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Louise Penny books in order

Louise Penny is a Canadian author award winning author of mystery novels.

Born in Toronto, she earned her Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Radio and Television from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, presently known as Ryerson University, before working as a radio host and journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the next eighteen years.

Louise was married to husband Michael for twenty years before his passing on in 2016.

Proud of her Canadian heritage, it’s no surprise that the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series is set in the province of Quebec.

Louise currently lives outside a small village south of Montreal, with her golden retriever, Bishop.

More about Louise Penny

Genres: Fantasy / SF, Mystery

Born: 1958



Non Series

  • State of Terror (2021)

Best American Mystery Stories

  1. The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 (2018)

Omnibus Books

  1. A Fatal Grace / State of Terror (2022)

Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series

  1. Still Life (2005)
  2. A Fatal Grace (2007)
  3. The Cruelest Month (2008)
  4. A Rule Against Murder (2009)
  5. The Brutal Telling (2009)
  6. Bury Your Dead (2010)
  7. The Hangman (2010)
  8. A Trick of the Light (2011)
  9. The Beautiful Mystery (2012)
  10. How the Light Gets In (2013)
  11. The Long Way Home (2014)
  12. The Nature of the Beast (2015)
  13. A Great Reckoning (2016)
  14. Glass Houses (2017)
  15. Kingdom of the Blind (2018)
  16. A Better Man (2019)
  17. All the Devils Are Here (2020)
  18. The Madness of Crowds (2021)
  19. A World of Curiosities (2022)
Best American Mystery Stories

Detailed book overview

Non Series

State of Terror

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.

NB: Co-authored with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1529079708
Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Best American Mystery Stories

The Best American Mystery Stories 2018

Writing short stories takes “Skill. Discipline. Knowledge of the form while not being formulaic,” contends Louise Penny in her introduction. “In a short story there is nowhere to hide. Each must be original, fresh, inspired.” Originality is just what’s in store for readers of the twenty clever, creative selections in The Best American Mystery Stories 2018.

There’s no hiding from a Nigerian confidence game, a drug made of dinosaur bones, a bombing at an oil company, a reluctant gunfighter in the Old West, and the many other scams, dangers, and thrills lurking in its suspenseful pages.

The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 includes T. C. Boyle, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, Andrew Klavan, Martin Limón, Joyce Carol Oates, and others.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-0544949096
Publisher: Mariner Books

Omnibus Books

A Fatal Grace / State of Terror

A 2-Book Collection Set made of:

State of Terror:

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state. There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

A Fatal Grace:

Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder. No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter?and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2022
ISBN: 978-9124194369
Publisher: Minotaur Books

Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series

Still Life

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec, along with his team of investigators, arrives at the scene of a questionable death in a rural village south of Montreal.

The body of Jane Neal, a local fixture in the small hamlet of Three Pines, north of the U.S. border, has been discovered in the woods.

The locals believe it’s nothing more than an unfortunate hunting accident, but Gamache believes that there is some foul play involved.

To Chief Inspector Gamache, Jane Neal met her death in these remote woods at the hands of someone much more sinister than a clumsy bowhunter.

Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery
Director: Peter Moss
Cast: Nathaniel Parker, Anthony Lemke, Kate Hewlett, Gabriel Hogan, Mike McPhaden, Susanna Fournier, Deborah Grover, Judith Baribeau, Patricia McKenzie, Dylan Trowbridge
Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0312541538
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur
A Fatal Grace

Three Pines and the sleepy village covered in snow.

It’s that time of the year for spreading cheer and goodwill, until a murder takes place.

A spectator by the name CC de Poitiers was electrocuted to death in the middle of a frozen lake during the annual Boxing Day curling match; with no leads and no witnesses in her death despite the huge crowd.

Who could have been deranged enough to commit such a murder, or canny enough get away with it?

Leading the investigation is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache who uncovers a layer of secrets and enemies from the victim’s past.

Shelled out of calling the shots at the highest echelon of the Surete du Quebec, Gamache knows he can trust no one.

As the cold winter wind blows into Three Pines, something even more chilling is pursuing Gamache.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-0312541163
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Cruelest Month

"In Three Pines, Easter is a time of church services, egg hunts and séances to raise the dead."

A group of friends visit the Old Hadley House on the hill to finally cleanse it of the evil spirits that have so haunted it, and the village, for decades.

But when everything goes wrong, they end up creating a new spirit—rather than freeing one.

In the process, one of them is quite literally shocked to death. Or is it a murder?

