Our Definitive List of Louise Penny Books in Order

Published: 25 April 2023
Written by Penny Somerset

Welcome, fellow mystery lovers, to our comprehensive guide to Louise Penny Books in Order. As an avid reader and a fan of all things mystery, I'm excited to share with you a captivating journey through the world of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and the quaint village of Three Pines. Whether you're a newcomer to Louise Penny's enthralling mysteries or a long-time admirer seeking to revisit her novels, this list is the perfect starting point.

Inspector Gamache

Table of Contents

• Louise Penny Books in Order

• Frequently Asked Questions
  • Who Is Louise Penny?
  • Who is Inspector Gamache?
  • Was the Inspector Gamache Series Made into a TV Show?
  • Which Louise Penny Book Should I Read First?

• Related Posts
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Grab your favorite beverage, curl up in your reading nook, and get ready to unravel the secrets that lie within the pages of these compelling tales. Join me as we explore the rich tapestry of Penny's literary universe, delving into the intricate plots, vivid settings, and unforgettable characters that have left countless readers spellbound.

Louise Penny Books in Order

1. Still Life (2005)

Still Life
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Over Thanksgiving weekend, a chilling find in the forest leads Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team from the Surete du Quebec to a quaint village in the Eastern Townships. As they investigate the baffling murder of adored artist Jane Neal, Gamache struggles to comprehend who among the inhabitants of Three Pines-a peaceful hamlet without a police force-could harbor such malice. Gamache remains vigilant, aware that evil hides among the pristine white picket fences, waiting for Three Pines to unveil its shadowy secrets.

2. Dead Cold (2006)

Dead Cold
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As snow blankets the tranquil village of Three Pines during wintertime, an eerie scream disrupts the serene atmosphere on Boxing Day. A spectator at the yearly curling match meets a shocking end, fatally electrocuted amidst a crowd devoid of witnesses or apparent clues. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache delves into the victim's past, unearthing a web of secrets and adversaries. Simultaneously, Gamache faces his own foes, as he finds himself excluded from critical decisions within the Surete du Quebec. In this precarious situation, determining whom to trust becomes paramount.

3. The Cruellest Month (2007)

The Cruellest Month
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The quaint, forgotten village of Three Pines embraces the arrival of spring, as budding trees and emerging flowers signal new life. However, not everything is destined for rejuvenation. When a group of villagers holds a séance at the Old Hadley House to dispel the town's lingering evil, their Easter celebration takes a sinister turn as one participant succumbs to terror. Was it a natural demise or a sinister act? The astute and empathetic Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec steps in to unravel the mystery, confronting not only the town's hidden dangers but also his own ghosts.

4. The Murder Stone (2008)

The Murder Stone
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Amidst the sweltering summer heat, the affluent Finney family convenes at Manoir Bellechasse to honor their deceased patriarch. However, as temperatures soar, long-buried secrets and simmering resentments rise to the surface. When a fierce storm ensues, it leaves a lifeless body in its wake. Chief Inspector Gamache, a guest at Bellechasse, suddenly finds himself surrounded by potential culprits. With the hotel on lockdown, the killer has nowhere to run. But beware, for a cornered predator poses the greatest threat of all.

5. The Brutal Telling (2009)

The Brutal Telling
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The tranquility of Three Pines shatters when a stranger's lifeless body is discovered on the floor of Olivier's Bistro. Chief Inspector Gamache, summoned to investigate, quickly finds discrepancies in Olivier's account. As he uncovers the man's fingerprints throughout a hidden cabin deep in the wilderness, adorned with valuable antiques and the victim's blood, Gamache realizes that the seemingly idyllic village harbors layers of deception.

Following a trail of enigmatic clues and treasures-from first editions of Charlotte's Web and Jane Eyre to a spiderweb intricately woven with a cryptic word-Gamache traverses the continent and ventures into the woods, ultimately returning to Three Pines to confront the harsh truth in a brutal, final revelation.

