Louise Penny is a Canadian writer and author of mystery novels. Her Inspector Gamache series has been translated into numerous languages. If you enjoy mystery and suspense, reading the Louise Penny books in chronological order will give you the best experience and understanding of the series. The following list includes all of the Inspector Gamache novels in order, from first to most recent.
Louise Penny Books in Order of Publication
1. Still Life (2005)
2. A Fatal Grace (2006)
3. The Cruelest Month (2007)
4. A Rule Against Murder (2008)
5. The Brutal Telling (2009)
6. Bury Your Dead (2010)
7. A Trick of the Light (2011)
8. The Beautiful Mystery (2012)
9. 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)
18. A World of Curiosities (Expected: November 29, 2022)
Biography of Louise Penny?
Louise Penny was born on July 1 1958 in Ontario, Canada, and now resides outside of Montréal, Québec. Penny worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a journalist and radio host for 18 years before becoming a writer.
At the age of 40, she started her writing career after much encouragement from her husband, Michael. Her first novel, Still Life, was released in 2005, and since then Penny’s work has earned her a slew of honours. Before Still life, she had tried writing a historical novel, but that didn’t quite work out as planned, as she experienced a series of rejections. To date, she has published 17 novels through her British agent.
From 2007 to 2010, Penny received the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel of the year. She also received the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the year, each year between 2010 and 2013.
Is There an Inspector Armand Gamache TV Show?
The multi-million-selling mystery book series written by Louise Penny is being transformed for Amazon Prime. The drama will be set in Three Pines and feature Alfred Molina as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. It will also have eight one-hour episodes.
It will be co-produced by Amazon Prime and Left Bank Pictures, with the first locally generated scripted drama from Amazon Studios’ Canadian Originals division.
The eight-episode series was supposed to begin filming in Montreal, Québec, and rural Québec from August to December 2021, but no premiere date has been announced. It will start at the beginning by adapting Penny’s first book: Still Life.
In 2013, this book was turned into a television film called Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery, in which Nathaniel Parker starred as Gamache.
Summary of Each of the Louise Penny Books in Order
Armand Gamache is the protagonist of Louise Penny’s novels, which chronicle his years as an Inspector in charge of a homicide unit in Quebec. He solves murders throughout the province, employing all of his intellect to do so. As it does in the mystery genre, the murderer’s identity is revealed in the last pages of the book, keeping readers hooked until then.
1. Still Life
When Thanksgiving Weekend is disturbed by the discovery of a dead body in the woods, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Sûreté du Québec are called in to investigate. Gamache doesn’t understand why someone would want to kill Jane Neal, an artist who was well-loved. He can’t understand why anyone would want to do this, especially any of the residents of Three Pines.
But Gamache knows that something evil is happening in Three Pines and that, if he watches closely enough, he will start to figure out what it is.
2. A Fatal Grace
CC de Poitiers managed to make everyone in the hamlet of Three Pines angry with her, right up to the moment she died. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache starts investigating, it seems like an impossible murder. CC was killed by being electrocuted on a frozen lake during the annual curling tournament in front of the entire town. With empathy and courage, Gamache peels back the pleasant surface of rural life to discover long-buried secrets, but his own foes threaten to deliver something even more frightening than the harsh winter weather to Three Pines.
3. The Cruelest Month
Spring comes to the tiny, forgotten hamlet; buds are on the trees and the first blooms are just emerging from the earth, which is still frozen.
Some villagers tried to get rid of the evil in their town by doing a séance at the Old Hadley House. But one of their party died from fright. Some people think it was a natural death, but others think something more sinister was going on.
The arrival of Inspector Armand Gamache, the head of the Sûreté du Québec, is signaled by flashing neon lights. He must face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly peaceful town where connections are far more hazardous than they appear.
4. A Rule Against Murder
Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are spending their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, a remote, luxurious inn not far from Three Pines. But they aren’t alone.
The Finney family is rich and cultured. They are respected people who have come to celebrate too. The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural lurking. When the summer heat starts to really close in, some surprising guests show up at the family reunion. Then a terrible storm hits and leaves a dead body behind. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to figure out what happened and why.
5. The Brutal Telling
People go to Olivier’s Bistro – including a stranger whose murdered body is found on the floor. When Inspector Gamache is assigned to the case, he is unpleasantly surprised to find that Olivier’s account has numerous gaps. Why are his fingerprints all over the cabin that has been discovered deep in the woods with priceless antiques and the dead man’s blood? And what other secrets and layers of deceit lurk behind the picturesque community.
6. Bury Your Dead
The Winter Carnival is happening in Quebec City. It’s bitterly cold and very pretty. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache isn’t there to have fun though. He’s there to recover from a case that didn’t go well. Even in a place like the Literary and Historical Society, where you would think it would be safe, death can find you. An obsessive historian’s quest to find the remains of Quebec’s founder, Samuel de Champlain, leads to murder. Could there be a secret hidden with Champlain for nearly 400 years that is so terrible that someone would kill to protect it?
Gamache is not supposed to be working, but he cannot walk away from a crime that might start a war between the English and the French. While he is getting letters from Three Pines, where Bistro owner, Olivier was just convicted of murder, things are getting more complicated.
7. A Trick of the Light
Lillian Dyson wrote in a book that “hearts are broken” and “sweet relationships are dead”. But now she is dead. Lillian was found among the flowers in Clara Morrow’s garden, which ruined Clara’s solo show at the Musée.
Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, arrives in a small Québec village. He finds that the art world has gathered there. This art world is full of different shades of meaning and understanding. It is also a world where nothing is as it seems.
8. The Beautiful Mystery
No outsiders can enter the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Québec. Twenty-four monks live there in peace and prayer. The monks in this community are famous for their beautiful voices. People from all around the world come to hear them sing. The effect on both singer and listener is so profound that it is known as “the beautiful mystery.”
But when the famous choir director is killed, the police force is called in. The big wooden door of the monastery is opened and Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec come in.
The Chief discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. He realizes that there is discord and violence in a community that seems peaceful. However, before finding the killer, the Chief must first consider the different factors involved in this situation, such as the divine, human, and cracks between them.
9. How the Light Gets In
Christmas is coming, and in Québec it’s a time of snowfalls, lights, and friends getting together. But Armand Gamache of the Sûreté de Québec is having a bad time. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department; his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t talked to
When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers, he is happy for the chance to get away from the city for a few hours. Myrna’s longtime friend, who was supposed to spend Christmas in the village, has failed to arrive.
Myrna refuses to tell Chief Inspector Gamache the name of her friend when he demands it, and he becomes perplexed. Gamache soon discovers that the missing woman was once one of the most famous people in North America and perhaps the world, but is now unknown by almost everyone except for Ruth Zardo, a mad and brilliant poet.
When the crisis at the Sûreté approaches a climax, Gamache finds himself drawn deeper into Three Pines’ world. Increasingly, he is not just looking into the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a secure haven for himself and his loyal colleagues — if such a place exists in this environment of growing peril.
10. The Long Way Home
Armand Gamache is a retired homicide detective who now lives in the village of Three Pines. He is happy there and has found a peace he never thought possible. Every morning, he sits on a bench holding a small book called The Balm in Gilead.
However, his neighbors artist husband, Peter, has failed to come home. On the first anniversary of their divorce, she failed to appear as promised. She is seeking Gamache’s assistance in locating him.
They go deeper and deeper into Québec, accompanied by his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers. The journey takes the characters farther and farther away from Three Pines, all the way to the river’s very mouth. The first sailors dubbed it “the land God gave to Cain” because of its desolation. And there, in that dark place, they discover a soul sick with sin’s horrible consequences.
11. The Nature of the Beast
Laurent Lepage, 9, hardly ever stops crying wolf. From alien invasions to tree-walking to flying monsters in the woods, Laurent’s stories are so incredible that no one can believe him.
When the youngster vanishes, the villagers must consider the possibility that at least one of his tall tales was legitimate. And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth, which leads to murder, an old crime, and an ancient betrayal.
12. A Great Reckoning
It appears to be nothing more than a curiosity when an ornate antique map is discovered tacked into the bistro in Three Pines. But as the villagers examine it further, the apparent becomes stranger.
The map Gamache received as a gift on his first day of work eventually leads him to secrets that shatter his old life. To an old friend and even older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places he is afraid to go, but must.
There, he discovers four young cadets in the Sûreté Academy and a dead professor. And, with the body, a photocopy of the ancient, odd map. Gamache sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets, tattooed and piercings everywhere Gamache turns.
Amelia is more likely to be on the other side of a police line-up. She is in the academy and a protégée of the murdered professor. The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime.
The investigators are looking for answers again. This time they go back to Three Pines and find a stained glass window with its own secrets. Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache need to face up to what has happened.
13. Glass Houses
One cold November day, a mysterious figure appeared in the town of Three Pines. The villagers were curious at first, but then they became worried. The figure just stood there, staring ahead, through the rain and sleet.
Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Quebec, suspects the creature has long roots and a malevolent goal from the moment its shadow falls over the village. He, on the other hand, does nothing.
What else can he do? He’s just going to sit there and wait. And pray that his growing concerns will not come true. When the vision fades away overnight, and a corpse is found, it is Gamache’s duty to determine whether a debt has been paid or collected.
14. Kingdom of the Blind
When an odd letter arrives at Armand Gamache’s home, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec, informing him that he has been named one of the executors of a will written by a complete stranger, he wonders whether she is playing some sort of game.
Gamache, still on suspension and genuinely interested, accepts the position and is soon introduced to Myrna Landers, a bookseller from Three Pines, as well as a young builder. The four of them had never met the elderly woman before.
The will is strange and includes bequests that are very unlikely. Gamache and the others suspect that she might have been crazy when she made it. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?
When a body is discovered, the terms of the agreement will seem less strange and more dangerous. But it isn’t the only danger Gamache is facing. The investigation into what happened six months ago — the events that led to his suspension — has continued. And although most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is still one devastating exception.
A lot of the drug that could kill thousands of people has disappeared in Montréal. The city is in danger because of this. Gamache is trying to find out what happened. Gamache realizes that he has been ignoring some important things and that he needs to take a closer look at them. He also sees the terrible things that have been hidden from him.
15. A Better Man
It’s Gamache’s first day back in charge of the homicide unit, with Beauvoir temporarily filling in as his second-in-command. Floods have reached unprecedented heights throughout the province. A father comes up to Gamache in the midst of the pandemonium and asks for assistance locating his daughter.
Gamache tries to keep up with the mounting chaos, but he eventually realises that looking for Vivienne Godin is a lost cause. He forms an intense, possibly unwise, feeling of empathy for her grieving father.
He resumes the search as the rivers rise and the social media assault against Gamache gets more severe. A body is discovered.
16. All the Devils Are Here
On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches dine at a bistro with Armand’s godfather, Stephen Horowitz, the billionaire. They witness in horror as Stephen is knocked down and severely injured in what Gamache knows was no accident but an intentional attempt on his life as they walk home after dinner.
A hunt begins when a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession. It transports Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command from the top of the Eiffel Tower to the Paris Archives’ bowels, from luxurious hotels to strange, coded works of art.
It takes them deep into the godfather’s secrets, which Armand’s father has maintained for decades. A gruesome find in Stephen’s Paris apartment indicates that the truths are more putrid and dangerous, and that the danger is far greater and more immediate than they had realized.
17. The Madness of Crowds
While the people of Three Pines, Quebec, ski and toboggan in the deep snow, drink hot chocolate at the café, and share meals together, the Chief Inspector’s holiday with his family is interrupted by a modest request.
He’s been assigned to provide protection for something that looks like a snooze. A professor of statistics from the nearby university will give a talk.
While he can’t imagine why the head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec would be assigned this chore, it appears to be simple enough. That is, until Gamache begins investigating Professor Abigail Robinson and unearths an agenda so terrible that he pleads with the institution to cancel her presentation.
Gamache is branded a coward and a censor for defending academic freedom. His views start gaining traction in conversations, as Professor Robinson’s spread and infect others.
Abigail Robinson promises that if they follow her, everything will be okay. But Armand Gamache and his team know that’s not always the case. When someone is murdered, it falls to Armand Gamache and his team to investigate the crime as well as this strange phenomenon. The madness of crowds.
To sum up, the Louise Penny books in order are a great way to get introduced to one of the best crime fiction authors out there. With Gamache, she has created a character that readers can’t help but root for, and the books are full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. If you’re looking for a new series to get into, I highly recommend giving the Louise Penny books a try.
Blessing Iyamadiken loves the art of storytelling and enjoys creating all types of content from news to entertainment. She is also a feminist and very passionate about Gender Equality. In her spare time, she loves to read or binge on Netflix.