Customer Reviews for

The Beautiful Mystery (Armand Gamache Series #8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

If I could rate this book 10 stars I would. When I finished the

If I could rate this book 10 stars I would. When I finished the last
page, all I could think was that I can’t wait for another year to see
what happens with the story. When I first started reading the book and
realized that it all takes place in a monastery with no Thr...
If I could rate this book 10 stars I would. When I finished the last
page, all I could think was that I can’t wait for another year to see
what happens with the story. When I first started reading the book and
realized that it all takes place in a monastery with no Three Pines
interaction, I wondered how the emotional pull in all of Ms. Penny’s
books, would happen in this book. No worries on that score! Chief
Inspector Armand Gamache and his second in command Jean-Guy Beauvior
have been sent to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups to
investigate the murder of one of the monks. The monastery is a closed
one and the monks follow the vow of silence. Hundreds of years before
the monks fled France and the Inquisition and had supposedly disappeared
as an order. Two years prior to the murder, the monks had released a
recording of them singing Gregorian chants and “blown their cover”.
No-one is allowed into the monastery and the resultant fame from the
recording has caused dissention among the monks. Gamache and Beauvior
have to work through the stories of the men living in a closed
environment and find the truth about the murder. The isolation of the
location and the certainty that the murderer is one of the monks adds to
the eeriness of the situation. The recurring theme of the book seems to
me to be that the men who have come to live there regard it as their own
slice of Eden. They live for love of their God and the music. They
lead simple but fulfilled lives and the music recording meant to raise
money for repairs and to maintain their way of life has actually
introduced the serpent in the garden. Gamache and Beauvior find a group
living in harmony with a common bond but they also find the cracks and
need to find out what was the issue that led one of the monks to kill.
There is also an overlapping theme about the nature of the chants and
the history of written music as it relates to Gregorian chants that is
quite interesting. Gamache and Beauvior have put the trauma of two years
before behind them and are seemingly in a good place. Beauvior has
become free of his addiction to pain killers and is secretly dating
Gamache’s daughter Annie. He is happy with his life. Gamache still
carries the physical and emotional scars from that time as well but he
has made a sort of peace with it. The two men are forced to re-evaluate
their feelings when their own personal serpent arrives at the monastery
and begins to spread his poison. The ending of the book is heart
wrenching and will leave the reader hungry for the next installment in
the series. Ms. Penny does a wonderful job of putting the reader into
the minds of the characters so that their hurts become our hurts and we
really care about what happens next.

posted by SharonRedfern on August 28, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

The Mystery was OK. I would have liked more insight into the pe

The Mystery was OK. I would have liked more insight into the perp's background and psyche. Hate the on-going conflict between Gamache, Beauvoir and the evil Chief Françoeur. Loved the first books. Not sure I'll buy another in this series unless it returns to Twin Pin...
The Mystery was OK. I would have liked more insight into the perp's background and psyche. Hate the on-going conflict between Gamache, Beauvoir and the evil Chief Françoeur. Loved the first books. Not sure I'll buy another in this series unless it returns to Twin Pines.

posted by 2894730 on August 31, 2012

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  • Posted February 24, 2013

    I have loved every Gamache novel. The Beautiful Mystery did not

    I have loved every Gamache novel. The Beautiful Mystery did not disappoint.  Please, Ms Penny, when will the next book be published?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    highly recommended

    Change of venue but intriguing. Well-written, suspenseful. Can't wait for the sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Armand Gamache is my favorite detective, hands down.

    I absolutely LOVE these books! They're one of the few mystery series that stay with me for awhile - I ponder over and re-think the details and the characters for days after finishing reading them. And I'm always sorry to see that last page show up. Can't wait for the next novel in the series!

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The mystery in the title has little to do with the murder that t

    The mystery in the title has little to do with the murder that takes place at a remote monastery in Quebec. Its cloistered monks are famed for their chant of unearthly beauty. When violence disrupts the serenity of the quiet halls and beautiful chapel, Chief Inspector Gamache and his assistant Inspector Beauvoir are called in. Shortly after their arrival, the Superintendent of the Surete, Sylvaine Francouer, with whom Gamache has had a long loathe affair shows up. He rapidly becomes "the man you love to hate", as he wreaks havoc on the investigation and plays cruel mind games with the two inspectors. I felt totally immersed in this exotic locale, and wished I could hear the beautiful plainsongs described. This is a great novel, and I look forward to more in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    I have read all of the Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny and all of them a spellbinding. Some I have read twice.

    The Beautiful Mystery, like all the books in this series keep you reading straight through. There is always a surpise ending that keeps you on the alert for the next book. Excellent writing, great story.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    Read the series!

    This is the best series I have read in quite some time. The writing is wonderful and holds you in its spell from the first chapter until the end. This latest book in the series is as wonderful as the first. Read them all in order.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Gregorian Chants Cause Murder

    I have always loved hearing these enchanting songs. Now, they become the center piece of murder among the monks. Louise, hurry up and write #9.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    Louise Penny never disappoints!

    I've read all of Louise Penny's Armand Gamache mysteries and I've loved them all! The Beautiful Mystery doesn't have the usual cast of quirky characters, they are replaced by quirky monks.
    Penny's writing makes you feel like you are right there with Gamache. It's always a unique experience ... More than just "reading a book"!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    A very good read and not just the same old thing!!