6. Bury Your Dead (2010)

Bury Your Dead
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In "Bury Your Dead," #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny weaves a tale encompassing life, death, and the mysteries that linger. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache takes a break from Three Pines, journeying to the renowned Winter Carnival in Quebec City, seeking respite from a haunting investigation.

Despite his intentions, he cannot escape violence, even within the Literary and Historical Society, where one scholar's relentless pursuit of knowledge sends Gamache down a treacherous path. Concurrently, unsettling news reaches Gamache from his hometown: Olivier, the cherished bistro owner, has been wrongfully convicted of murder. As Gamache strives to untangle this wicked scheme, he must also confront a dreadful event from his past before laying his demons to rest.

6.5 The Hangman (2010)

The Hangman
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On a frosty, cold November morning in the serene Quebec village of Three Pines, a jogger stumbles upon a lifeless body suspended from a tree. The deceased, a guest at the local Inn and Spa, sought tranquility but met a horrific fate instead. The question arises: did he commit suicide or fall victim to murder? Chief Inspector Armand Gamache arrives at the scene, and as he unravels the puzzle, he unveils a connection to the past, discovering the true purpose of the man's visit to Three Pines. This gripping novella offers a concise and engaging read for those on the move.

7. A Trick of the Light (2011)

A Trick of the Light
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Lillian Dyson's lifeless body is discovered amidst bleeding hearts and lilacs in Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, casting a pall over the celebration of Clara's solo exhibition at Montreal's esteemed Musée. Summoned to the quaint Quebec village, Chief Inspector Gamache, head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, encounters the complexities of the art world, a realm of shades and contrasts, where appearances deceive and hidden heartaches abound. As Gamache and his team painstakingly uncover facts, they grapple with the uncertainty of whether they've discovered the truth or merely fallen victim to a trick of the light.

8. The Beautiful Mystery (2012)

The Beautiful Mystery
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Deep within Quebec's wilderness lies the secluded monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, where two dozen monks, sworn to silence, live harmoniously tending to gardens, chickens, and chocolate-making. Ironically, their breathtaking voices, raised in ancient chants, bring them worldwide fame through "the beautiful mystery." However, when their esteemed choir director is found murdered, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec are granted entry to the monastery, uncovering hidden turmoil beneath its serene surface.

Amidst the unraveling peace, one of the brothers has evidently been contemplating murder. As Gamache confronts personal demons and those lurking within the monastery's remote corridors, he must explore the divine, human, and the cracks in between to restore peace and identify the killer.

9. How the Light Gets In (2013)

How the Light Gets In
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As the holiday season approaches in Québec, bringing with it snowy landscapes and warm gatherings, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache finds himself surrounded by shadows. With most of his best agents gone, a strained relationship with his old friend Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and adversaries closing in, Gamache welcomes a chance to escape the city when Myrna Landers informs him that a long-time friend hasn't arrived for Christmas in Three Pines.

Although puzzled by Myrna's reluctance to share her friend's identity, Gamache soon learns the missing woman was once an incredibly famous figure, now only recognized by the eccentric poet Ruth Zardo. As the situation escalates, Gamache finds himself delving deeper into the world of Three Pines, not only investigating the woman's disappearance but also searching for refuge for himself and his remaining loyal colleagues. Amidst this turmoil, Gamache must determine whether peace can be found in Three Pines and at what cost to himself and those he cherishes.

10. The Long Way Home (2014)

The Long Way Home
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Retired in the tranquil village of Three Pines, former Chief Inspector of Homicide Armand Gamache finds a serenity he never thought possible. On warm mornings, he reflects on a small book titled "The Balm in Gilead," contemplating healing and redemption. When his neighbor Clara Morrow confides in him about her missing husband, Peter, who failed to return on the first anniversary of their separation, she seeks Gamache's help in finding him.

Although reluctant to leave his newfound sanctuary, Gamache joins Clara, along with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, to search for Peter. They journey deeper into Québec, unraveling the complex soul of the artist desperate to regain his fame, even at the cost of his own soul. As they venture further from Three Pines and towards the desolate St. Lawrence River, they uncover the devastating consequences wrought by a sin-sick soul in a place once considered cursed.

