Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Beautiful Mystery

The Beautiful Mystery

A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Volume 8)

Louise Penny

Minotaur Books



Trade Paperback

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.

The Beautiful Mystery is the winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for best novel, the 2013 Anthony Award for best novel and the 2013 Macavity Award for best novel.

Audie Award Winner, Macavity Award - Winner, Macavity Award - Nominee, Anthony Awards - Nominee, Agatha Awards - Winner, Anthony Awards - Winner, Agatha Awards - Nominee



Louise Penny, The Beautiful Mystery Trailer

The Beautiful Mystery is the winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for best novel, the 2013 Anthony Award for best novel and the 2013 Macavity Award for best novel. When a renowned monastery choir director is murdered, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache discovers disquiet in the monastery. 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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Beautiful Mystery


Praise for The Beautiful Mystery

Agatha Award Winner, Best Novel 2012

Publishers Weekly Best Summer Book of 2012

Booklist's Top Ten Crime Novels for 2012

Macavity Award Finalist for Best Novel 2012

Anthony Award finalist for Best Novel 2012

“With enormous empathy for the troubled human soul--and an ending that makes your blood race and your heart break--Penny continues to raise the bar of her splendid series.”
People Magazine (4 out 4 stars)

“Penny writes with grace and intelligence about complex people struggling with complex emotions. But her great gift is her uncanny ability to describe what might seem indescribable – the play of light, the sound of celestial music, a quiet sense of peace.”
—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“Gorgeous writing…fresh and fully realized.”
The Washington Post

“For the reader, meanwhile, there's a final beautiful mystery to contemplate: How does Penny consistently write such luminous and compassionate books?”
The Seattle Times

“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.”
Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail

“Penny, the author, meets the challenge of setting a death in an utterly exotic location and then making the mystery and investigation just as enthralling. Never mind the side plot, a romance between the detective and his boss's daughter that seems too perfect to believe. This is mystery writing at its best, a novel in which everything – the crime, the characters, the setting, the plot – pulls the reader to the final pages.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Penny shows us the joy of the cloistered life as surely as she has shown us the joy of village life…for fans of the series, the resulting bombshell in the characters’ lives is as much like murder as anything ever delivered by a blunt instrument.”
The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer (Salem Macknee)

“Powerful… the road to the finale is the stuff of grand suspense.”
—Toronto Star

“With The Beautiful Mystery, there's no longer any doubt: Penny is Canada's best contemporary crime writer, among the best in the world, and one of our best writers, period.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Penny — who melds prose at once expressive and restrained with a keen understanding of human emotions — creates a novel that earns its title, a book that shines with the grace and compassion that stamp her work.”
Richmond Times Dispatch

“If it’s possible for Penny to outdo herself, she has accomplished it…In The Beautiful Mystery, she casts the meditative spell of Plainchant on the human spirit. With riveting suspense to the very last paragraph, Penny weaves a deepening web of intrigue as the two men battle their inner demons in the cloistered community, while the all-too-worldly politics of the religious community penetrates even the deep forests of Quebec Province.”

“Gamache and Beauvoir play off one another brilliantly, offering a stirring point/counterpoint with regard to the spiritual and secular issues that have become such an element of modern life.”
BookPage, Top Pick in Mystery

“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.”
—Linda Fairstein

“A. Ma. Zing! A remarkably courageous—and very beautiful—book that leaps the abyss between faith and despair.”
—Diana Gabaldon

“Elliptical and often oracular… also remarkably penetrating and humane. The most illuminating analogies are not to other contemporary detective fiction but to The Name of the Rose and Murder in the Cathedral.”
Kirkus Reviews

“An entire mystery novel centering on Gregorian chants (whose curiously hypnotic allure is called the "beautiful mystery")? Yes, indeed, and in the hands of the masterful Penny, the topic proves every bit as able to transfix readers as the chants do their listeners.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Elegant… This heart-rending tale is a marvelous addition to Penny's acclaimed series. Fans won't be disappointed.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Traditional mystery fans can look forward to a captivating whodunit plot, a clever fair-play clue concealed in plain view, and the deft use of humor to lighten the story's dark patches. On a deeper level, the crime provides a means for Penny's unusually empathic, all-too-fallible lead to unearth truths about human passions and weaknesses while avoiding simple answers.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

In the Press

Read the Kirkus Review of THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY . A prior's murder takes Quebec's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his sidekick, Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir, inside the walls of the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loupes. - Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Louise Penny

LOUISE PENNY is the author of the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times), and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada “for her contribution to Canadian culture.” Louise lives in a small village south of Montréal. Visit her on Facebook or at

Louise Penny




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