Published: July 2, 2013
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 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.
This is the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series where a murder occurred elsewhere than Three Pines. The villagers of Three Pines played no part in this story what so ever.
I liked that we were taken inside the monastery of Saint Gilbert -Entre-les-Loups and shown hidden rooms and secret gardens. The characters of the twenty-four monks came to life in their daily prayers and chores.
Jean-Guy Beauvoir was there to help the Chief Inspector and we find out that he and Annie, the Chief Inspector’s daughter, have been dating for the last three months but keeping it a secret. He is also off the pain pills and I was so relieved to read that. Jean-Guy is a great character and I hate to see the person he becomes when he’s popping pills.
A day or so into the investigation, the Chief Inspector’s boss (who is a real a**hole and hates Gamache) shows up at the very remote monastery saying that’s he wants to help. HA! He is there to mind f**k Beauvoir and see what he can find out about Gamache that can be used to take him down.
Unbeknownst to Jean-Guy he plays right into his hands and is tricked into taking Oxycontin and almost overdose and Gamache has to take his gun and badge away and suspends him because he is argumentative and refuses to go to rehab when they get back to Montreal. The Chief Superintendent overrides Gamache and returns the gun and badge to Jean-Guy and they leave together. I hated when that happened because Jean -Guy, in his condition, can’t see that he is being horribly manipulated. He has turned his back on his friendship with Gamache and that’s the worse thing he could do.
We find out the killer of the monk near the end of the story and it wasn’t who I thought it was so that was good, because I really hated predictable story lines.
I love this series and have started number nine and by the blurb I can see that things are going to get a lot worse for the Chief Inspector before they get better.
Five stars *****