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The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Gamache (Book 8)
  • Audio CD: 11 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427226091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427226099
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (916 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“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.” – AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award Winner

“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.” – Booklist, starred review

“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.” – Shelf Awareness

“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.” – Newark Star-Ledger

“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.” – Sound Commentary

“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.” – BookPage

“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.” – Library Journal

“The narration is fantastic with the occasional French phrase flowing beautifully off the tongue of narrator Ralph Cosham.” – Brookings Register Weekend

Praise for  the print edition of Louise Penny's The Beautiful 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

Praise for Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light:

"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." —Lisa Scottoline, author of Save Me

“Stellar. . . . Penny proves again that she is one of our finest writers.” —People Magazine (4 out of 4 stars)

“Deceptively charming . . . delivering acute insights into the complicated motives of complex characters." —New York Times Book Review (one of the Notable Crime Books of 2011)

"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." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This is a beautiful book, gorgeously written and carefully constructed.” —The Globe and Mail

About the Author

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.

More About the Author

LOUISE PENNY is an award-winning journalist who worked for many years for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She lives in a small village south of Montréal where she writes, skis, and volunteers. Her bestselling first mystery, Still Life, was the winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards; and her second, A Fatal Grace, won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2008. Visit her website at

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be a very quick and interesting read.
Karen Shaw
If you love a good mystery, gripping well developed characters, and the beautifully written word then Louise Penny's books are for you.
The plain chants of the monastery will indeed reveal The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel.
Ronald T. Roseborough

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

178 of 195 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Beautiful Mystery" by Louise Penny is Penny's first book I've read, but it surely won't be the last. It is one of the best written, almost lyrical stories I've read in a long time. Yes, "The Beautiful Mystery" is part of a series of seven previous books starring Armand Gamache, but the book is an excellent novel that transcends its "police procedural" designation and becomes simply a beautifully written novel.

Set in Montreal, Surete Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is sent, along with his aide, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to a monastery hidden away in the hills and forests well outside the city. A monk has been found murdered in the garden and the head of the monastery - Dom Philippe - has reluctantly sent for the Surete to investigate the murder. But this is no ordinary monastery; the 24 monks living within have taken vows of silence and express their religion through their beautiful Gregorian chants. They had recorded their chants on a CD from which they hoped to earn a modest amount of money to fix up their dilapidated building. The order - the Gilbertines - was actually a renegade religious order who had fled England for Canada 400 years before. (The reader can learn an awful lot of history by reading this book.) But the CD of chants had struck a chord outside the monastery walls and had become a world-wide best-seller. Suddenly a previously obscure bunch of monks were famous for their singing and money, a by-product of their success, had become an issue in the congregation. There was division as the leaders couldn't decide whether or not to seize their success and record another CD of beautiful, spectral music.

But if the Gilbertine monks were caught up in power struggles, so were the members of the Surete sent to work the case.
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131 of 143 people found the following review helpful By eve on August 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I am a huge Louise Penny fan and have eagerly awaited each new arrival, I must confess I was a bit disappointed with this one. I found the ending melodramatic and Beauvoir's actions near the end simply unbelievable. I wish she would bring the factory raid chapter to a close and let these characters get on with their lives.
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105 of 116 people found the following review helpful By Linda Ritacco on September 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book was an enormous disappointment to me. I have been a fan of Louise Penny and her Armand Gamache since Still Life. Yes, it is true that it would be difficult to have yet another murder in Three Pines (too murderous for such a small place), but this setting was simply too claustrophobic. Just Armand and Jean-Guy locked into this desolate monastery. Also it is past time to finish with Francoeur. Ms Penny has made us care about her characters and now seems on the verge of destroying both Armand and Jean-Guy. It is time to restore both Jean-Guy and the Surete to full health. Truly, if this isn't done in the next book, I am afraid it will be my last Louise Penny book. I really hope that readers do not start with this book, they might miss the wonderful experience of the books that came before.
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By G. Kellner VINE VOICE on July 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
or maybe not. I have read a few Louise Penny books previously, and while I thought them pleasant and well-written, I didn't LOVE them. I loved this one. Everything about it, from the well-written and compelling mystery to the daily life of a Gilbertine monk. I loved the way the monks were portrayed, as being men of God, but human nonetheless. I loved the dilemma of the monks--to continue to serve God in their quiet, humble way, or to go forward into society with their chanting, to raise the money to fix the monastery. I loved the subtlety of their communications, and the subtle and nuanced writing. There is a lot of conflict here--quiet conflict, but the whole book is one conflict after another. The monks vs. modern life, vows of silence vs. commercial chanting, Gamache vs. Francoeur, Gamache vs. Beauvoir, the abbott vs. the prior--on and on. It made for entertaining reading, but above all, I loved the atmosphere, the isolation of the monks, the peacefullness, the solitude and how that was horribly interrupted by so base and human a thing as murder. I thought it was brilliant.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dr Crone on August 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've loved Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache books, but this one -- yet another variant on the classic closed room or closed site story -- seems to be stretching Gamache's history with internal Surete politics and a traumatic raid out too far. It also reads as if someone told her it would punch things up to use more sentence fragments, which I just found irritating. I like her creation of a lost religious order, the references to Gregorian chant, amd the strong visual sense of the locked monastery. I will of course continue to read the Gamache books as soon as they come out (Kindle book preorders are the ultimate instant gratification!) but I hope the next one puts some old history to bed and ditches the pseudo-journalistic style. Clearly there will be more of these, because the last chapter seems constructed to pack in as many cliff hangers as possible, short of an actual cliff.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Michael R Gilstrap on September 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a raving fan of Louise Penny and her Gamache novels, I pre-ordered on my Kindle and counted the days 'til delivery.

As a lover of medieval music and particularly Gregorian Chant, I was enamoured with the skillful and clever way she wove the music into her story and even into her actual prose. Really well done. Overall, I enjoyed the read and the story as well.

The frustrating part is that there really are two mysteries (at least) at play in this book--one of which is again left dangling. There is the fascinating mystery of the prior's murder and the many layers of relationship and intrigue within the dynamics of the monastery. Thankfully that one is resolved! On the other hand, there is the ongoing mystery of the factory raid--who leaked the video of the raid, and how its lingering effects shall finally be resolved in the lives of characters whom we love--that is not only left unresolved, but to my way of thinking, uncharacterisically (for Penny) muddled in a clumsy and ham-fisted way.

Perhaps it's the result of my own love for the music, but at times I found myself transported into the situations at the monastery through Penny's prose and her story of the chant's effect in the lives of the characters. When she dealt with the factory raid and the various streams and dynamics related to that story line, I found the writing almost cartoonish. Certainly clumsy and 2 dimensional.

Although I have loved all her novels, this is the first review that I've written. On reflection, I suppose that she had set such a high bar in previous stories, I expected the same high level to be achieved with this novel. In part she does achieve it. "The Beautiful Mystery" story of the prior's murder at the monastery is delivered skillfully.
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