Monday, May 27, 2013

New Book to be Released: How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

Today, I finished reading The Beautiful Mystery, a murder mystery that features Gregorian Chants that connects with the murder of Thomas Beckett and includes a continuation of events in Penny's previous book, Bury Your Dead. This is 41/2 stars for me.  I loved it.  This book made me think, laugh out loud, feel anger, anxiety, and sadness. I loved the dialogue.  I loved all the subplots in the story.  I  loved the historical elements about the music, the monks, the Jesuits.  I loved the contrasts in the story of harmony and disharmony.  The fabulous acoustics in the chapel as described by the writer reminded me of  the Church of St. Anne in Israel.  I am looking forward to the next book, How the Light Gets In, which will be released in August to see how the relationships between Chief Inspector Gamache and Lieutenant Beauvoir and Beauvoir and Anne, the Chief's daughter, develop. 

To Be Released:New Book by Jeannette Walls

Jeanette Walls has a new book that will be released on June 11th titled The Silver Star.  Our book club chose her first book, The Glass Castle, for discussion in 2005 and it is one of my favorite reads. If you are a fan of the bestseller, The Glass Castle, you will enjoy this article in the New York Times.  Jeannette's Mom is a hoarder so I love the photo with the article. Jeannette and her mother are sitting in the middle of the clutter in a cottage where the mother resides.  Having read the Glass Castle, this is how I imagine her mother would be living.  The article refers to the smell of cat urine on entering the cottage, garbage and a junk room.  I am not surprised by those details. Here is one new thing I got from the article. One motivation for Walls to write her memoir,The Glass Castle, had to do with her learning that the Church of Scientology was about to look into her background. I tried to find the article that Walls wrote that probably upset the church enough to investigate her but found nothing.  Could it be this one about Jenna Elman, updated 2/15/05? Or this one about Tom Cruise updated 1/21/2004? I have no idea but I am curious.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Frere Mathieu Entre Les Loups/Brother Matthew Among the Wolves

The monastery lit up with rainbows, prisms and cheerful natural light is the scene of an ugly dark crime.  I am fascinated by the contrasts and the ironies in this story Beautiful Mystery set at an isolated monastery in Quebec called Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups translated as St. Gilbert Among the Wolves.  However it was Frere Mathieu who was among the wolves because he is dead and it appears that his murderer is one of his brother monks who sing Greorian chants in his choir.  The Gregorian chants are likened to the voice of God yet one singer of the Divine is a murderer. These monks have taken a vow of silence yet they are famous in the outside world for their singing voice.   Twenty four voices used to sing in harmony and the death of one has left the community of  twenty three unbalanced and the divisions among them are about to be revealed to Inspector Gamache and his assistant Beauvoir.  The two must investigate what started the rifts.

I believe I see evidence of foreshadowing when Inspector Gamache suggests that if the killer flees the monastery he would have to leave through the door guarded by Frere Luc who holds the key.  Could Luc be in danger of being hurt or killed?  Communication with the outside world is limited and I suspect that bit of information may be important later in the story.  Gamache and Beauvoir are able to communicate with the love of their lives by Blackberry adding realism to the story.

The story reminded me of Dissolution when Matthew Shardlake and his assistant had to live at a monastery until they could find a murderer.  In that story the monks pointed fingers at outsiders but in this story the monks know that one among them is a killer.  I am on page 105 and I am enjoying the story.  This book has won the Agatha Award for Best Mystery in the USA and has been nominated for the Anthony Awards  scheduled for September.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Murder in the Monastery

There is a wolf in the fold dressed in a black robe with shaved head and he whispers prayers with his brothers. At last I am reading The Beautiful Mystery by Canadian mystery writer, Louise Penny.  I have been looking forward to this book featuring Inspector Gamache for a long time. The setting is not Three Pines as  in most of the other books in the series.  This time it is a monastery called Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups located in Canada.  This is a remote cloistered monastery with twenty-four monks so one of them must be the "wolf".  The choir director in the story, Frere Mathieu, has been found murdered with a rock in the abbot's garden. His body was found curled up into a fetal position with the Latin words meaning "Day of wrath" written in vellum, possibly from a page of an ancient chant, and placed in the sleeve of his robe.  I was curious if this was a real monastery but it is not.  However, it is based on a real monastery famous for singing gregorian chants. I am on page 50 and so far there is Inspector Gamache, Jean Guy Beauvoir and a new character,Captain Charbonneau, investigating the murder.