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.

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