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.
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
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
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 on Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light
Stellar. . . . Penny proves again that she is one of our finest writers.
— People Magazine (4 out of 4 stars) on Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light
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) on Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light
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) on Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light
This is a beautiful book, gorgeously written and carefully constructed.
— The Globe and Mail on Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light
“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…This is a tour de force for Penny, and a thrilling, intelligent read.”
— Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author
“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
“Penny writes with
grace and intelligence about complex people struggling with complex emotions.
But her great gift is her uncanny ability to describe what might seem
indescribable—the play of light, the sound of celestial music, a quiet sense of
— New York Times
empathy for the troubled human soul—and an ending that makes your blood race
and your heart break—Penny continues to raise the bar of her splendid series.”
— People (Editor’s Pick, 4 stars)
“Could a book by
Louise Penny have a better title than The
Beautiful Mystery? The title, like Penny’s fiction, has multiple layers.
First is the crime: the murder of the choir director of a monastery in the deep
woods of Quebec. Then there’s the joyous but inexplicable emotions the monks’
glorious liturgical singing invokes. And there’s the disconnect between the
monks’ vows of silence and their renowned singing. And then, of course, there’s
the mystery of religion itself…For the reader, meanwhile, there’s a final
beautiful mystery to contemplate: How does Penny consistently write such
luminous and compassionate books?”
— Seattle Times
“It’s a stirring,
thought-provoking read, less a matter of whodunit than a relentless questioning
of why any of us do anything. The
Beautiful Mystery…stands as a powerful literary novel in its own right.”
— Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Penny—who melds prose at once expressive and restrained with a keen understanding of human emotions—creates a novel that earns its title, a book that shines with the grace and compassion that stamp her work.”
— Richmond Times-Dispatch
captivating whodunit plot, a clever fair-play clue concealed in plain view, and
the deft use of humor to lighten the story’s dark patches. On a deeper level,
the crime provides a means for Penny’s unusually empathic, all-too-fallible
lead to unearth truths about human passions and weaknesses while avoiding
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An entire mystery
novel centering on Gregorian chants (whose curiously hypnotic allure is called
the “beautiful mystery”)? Yes, indeed, and in the hands of the masterful Penny,
the topic proves every bit as able to transfix readers as the chants do their
listeners…P. D. James, of course, has made a career out of taking her sleuth,
Adam Dalgliesh, into closed worlds to investigate murders, and while Penny
follows that formula, she layers her plots more intricately than does James…Of
course, there is always something mammoth roiling away beneath the surface of
Penny’s novels—but this time the roiling is set against the serenity of the
chanting, producing a melody of uncommon complexity and beauty.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“One of the joys of detective fiction.”
— Herald Sun
“Penny shows us the
joy of the cloistered life as surely as she has shown us the joy of village
life…For fans of the series, the resulting bombshell in the characters’ lives
is as much like murder as anything ever delivered by a blunt instrument.”
— Charlotte Observer
“With The Beautiful Mystery, there’s no longer
any doubt: Penny is Canada’s best contemporary crime writer, among the best in
the world, and one of our best writers, period.”
— Winnipeg Free Press
tale is a marvelous addition to Penny’s acclaimed series.”
— Library Journal
penetrating and humane. The most illuminating analogies are not to other
contemporary detective fiction but to The
Name of the Rose and Murder in the
— Kirkus Reviews