The Beautiful Mystery

The Beautiful Mystery

Audiobook CD - 2012
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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.
Publisher: New York : Macmillan Audio, p2012.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9781427226099
Characteristics: 11 sound discs (13 hrs., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3 4/in.
Additional Contributors: Cosham, Ralph


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Nov 27, 2020

I'm giving this book 3.75 stars, for the following reasons:
1) First, this is so much heavier than all of the previous books—even the one with the kidnapping of the young officer (no spoilers from me). The ending is just so sad.
2) Set almost exclusively in the monastery and with not even a brief side trip to Three Pines, there is no relief from the tone. I missed visiting with many of my favorite characters. And was hoping we'd learn if Rose finally winged her way back to Ruth.
3) As a recovering Catholic, I did find the story of these monks fascinating but also wondered who consecrated the host for them since they were monks and not priests.

I have Book #9 on my holds list and hope that things get resolved happily for our beloved characters.

Jul 28, 2020

The pace is ploddingly slow for the first 5 discs. Very repetitive descriptions of the abbey, the light, the garden, the walls. 'Let's stop now and describe the monks' robes' --- for the 5th time. The Gregorian chant info was interesting, at first, but by the 4th or 8th repetition it wasn't. I agree with review by Renzo that the narrator's vocal tic is very annoying. A little 'uh' before beginning to slide into some words. It became, for me, like waiting for the next drip from an irregularly dripping tap. The tone comes across as sort of pretentious -- both the narrator and the writing, trying too hard to be lyrical, or poetic. Although I've enjoyed a couple of other Gamache novels, I could not get interested in this one.

May 10, 2018

this is Penny's spin on a classic 'locked room mystery.'
although the monks are not expressly forbidden to leave the monastery where one of their own has been murdered, there is really no place to go once they step outside.
the pace is languid and one misses the presence of the inhabitants of three pines.
although the writing is lovely as ever, this book felt like part two of a trilogy where you feel there is more action to come in the next installment.

Sep 12, 2015


Ralph Gosham narrated Watership Down and I thought he did it well. Here, however, his reading bothered me. There's a little thing he does with his voice at the start of sentences.A little halting sound just before the first word .Also, he has a habit of occasionally trailing off the last word in a sentence so quietly, it is lost. The book deals with Plainsong and Gosham's voice has a similarly monotonic quality.

Jun 27, 2014

I was completely taken in by this story of a murder in a highly private monastery. The descriptions of monastic life and gregorian chants were detailed and interesting; I wouldn't have thought I'd have enjoyed the subject matter as much as I did. The main story is set against a backdrop of smaller sub-plots, and all are exciting. It made me want to read more of Penny's books and stop telling others I'm "not really a mystery person." If you're in doubt, pick it up!

Mar 28, 2014

Writing first, then spoilers: I didn't like this book quite as much as I liked others. There was even more introspective monologue than before and one of Jean Guy's made my eyes glaze... but then, by the end of the book, I wasn't caring what Jean Guy was thinking anyway! I KNOW he's an addict and it's all Francoer's fault, but... Jean Guy can't possibly be that STUPID! How can the Superintendent not be removed, even with corruption in the Surete - he GAVE DRUGS to one of his inspectors! There should be fingerprints! How can that be seen as okay by anyone! If you can't tell, I'm wound up and sooooo frustrated! The next book is going to kill me! Back to this book - I did like the setting of the Monastery and the interest in the beginnings of written music.

Feb 02, 2014

The usual suspects appear in this Gamache book, and these characters, generally speaking, are nicely drawn. The dialog is overwritten in places.

Readers who are already familiar with plain song and numes will probably not be as excited as readers who have heard a chant or two, but never thought much about how they were first notated and transcribed.

My favorite thing about this book is how Penny makes each of the monks come to life, very gradually transforming the black-robed figures into very individual human beings who we the readers can recognize and love, in spite of (or because of) their idiosyncrasies.

Apr 13, 2013

Truly excellent. I wish I wasn't left so on pins-and-needles at the end. I guess I'll have to wait for her next book!

Oct 30, 2012

Penny does it again. An enthralling mystery and a very well narrated - it is so easy for audiobooks to be weak in plot of voice but The Beautiful Mystery has been one of the best I've listened to this year.

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