Summary: A previously hidden order of monks calls on Gamache when their Prior is murdered.
Louise Penny has frequently hinted at religious issues in the previous books. But with Beautiful Mystery, set in a monastery, religious thoughts are on full display.
Penny is playing with the recent popularity of Gregorian Chant. In her fictional world, the rise of interest about Gregorian Chant is the responsibility of a previously hidden order of monks from rural Canada.
This order was among the earliest settlers of Quebec to escape potential investigation by the Inquisition. And once established, they fell off the radar of the church and intentionally hid.
Only the Abbot left the monastery, to recruit new monks and to trade with other monasteries (a weakness in the plot). But not everything could be made in house or traded for. The nearly 400 year old monastery decided to make a small CD to sell to raise money for needed repairs to the monastery.
But the CD took off and set off a split within the monks between those that wanted to remain apart from the world (with a vow of silence) and those that wanted to go into the world make more music and spread the message of Gregorian Chant.
There is a faint Dan Brown hint to the story but it is only a side story. The main mystery is traditional Gamache. And Gamache’s own issues with the bureaucracy come to the fore in this book and keep going in the next book.
I am sure that everyone is getting tired of my reviews of 8 Gamache novels in 3 months. I have started book 9, but there are only 10 published, so you don’t have many more reviews to ignore before I will be onto something else.