Postcards from Three Pines: The Beautiful Mystery

The Beautiful Mystery Postcard
“Just spent a quiet night at the Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac. The only sound was the monks singing Gregorian Chants. Hope I can capture this feeling of peace in the book. This really is a “beautiful mystery”.”

The abbot led the small procession, followed by Frères Simon and Charles. Then Captain Charbonneau at the head of the stretcher and Beauvoir behind. Gamache was the last to leave the abbot’s garden, closing the bookcase behind him.

They walked into the rainbow corridor. The joyful colors played on the body, and the mourners. As they arrived at the church, the rest of the community stood and filed from the benches. Joining them. Walking behind Gamache.

The abbot, Dom Philippe, began to recite a prayer. Not the rosary. Something else. And then Gamache realized the abbot wasn’t speaking. He was singing. And it wasn’t simply a prayer. It was a chant.

A Gregorian chant.

Slowly the other monks joined in and the singing swelled to fill the corridor, and join with the light. It would have been beautiful, if not for the certainty that one of the men singing the words of God, in the voice of God, was a killer.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: The Beautiful Mystery

  1. Michele Harris says:

    This story was chilling given that the events happened in a monastery. I remained riveted as the plot unfolded, trying to discern the identity of the killer!
    As always, the character and relationship of Gamache and Jean Beauvoir was compelling!

    • Julie Montgomery says:

      This was my first Game he book, the one that sent me back to read the entire series in order (the first time)!

    • Maurice Diette says:

      I feel likewise about your well articulated comments Michele Harris. Louise Penny introduces us to a culture that most of us know little about. I am able to relate to the spiritual beauty of Gregorian Chant!

      • Susan Adams says:

        I grew up on a small lake with a Cistercian monastery along its far shore. On summer evenings the monks in their robes and carrying flaming torches filed down the water, climbed into their oversized canoes, and paddled around the lake singing Gregorian chants. One of the most magical of my childhood memories.

  2. Kay Bross says:

    I agree with Michele, it was a most riveting storyline. I believe the ending of this one, above all others in the series, left me craving the next book to see what developed in the Gamache-Beauvoir relationship.

  3. Diane Brokenshire says:

    I am currently rereading all your wonderful books as I await the arrival of Kingdom of the Blind. A Beautiful Mystery was a masterpiece of story telling. Your deft touch in weaving the sacred within the.murder plot was respectful and astounding to me. Your grace at doing so is just one reason it MAY be my favourite of your books. I await the next and say once again. Thank you Louise.

  4. Pat says:

    I love this series but my favorites so far are the stories from Bury Your Dead to How The Lightening Gets In. The subplot thru these are wonderful story telling.

  5. Cyndi Kibler says:

    This book was a pivotal moment in the Gamache series, where Beauvoir’s internal struggle really revealed itself. His story line in the books that followed, left me with both tears of sadness and jubilation- sometimes at the same time! What a beautifully written story. A little caveat: I recently visited Canada, and was able to go to the Saint Benedict Abbey. It was magical, mysterious and just amazing to see this place, after reading The Beautiful Mystery. And those monks make the BEST jams, honey and cheese, BTW. ;-)

  6. Alice Briggs says:

    I remember being so sad for Jean-Guy while reading this book. The strength of this story arc and others throughout the series deepens our investment in your characters.

  7. Barbara Harrison says:

    This was the first Gamanche book for me and was drawn to it by the cover art. Never underestimate a great cover. Still my fave but imagine the pleasure I had discovering Three Pines et al. Went back and blasted through the series.


    Of all the spots in and around Knowlton that were advertised as being significant spots as you wrote your books, I loved, loved the Abbey most. We were able to experience the worship part which included the chanting. I still find it chillingly holy in my memory. If I ever get back to the Knowlton area, it will be the Abbey that calls me there.

  9. Marc Kéroack says:

    This was my first Gamache, too, and it hooked me! I’ve read them all now and am waiting (patiently?) for the next one.

  10. Adele Lott says:

    This is my favorite Chief Inspector Gamache story (although I DO love them all). The setting is so real, I can hear the chants, see the frere, feel the solitude. Once again, the description is so perfect I am there.

  11. Jill says:

    mesmerizing!!!! I absolutely loved it
    Also, such a lesson learned about history
    Thank you.

  12. Ginger Shaw says:

    I remember when Louise came to Vancouver for the Van Writer’s Festival. The Compline Choir of Christ Church Cathedral was on the stage with her to sing Gregorian chant for us, and show us the music which was used. It was a moving presentation, for sure.

  13. Pat Griffin says:

    This was the first Three Pines novel that I read, or should I say, listened to? I recieved an audiobook at Book Expo in New York and met Louise. This book is the most sumptuous feast for the ears, and got me hooked on the series. Now, I can’t wait for the next book!

  14. I took a room in Magog and went to the Abbey. I read a beautiful mystery in the Townships. I love reading the books while in Canada.
    The relationship, the broken bromance between Jean Guy and Chief Gamache is explored in this book. Jean Guy is broken. The internal dialogues in each man uncovers a lot about each.
    The chant at the Abbey is beautiful and is a mystery in itself. Of course, I have loved Gregorian Chant since being a Canadian Catholic boy. So, spending time with a book in an Abbey in the Townships, was a literary treat

  15. Gary Locke says:

    My favorite Gamache novel, and one of my favorite mysteries ever.

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