Extended Audio Sample

Download The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Audiobook, by Louise Penny Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (4,186 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Louise Penny Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Chief Inspector Gamache Novels Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781427226105
Regular Price: $19.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $15.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

Louise Penny, one of the most acclaimed crime writers of our time, offers up another brilliant novel in her New York Times bestselling Three Pines mystery series, featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

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 Sûreté du Québec. 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 harboring thoughts of 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 and restoring peace, the chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between.

Download and start listening now!

b80f

Quotes & Awards

  • “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
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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. BookPage
  • 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
  • “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 peace.”

    New York Times

  • “With enormous 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

  • “Excellent…A 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 simple answers.”

    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

  • “This heart-rending tale is a marvelous addition to Penny’s acclaimed series.”

    Library Journal

  • “Remarkably 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 Cathedral.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August 2012
  • A 2013 Booklist Top 10 Crime Fiction Audiobook
  • Selected for the September 2012 Indie Next List
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2013 Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery Novel
  • A 2013 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for Best Novel
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • An NPR Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2013 Audie Award for Mystery
  • Winner of Agatha Awards - Winner, 2012
  • Winner of Audie Award Winner, 2013
  • Winner of Anthony Awards - Winner, 2013
  • Nominated for Agatha Awards - Nominee, 2012
  • Nominated for Macavity Award - Nominee, 2013
  • Nominated for Anthony Awards - Nominee, 2013
  • Nominated for Anthony Awards - Nominee, 2012
  • Winner of Macavity Award - Winner, 2013

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica Rosner | 2/14/2014

    " In my real life now I am dealing with a not gracefully aging mother, the death of my beloved cousin, and an overwhelming workload with looming deadlines. This book took me away every time I listened to it. It began life with me as an audio book, but I bought the hardcover to have. So I listened while I worked, and when I was ready for bed, dove in to the words. It was escape, but more than that. It was a mostly non violent murder mystery, if that makes any sense. No serial killers, no dismemberment, no clever psychopaths killing with never before heard of methods. Just a murder. One man, a monk is killed. In a monastery. Where no one but monks have lived, or have left. So, as the inspector (Gamache) and his number one, Beauvoir, enter the monetary, so do we readers. Even with a murderer in their midst, I was envious. I wanted to chant, to pick blueberries, to know what each day would be like. So, for an hour or so each day, I was able to do just that. Would recommend to anyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michale | 2/5/2014

    " This series just keeps getting better. I particularly enjoy the way Penny weaves in story lines, whose seeds she planted in previous books, that come to fruition a few books down the line. Gamache and Beauvoir's relationship is filled with a beautiful tension she has nuanced through the entire series. I also can't help but notice that Gamache's talents - watchfulness, patience, the ability to ask simple yet direct questions, and the ego-less way he acknowledges what he doesn't know provide a good model for offering pastoral care, not just for solving murders. I was glad this book was not set in Three Pines, for a change of pace, and enjoyed the descriptions of the Abbey of St. Gilbert and its residents. Can't wait for the next one! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Candace | 1/22/2014

    " I found this book fascinating. Not only was the mystery interesting, the book took you into a world you don't normally see, a monastery in Quebec, and a look into the history of something musically mesmerizing, the gregorian chants. I love books that give me so much more than expected,and I was entralled from the beginning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harry Lane | 1/22/2014

    " Penny's characters are well developed and evolving through the series. Part of the charm is the Canadian setting, and in this particular volume, a remote monastery. Populated by only 24 monks, the murderer has to be one of them, making this close to a locked room mystery. Penny evokes an atmosphere that almost makes one feel the interplay of emotions among the suspects and investigators. Plus there is conflict among the police, which is unresolved at the end of this book. To be continued . . . . "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annelie Wendeberg | 1/20/2014

    " This is the best work of fiction I have read since years. If there is something like fine art fotography, THIS is fine art writing! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 1/16/2014

    " O Bravo!!!!!!! The best so far :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lexie | 1/11/2014

    " Mixed feelings about this one. I was most struck by the conflict between Gamache and Beauvoir ... and their mutual boss -- a man whose character opposes Gamache at every turn. The story, set in a remote monastery, had an almost meditative tone ... and not one character from Three Pines! Several cliffhangers by story's end ... and the tenacious effects of near-fatal traumas suffered a few books back. This series could go on forever -- there is so much richness of experience and character to delve into. I miss, though, the depth of descriptive writing, and the longer sentences, of previous Gamache stories (except for A Trick of the Light). Short, choppy sentences disrupted the flow of the story. Perhaps the author had in mind the officers' ruinous experience in Bury Your Dead, and its effects. The choppy writing style mirrors the lingering aftermaths of trauma, including the effects on cognition. The speeded-up style doesn't suit Armand Gamache, and I miss the tone of the earlier stories. I'd love to know what music author Louise Penny listened to while composing this book :-) Quotes: Spoken by a longtime monk: "If you go to the Vatican we're always hurrying down corridors looking important. Most of the time we're just trying to find a bathroom. The sad convergence of great Italian coffee and a shocking distance between toilets in the Vatican." (made me laugh out loud!) "... the Church doesn't like mysteries, except those of its own making." ... "I'm more the slow and steady type," said the abbot, looking straight ahead as they [he and Gamache] walked the slightly flawed path. "Not given to soaring." "But neither do you fall?" "We can all fall," said the abbot. "But perhaps not as hard and not as fast and not as far as someone who spends his life on the ascent." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen Freeman | 1/8/2014

