My review of the audiobook of A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am reprinting it here with their permission.
Louise Penny ventures out of Three Pines for her eighth novel featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. The change of setting and characters doesn’t faze long-time series narrator Ralph Cosham, however.
Gamache and his right-hand-inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir must dare to go where few have gone before and where no layman has: the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups. The monks are famous for singing Gregorian chants, and while Penny does not write much for Cosham to sing, what he does harmonize is rich and soothing, an earworm listeners won’t mind having stuck in their heads.
Cosham’s approach to The Beautiful Mystery enhances the reverent tone while still plucking Penny’s ripe humor from the vines that weave their ways throughout the dark plot. Penny has a gift with dialogue, and Cosham makes that gift pop for the audience.
The French words and phrases peppered throughout the narrative roll flawlessly off Cosham’s tongue, and he translates the starkly differing emotional effects of seclusion on each of Penny’s main characters: Gamache is cloaked in wonderment; he finds freedom and release through introspection, connecting with his soul. Beauvoir, on the other hand, suffocates, slowly choking away his sanity.
“The Beautiful Mystery” of which this novel derives its name is the allure of the Gregorian chants. But 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. The Beautiful Mystery is a perfect choice to experience.
The Beautiful Mystery is available as an audiobook from MacMillan Audio (ISBN: 978142722609) and in hardcover (ISBN: 978031265546) from Minotaur Books.