2018

The monastery at Saint-Gilbert-Entre-Les-Loups breaks from tradition and calls on secular law and Inspector Gamache when its choir director is murdered. The methodical Gamache, overwhelmed by the sensation of Gregorian chants, while his boss undermines him, meets his soul among the monks. Classic mystery of atmosphere, character, and scholar’s plot, my first Louise Penny is not my last.

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brangwinn
Jun 19, 2018

I think of all the Chief Inspector Gamache novels, this is my favorite. I loved the connection made to the monastery and the origin of musical notation. As I became immersed in the mystery and Gregorian chants, I asked Alexa to play some chants. And yet at the end I am brought back to the reality of Gamache and the rot found the Surete and know that this thread will compel me to read the next book in the series as soon as it comes out.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 04, 2018

An award-winning, beautifully written, compelling mystery set in the serenity of a secluded monastery.

m
m0mmyl00
Dec 16, 2017

I loved this book. It’s my third Louise Penny book, and by far my favorite. Most probably the reason for my opinion is my long-time fascination with Gregorian chants. I was never fascinated enough to study them at all; in fact I didn’t know there was anything to study. But listening to them transported me to another state of consciousness. They sounded so ancient to me, and so intimate in some way. Like a whispered secret, or words spoken in code.
Penny did a masterful job of researching their history and meaning, as well as their place in worship. Her story (a murder mystery, of course) was set in a secluded monastery in which the chants were central to the monks’ worship and faith. To them, they were a communication with God.
Reading another reader’s review of Beautiful Mystery in which she states it provides background information to How the Light Gets In, I can see I’ll have to read that before I call a hiatus to my Louise Penny phase.

j
JLMason
Aug 08, 2017

The theme of a “band of brothers” riven by differences in fundamental beliefs drives this mystery set in a remote Quebec monastery where both the monks and the Sûreté du Québec are beset by internecine strife. Parallel conflicts play out, one rooted in murder, the other leading to a lost soul in turmoil. The reader learns about the origins of Gregorian chant and the development of early musical notation, which are central to the mystery. The narrative could have been tightened by removing some of the repetitive emotional wallowing and reliving of past trauma, but Penny’s strength is how she immerses us in the minds and motivations of her characters. We understand them, the dark and the light, and sometimes recognize ourselves.

w
WhidbeyIslander
Aug 05, 2017

As usual, the writing is the best thing about these books. Although this is a self-contained mystery, having read the previous books in order helps prevent some "huh?" moments. I thought it was a little too long, and I learned a little more about Gregorian chants than I need to know going forward in life. Plus, I was disappointed by the abrupt, pseudo-cliff-hanging ending. Oh, and the monk did it.

r
randalljay
Jun 17, 2017

I really liked the story around the monastery. Interesting characters and premise. I really got tired of the constant referral to the shooting in the warehouse and its aftereffects. But it's easy enough to skim over those parts and concentrate on the murder plot.

rb3221 Jun 05, 2017

The novel is situated in a locked monastery where monks sing Gregorian chants and the choir master is murdered by one of the remaining 23 monks.
The relationship between Gamache and Beauvoir continues with a surprising twist. Gamache's boss and clear enemy Francoeur shows up with a hidden agenda which causes lots of grief.
A shocking and unpleasant ending for Gamache and Beavoir; how will this relationship be worked out in the next novel?
I had mixed feelings as it was not my favorite Penny novel but still worth reading.

r
RuthRed
Jan 16, 2017

Louise Penny's books keep surpassing one another. She has an ability to graciously and compassionately portray so many perspectives, personalities and circumstances. And she doesn't shy away from some very real, very scary truths about people, their institutions and their struggles.

This book is a treasure.

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TDS2000
Sep 11, 2018

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behere
Aug 18, 2015

Gamache to Reine-Marie: "There's clearly something very wrong here, among the monks. An enmity. But when they sing it's like all of that never happened. They seem to go to another place. A deeper place. Where no quarrels exist. A place of contentment and peace. Not even joy, I think. But freedom. They seem free from the cares of the world. That young monk, Frère Luc, described it as letting go of all thought. I wonder if that's what freedom is?" p 105

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