This novel, the eighth in Penny’s award winning and beloved Armand Gamache series, is yet another variation on the golden age form she uses as a template. This one is basically a classic locked room mystery, though it’s so much more, as are all of Penny’s novels. Set not in Three Pines but in the obscure and remote monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-des-Loups (literally “Among the Wolves”), the victim is a monk, and the only two officers on site are Gamache and Beauvoir.
This is a beautifully constructed book, the form following the theme. The monks of this obscure monastery are world renowned for their beautiful rendering of Gregorian chants, thanks to a recent CD that achieved wide distribution and acclaim. Gregorian chants are sung to a very set and specific set of rules, and are simple and repetitive, the singing and listening both a form of mediation and prayer.