Minotaur Books 7/2/2013. New paperback. Store pick: Realizing that there was a murderer among his cloistered monks, the abbot reluctantly allows Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir inside the walls to investigate. Was it possible that the monks' love of singing the plainchant and communing with God, the very things that brought them together, would drive one of them to kill? This is the first of Louise Penny's books I've read, and I loved her detailed descriptions of the monastery, her very human characters, and her research into the history and meaning of the plainchants, also known as Gregorian Chants. Even though this is the 8th of a series, this book easily stands alone. --Kathleen Perry, store employee
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 Surete du Quebec. 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.