Thursday, November 15, 2012

The beautiful mystery

The latest novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Canadian writer, Louise Penny, is set in a monastery in a Quebec forest. Garmache and Beauvoir visit the monastery when a body is discovered in the abbot's garden. Only 24 monks live in the monastery so one of them must be the murderer. The brothers in the monastery normally live under a vow of silence but they are famous for their singing of Gregorian chants. In this novel Louise Penny explores the power of music and the power of silence. Music, particularly the Gregorian chants - the beautiful mystery - forms an important thread throughout the novel. The use and impact of light throughout the building is also a feature.   On the surface the monastery appears to be a place of peace and harmony, until the murder, but as Gamache and Beauvoir discover this is really a divided house with undercurrents of fear and mistrust amongst the inhabitants.

Corruption in the upper levels of the Surete du Quebec continues as a theme in this book. Parallel with the life in the monastery Gamache and Beauvoir are still recovering from wounds, both physical and mental, received in an incident some months earlier. They respond to the quiet and routine of monastic life in different ways and were both making a slow recovery until Superindent Francoeur arrived at the monastery with his own agenda.

Once again Louise Penny presents the reader with a memorable plot, great descriptions of the location and the further development of the characters of Amand Gamarche and Jean-Guy Beauvoir along with the other participants in the story. The ending makes it clear that the story has not ended and I look forward to the next installment.

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