    I have read all of Louise Penny's mysteries and highly recommend them. I also look forward to her monthly Newsletter. This latest mystery, in a Monastery, informs you about Chants and has several twists and turns to keep you wondering. I enjoyed every word. You can't help but care for Armand Gamache, a man with a heart and a conscience. This is not a gory mystery. Hurrah!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    Beautifully written, a different flavor for Penny fans.

    Not your usual suspects - a locked door mystery set in a monastery, removed from civilazation, and one of the monks has to be the killer. Beautifully written but a whole new feel to the book without the familiar ensemble of characters and village life. This book concentrates on Armand and Jean Guy with a little too much angst and personal turbulence for my taste. A lot of references to action and problems introduced in earlier books - this book feels a bit like Penny wanted to tie up some loose ends while actually opening up new plots for future books. The ending in particular is an obvious invitation to stay tuned, there's more to come. But the mystery itself, setting aside the tangents, is excellent. Keeps you reading ... and guessing.

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  • Posted October 6, 2012

    A beautiful story, beautifully written

    Initially I was disappointed that the story was outside of Three Pines until the beauty of Ms. Penny's words touched my heart and mind, as all the previous books in the series have done. The virtues of the Inspector make him a role model, and I was delighted to see him challenged inside the monastery as he is in Quebec. Taking the story into a completely new environment eliminated some of the formulaic approach to the earlier novels, and the well-researched music theory lifted the story to a new plane. The ending suggests that there is at least 1 more in the series, and I am waiting eagerly for it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    A must have book!

    Another Louise Penny mystery that stays with you long after you finish the book. One of the few writers that I have to own a hard copy of each book she has written so that I can pick it up and reread despite my addiction to the Nook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Penny just keeps getting better and better. Having been raised Catholic, I find she is incredibly knowledgeable about the inner workings of the Church and uses this knowledge to weave another amazing mystery. Keep them coming!

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Love this writer

    I ordered this as soon as it came out for my nook tablet. I am a huge Louise Penny fan. I am reminded of PD James, Anne Perry and the Dame Christie. If any of these authors are familiar to you you are already reading Penny or should be.
    I started reading and stopped after one chapter. I decided I wanted to read this series in order. So I went online, noted what I had already read and then ordered Still Life, book one of Gamache series. Is background of the main characters of this series necessary to enjoy any of the books in this series? No. They each easily stand alone. Simply my personal preference in regards to authors and series I enjoy. I would count Louise Penny in my top five of go to authors when its a day of reading, chilling and getting lost. I absolutely recommend this book. This author. This series. This book remains prominently on my feed teasing me to get to it. Will my will power be stronger than its draw? Who cares. All part of the fun!

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    Thoughtful and stirring mystery series

    The Armand Gamache series has grown into a truly unique reading experience. Louise Penny's characters continue to grow and change. Her prose is distinctive and thoughtful. The dialogue, especially between Gamache and Jean Guy, is precise and clever - not a word is wasted. The books set in Three Pines will always be my favorites but watching Gamache navigate his way through a "locked room" murder investigation among monks who are more observant and opaque even than he is proved to be very entertaining. Penny's unpredictable storylines for these wonderful characters may leave you gasping - and then eager for the next book, which never comes soon enough! As always, Ralph Cosham's narration perfectly captures the depth of Gamache's personality, the care and humor shared by the main characters, and the beauty of Louise Penny's style.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I loved the book - I read the books first and then listen to them. Ralph Cosham is the perfect voice for these books. Keep them coming Ms. Penny, I can't wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    You have to read this series - it is excellent -can't say enough good

    Louise Penny does such a terrific job with her descriptions and her character development is second to none. You become invested in and attached to the characters. I cannot wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    Highly recommend

    I felt like I was walking right along with the characters, and seeing the scenery through her eyes....good story plot. Plus learning a little about Canada and their customs, laws...I have read all her books to date and enjoy the series.

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Addition to the Series!

    Louise Penny is one of my favorite contemporary writers. Her writing style is clear, yet it captures modern sensibility in the way people think about, observe, and infer from their surroundings. She also captures a very modern sense of humor in the thoughts and conversations of her characters. When I read her works, I think she ushers in the new Golden Age of detective fiction.

    In this story it is Inspector Gamache and his right-hand man, Beauvoir, who purposefully cloister themselves with the monks of St. Gilbert Entres les Loups (I hope I spelled that correctly). The author has created a heavenly monastery and consistently demonstrates a great sensitivity for the beliefs of these men. While she tells this story of a murder among the pious, she also moves forward the stories of Gamache and Beauvoir who are still coping with the fallout from the disastrous raid on the factory (described in "Bury Your Dead" which is No. 6 in the series).

    When I finished this book, all I could think was, "I want MORE."

    As I wait for the next Armande Gamache story, I am reading "This is Your Brain on Music," a work of non-fiction that is mentioned in the notes. :)

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    A Beautiful Story as well...

    I begin by saying I have been a Gamache Groupie since I first discovered him 2 years ago in one of Louise Penny's earlier books. Needless to say I have read each and every book she wrote and am among those who wait breathlessly for the next installment. In this particular book her writing is crystalline and her attention to detail meticulous. She manages to make practically audible the famous Gregorian Chants simply through her words. (I am inspired to learn more about these chants.) Louise Penny obviously put a great deal of research into the preparation. The characters who have frequented the earlier stories are developed more deeply, in this particular case Armand Gamache and Jean Guy Beauvoir. I would highly recommend this book for a book club discussion because this story gives much 'food' for thought.

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