    " What a great book, while I missed Three Pines, this was a wonderful story. I wish I didn't need to wait until August for the next in the series to be released. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 12/31/2013

    " Love a good mystery, thought the chants/monks was interesting. Would've given it 5 stars if she didn't leave us with a cliff hanger with Inspector Gamache and Beauvouir. Now, I have to wait for her next book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 12/29/2013

    " This was a wonderful book! I'm so glad she has left Three Pines and the story of the monastery and the murder of the prior was amazing. The ending was incredibly powerful and sad! Now, all of us just have to wait for the next one in the series! Hope it's not too long! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sylvia McNicoll | 12/25/2013

    " A slow moving mystery about a murder in a Quebec monastery, at one point it refers back to a deadly gunfight in a previous novel and the bad feelings and emotional fall out from it. I thought I've read all of Louise's work but I missed that one. Have to find that title and read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate Sometomato | 11/26/2013

    " EXCELLENT!!!! This book has everything: suspense and mystery, beauty, personal struggle, philosophy, visual and auditory descriptions, and the struggle between good and evil. PLUS the author leaves us with a bit of a cliff-hanger resolution so that we CAN'T WAIT for the next book in the series! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly.higgerson | 11/8/2013

    " Wonderful. Looking forward to her next book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda Smith | 10/28/2013

    " Just love the main characters. Have read all of her Inspector Gamache books. This book is out of the ordinary as it doesn't include Three Pines. Great French Canadian feel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth Vanderhart | 8/30/2013

    " Best in the series, in my opinion. Louise Penny writes beautifully. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nae | 7/9/2013

    " Awesome, awesome, awesome book. I cannot wait to read the other books this author has written! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jana Denardo | 6/13/2013

    " This is the best Gamache mystery I've read and at the same time the most frustrating. The subplot in this made me want to reach inside the book and slap Beavouir into next week (it doesn't help that I don't like him to begin with). The main mystery, however was very good "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Imasongbyrd | 11/10/2012

    " This book was riveting, I couldn't put it down. It had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end. But the ending made me very sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maja | 10/17/2012

    " This was my first Inspector Gamache novel and I really enjoyed it. Suspenseful and intriguing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea M. | 9/7/2012

    " When I found out that this book has nothing to do with Three Pines and all of the uniquely eccentric characters that live there, I was initially worried that I would be disappointed when I read it. However nothing could have been further from the truth. It ended up being a nice change of pace from the earlier novels (which I have enjoyed immensely). Louise Penny weaves a wonderfully crafted mystery that engaged me throughout. I found it extremely satisfying and recommend it highly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 A.W. | 9/1/2012

    " I love this mystery series and while this book focuses exclusively on Gamache and Inspector Beauvoir and none of the characters from Three Pines I still enjoyed it immensely. If you really like a great mystery this book does not disappoint. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy Z. | 8/23/2012

    " This was a pretty decent entry in the series but I felt like the absence of the Three Pines characters detracted a bit from my enjoyment of the story. I applaud the author for moving in another direction with the series but I really like those characters and they add that little "extra" to the earlier books if you know what I mean. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 cv13 | 8/18/2012

    " I honestly think this is the best book in the Inspector Gamache series. It has everything - excellent character development, an intricate but accessible plot and a fantastic surprise ending. I enjoyed it quite a bit as I'm sure you can tell. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 D.P. | 8/12/2012

    " This book started off great but eventually veered off course into a tired subplot that the author has frequently over-employed in past books. Unfortunately that ruined the book for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clara W. | 8/10/2012

    " This was a fascinating mystery from a brilliant author IMO. The plot moves along briskly and the ending was a real shocker. A very satisfying read! "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Louise Penny

Louise Penny is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and multiple Agatha Awards and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada “for her contribution to Canadian culture.”

About the Narrator

Ralph Cosham (1936–2014), a.k.a. Geoffrey Howard, was a British journalist who changed careers to become a narrator and screen and stage actor. He performed in more than one hundred professional theatrical roles, and several of his narrations were named “Audio Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. He won seven AudioFile Earphones Awards, and in 2013 he won the coveted Audie Award for Best Mystery Narration for his reading of Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery.