An award-winning, beautifully written, compelling mystery set in the serenity of a secluded monastery.
Ralph Gosham narrated Watership Down and I thought he did it well. Here, however, his reading bothered me. There's a little thing he does with his voice at the start of sentences.A little halting sound just before the first word .Also, he has a habit of occasionally trailing off the last word in a sentence so quietly, it is lost. The book deals with Plainsong and Gosham's voice has a similarly monotonic quality.
I was completely taken in by this story of a murder in a highly private monastery. The descriptions of monastic life and gregorian chants were detailed and interesting; I wouldn't have thought I'd have enjoyed the subject matter as much as I did. The main story is set against a backdrop of smaller sub-plots, and all are exciting. It made me want to read more of Penny's books and stop telling others I'm "not really a mystery person." If you're in doubt, pick it up!
Writing first, then spoilers: I didn't like this book quite as much as I liked others. There was even more introspective monologue than before and one of Jean Guy's made my eyes glaze... but then, by the end of the book, I wasn't caring what Jean Guy was thinking anyway! I KNOW he's an addict and it's all Francoer's fault, but... Jean Guy can't possibly be that STUPID! How can the Superintendent not be removed, even with corruption in the Surete - he GAVE DRUGS to one of his inspectors! There should be fingerprints! How can that be seen as okay by anyone! If you can't tell, I'm wound up and sooooo frustrated! The next book is going to kill me! Back to this book - I did like the setting of the Monastery and the interest in the beginnings of written music.
The usual suspects appear in this Gamache book, and these characters, generally speaking, are nicely drawn. The dialog is overwritten in places.
Readers who are already familiar with plain song and numes will probably not be as excited as readers who have heard a chant or two, but never thought much about how they were first notated and transcribed.
My favorite thing about this book is how Penny makes each of the monks come to life, very gradually transforming the black-robed figures into very individual human beings who we the readers can recognize and love, in spite of (or because of) their idiosyncrasies.
Truly excellent. I wish I wasn't left so on pins-and-needles at the end. I guess I'll have to wait for her next book!
Penny does it again. An enthralling mystery and a very well narrated - it is so easy for audiobooks to be weak in plot of voice but The Beautiful Mystery has been one of the best I've listened to this year.
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