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team from the Surete du Quebec investigate the haunted old home, they discover that a dark force is guiding the actions of one of the seemingly harmless villagers.

Gamache however has his own share of dark forces, as a very personal demon is on the verge of striking.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-0312573508
Publisher: Minotaur Books
A Rule Against Murder

The Finney family is affluent, well read and respectable.

So when Irene Finney and her four grown-up children arrive at the Manoir Bellechasse in the summer heat, the hotel's staff sprints into action. The children have visited the picturesque lakeside paradise to pay tribute to their late father.

But as the statue of the old man that is unveiled, so are old secrets and bitter rivalries.

Soon, the family has another member to mourn, as a body is discovered on the morning after the memorial.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, who so happens to be a guest at the hotel, is suddenly caught up in the middle of a murder investigation.

Given how the victim had many enemies, almost everyone is a suspect.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-0312614164
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Brutal Telling

“Chaos is coming, old son.”

Just as families prepare to leave Three Pines and go back to the city, the body of a stranger is discovered in the village bistro and antiques store.
Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are brought in to solve the mystery behind the killing.

Even though nobody claims to know the murdered man, as more secrets are uncovered, all clues point towards Olivier—the owner of the bistro.

How did his business become such a hit?

What is he hiding from his past?

How exactly did he arrive at the decision to settle in this small village?

Most of all, why does every clue in the investigation trail back to him?

Gamache won’t rest until he finds the brutal truth.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-1250161666
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Bury Your Dead

It’s winter in Quebec City.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache comes across the most bizarre case he has ever seen in his illustrious career.

A horrifying murder has taken place in one of the oldest buildings in the city—a library where the English citizens of Quebec store their history.

It all happened when a fanatical historian began a mission to find the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain.

Could a secret, one buried with Champlain for almost four centuries, be so terrible that someone would kill in order to protect it?

In a tale where the past collides with the future, Gamache must first solve a puzzle from the past in order to find and arrest the killer in the present.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-0312626907
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Hangman

A jogger running through the woods one cold November morning comes across the body of a man hanging from a tree. The dead man was a guest at the local Inn and Spa located in the serene Quebec village of Three Pines. He looked to have been in search of some peace and quiet, only to be found by something sinister.

Did he take his own life or was it cold-blooded murdered? Summoned to the crime scene to take up the case, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache will follow a series of clues that will help him discover the real reason why the man came to seek refuge in Three Pines.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-1926583242
Publisher: Grass Roots Press
A Trick of the Light

“Hearts are broken. Sweet relationships are dead.”

Those were the words meticulously underlined in a book by Lillian Dyson.

Lillian is however dead now; with her body discovered in Three Pines, among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden.

Head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, comes to the small Quebec village to carry out investigations.

In an art world full of shading and nuance, nothing is ever what it seems.
Behind every smile is a smirk; behind every perfect looking relationship is a shattered heart.

As the mystery is carefully uncovered, it becomes increasingly clear to Gamache and his team that whatever truth they may have found could end up being a simple trick.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1250007346
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Beautiful Mystery

Outsiders are never admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, in the Quebec wilderness.

It’s a place where they grow vegetables, rear chickens, and produce chocolate, although they are best known for their singing.

In fact, the monks there are renowned world over for their majestic voices.

So when the choir director is found murdered, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec are brought in to lead the investigation

There, they uncover a discord underneath the harmony.

Despite the evident atmosphere of prayer and meditation, one of the brothers has been thinking about murder.

When peace is replaced by fear in the monastery, Gamache must face both his own demons, and those lurking in the hidden corridors.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-1250031129
Publisher: Minotaur Books
How the Light Gets In

 “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen

Christmas is right around the corner.

In Québec, the festive season is a time of gleaming snowfalls, bright lights, and family gatherings.

Things are however looking bleak for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache this festive season.

A number of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, he isn’t on speaking terms with his old friend lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and evil tile forces are preparing to strike him.

Gamache as such jumps at the first opportunity to leave the city after Myrna Landers reports of a missing longtime friend.

In the midst of carrying out the investigation, Gamache realizes that it isn’t just about fining Myrna’s friend but rather also searching a safe haven for himself and his colleagues.

Can Three Pines offer that kind of peace?

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1250047274
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Long Way Home

Former Chief Inspector of Homicide, Armand Gamache, is now away from the front line of the police and is enjoying life in the peaceful village of Three Pines.

That is until a friend, Clara Morrow, comes enlisting for help. Despite the painful memories that it threatens to bring back, hers is a favor that Gamache simply can’t refuse.

