Book Review: “The Beautiful Mystery” by Louise Penny

I’ve become quite a fan of this author.  This book was published in 2012 and is another in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.  It isn’t necessary to read them in sequence; I started with her most recent books and have been working my way backwards.

This story takes place in a remote monastery in Quebec called Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups where a murder takes place.  The abbot is forced to call the police and Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Beavoir from the Surete du Quebec are sent to investigate.  The choirmaster or prior was found murdered in the abbot’s private garden.  This particular monastery became famous a few years back for its recordings of Gregorian chants under the direction of this choirmaster.  One of the 23 monks living there committed the crime, but finding the killer proves difficult.  The abbot even lifts the vow of silence to help the detectives solve the crime, but few clues are available.  In order to solve the crime, the detectives move into the monastery.

This was a fascinating look into the reveals the flaws of human nature, not only of the monks, but also of the detectives.  The way of life in a monastery is very different from the rest of our culture, yet it is still survives.  Most of the monks crave the life for its simplicity and comradery, but also for the music.  Although the Gregorian chant has been sung in monasteries around the world, nowhere is it better than this little remote monastery.  The recording released years ago brought much needed money to repair the facility, but it also brought the attention of the rest of the world.

This book was fascinating for me.  I remember the release of the chants many years ago and was captivated by its beauty.  I don’t know where it was recorded, but I haven’t heard about any more recordings being released.  Good read.

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