Peter, Clara’s husband, is missing; having failed to return home on the first anniversary of their separation, as initially agreed.

Once a famous artist, Peter Morrow is so desperate to regain his fame that there is nothing he wouldn’t do—even if it kills him in the process.

Burying himself into the case, Gamache unearths a lethal string of envy and deception.

Will he manage to bring Peter back home safely? Or has his investigations brought mortal danger to those he holds dearest?

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1250022059
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Nature of the Beast

Nine year old Laurent Lepage has a reputation for cry wolf.

From alien attacks to walking trees, from winged beasts in the woods to dinosaurs right in the village of Three Pines, his tales are just as bizarre as they are unrealistic.

No one is insane enough to believe him—including the former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec Armand Gamache, and Reine-Marie Gamache who now reside in the small Quebec village.

When Laurent however disappears without a trace, everyone starts considering that his tales might have been true after all.

As the desperate search for the young boy begins, it sparks a series of events that leads to murder, which leads to an old crime, and an old betrayal.

In not believing the boy, Armand Gamache could have very well played a dreadful role in the events that take place next.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1250022103
Publisher: Minotaur Books
A Great Reckoning

A detailed old map is found hidden in the walls of the bistro in Three Pines; one that becomes stranger the more the villagers look at it.

When the map is given to Armand Gamache as a gift on the first day of his new job, it leads to heartbreaking secrets.

Led to Sûreté du Québec by the map, the former Chief of Homicide is shocked to find four young cadets and a dead professor—along with a copy of the old map.

One of the cadets is Amelia Choquet; a pierced and tattooed apprentice of the murdered professor who would be found anywhere but in an academy. Yet she is!

A sequence of events nonetheless leads to a shocking discovery for both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-1250022110
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Glass Houses

A strange figure shows up in Three Pines one cold November day.

At first, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers become curious; a feeling soon overcome by concern.

Now serving as the Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, Gamache is convinced that the mysterious figure can only bring trouble—despite not moving.

All he however does is watch and wait with the hope that his worst fears won’t be confirmed.

But when the figure finally disappears, a body is discovered.

Several months later, the trial for the suspects behind the murder begins in Montreal.

Chief Superintendent Gamache however still can’t get over the actions he initiated that fateful November day; actions which he can’t take back.

As the accused stand trial, Armand Gamache's own conscience is standing in judgment.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-1250066299
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Kingdom of the Blind

When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.

None of them had ever met the elderly woman.

The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?

When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.

But it isn't the only menace Gamache is facing.

The investigation into what happened six months ago—the events that led to his suspension—has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.

Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner-city Montréal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.

As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2018
ISBN: 978-1250066305
Publisher: Minotaur Books
A Better Man

It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Floodwaters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil, a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next novel in this "constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves" (The New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.

What would you do if your child's killer walked free?

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1250066312
Publisher: Minotaur Books
All the Devils Are Here

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand's godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man's life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen's possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d'Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand's godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen's Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-1250145246
Publisher: Minotaur Books
The Madness of Crowds

“You're a coward.”

Time and again, as the New Year approaches, that charge is leveled against Armand Gamache.

It starts innocently enough.

While the residents of the Québec village of Three Pines take advantage of the deep snow to ski and toboggan, to drink hot chocolate in the bistro and share meals together, the Chief Inspector finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request.

He's asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. A visiting Professor of Statistics will be giving a lecture at the nearby university.

While he is perplexed as to why the head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec would be assigned this task, it sounds easy enough. That is until Gamache starts looking into Professor Abigail Robinson and discovers an agenda so repulsive he begs the university to cancel the lecture.

They refuse, citing academic freedom, and accuse Gamache of censorship and intellectual cowardice. Before long, Professor Robinson's views start seeping into conversations. Spreading and infecting. So that truth and fact, reality and delusion are so confused it's near impossible to tell them apart.

Discussions become debates, debates become arguments, which turn into fights. As sides are declared, a madness takes hold.

Abigail Robinson promises that, if they follow her, ça va bien aller. All will be well. But not, Gamache and his team know, for everyone.

When a murder is committed it falls to Armand Gamache, his second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and their team to investigate the crime as well as this extraordinary popular delusion.

And the madness of crowds.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2021
ISBN: 978-1250145277
Publisher: Minotaur Books
A World of Curiosities

It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

Author: Louise Penny
First Release: 2022
ISBN: 978-1250145307
Publisher: Minotaur Books