11. The Nature of the Beast (2015)

The Nature of the Beast
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Nine-year-old Laurent Lepage is notorious for crying wolf in the quaint Quebec village of Three Pines, sharing tales of alien invasions, walking trees, and winged beasts. Even Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, now residing in the village, struggle to believe his stories. However, when Laurent vanishes, the villagers begin to question if one of his outlandish tales was true after all.

As they frantically search for the boy and the truth, they unearth a chilling discovery deep in the forest, sparking a chain of events involving murder, an old crime, and a long-ago betrayal that reaches the doorstep of an aging poet. Ruth Zardo realizes that a once-dormant monster has returned to Three Pines, and Armand Gamache, the former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, must confront the possibility that his own disbelief played a part in the unfolding tragedy.

12. A Great Reckoning (2016)

A Great Reckoning
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An old, complex map discovered within the walls of a bistro in Three Pines piques the villagers' curiosity. The map, gifted to Armand Gamache on his first day at his new job, ultimately leads him to uncover shocking secrets, encounter an old friend and an older foe, and venture into places that frighten even him.

Along the way, he discovers four Sûreté academy cadets and a deceased professor with a copy of the peculiar map. As the investigation unfolds, Gamache continually encounters Amelia Choquet, a tattooed, pierced, and guarded cadet who seems out of place in the academy but was a protégée of the slain professor. Soon, the inquiry centers on Gamache himself, his enigmatic connection with Amelia, and his potential involvement in the crime.

The frantic pursuit of answers brings the investigators back to Three Pines and a sinister stained glass window harboring its own dark secrets. For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time for a great reckoning has arrived.

13. Glass Houses (2017)

Glass Houses
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The appearance of a mysterious figure in Three Pines on a chilly November day piques the curiosity and wariness of Armand Gamache and the other villagers. As the motionless figure looms through rain and sleet, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects it harbors a dark purpose rooted in the village's past. When the figure vanishes and a body is discovered, Gamache must determine whether a debt has been settled or imposed.

As the trial for the accused commences in Montreal on a sweltering July day, Gamache grapples with the consequences of his actions from that fateful November. More than just the accused stands trial; Gamache's conscience faces judgment as well. In "Glass Houses," Louise Penny, a number-one New York Times bestselling author, brilliantly defies crime novel conventions to explore the court of conscience, as described by Gandhi - a court that surpasses all others.

14. Kingdom of the Blind (2018)

Kingdom of the Blind
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Former head of the Sûreté du Québec, Armand Gamache, receives an unexpected letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse, where he discovers that a stranger has named him as one of her will's executors. Suspended and intrigued, Gamache accepts the responsibility alongside Myrna Landers, a bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder - none of whom have ever met the elderly woman.

The peculiar will, containing improbable bequests, initially suggests the woman was delusional, but as Gamache investigates, he wonders if she was entirely sane. When a body is found, the will's odd terms become more sinister. Simultaneously, Gamache faces another threat as an investigation into his past actions drags on, and a deadly narcotic slips through his grasp, endangering Montreal's inner city. Racing against time to recover the drug, Gamache confronts his own blind spots and the dark secrets hidden within.

15. A Better Man (2019)

A Better Man
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Chief Inspector Armand Gamache faces a challenging return to the Sûreté du Québec as he contends with devastating spring floods, relentless media attacks, and a mysterious disappearance. On his first day back as head of the homicide department, sharing the position with former second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache is approached by a desperate father seeking help in finding his missing daughter.

As crises accumulate and the search for Vivienne Godin seems increasingly futile, Gamache's empathy for the anguished father grows, compelling him to resume the search despite the mounting chaos. As floodwaters rise and social media attacks against Gamache intensify, a body is discovered, and mistakes are made amidst the turmoil. In this riveting addition to the series, Gamache grapples with the harrowing possibility of a killer walking free and must confront the burning question: What would you do if your child's killer evaded justice?

16. All the Devils Are Here (2020)

All the Devils Are Here
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The Gamache family's first night in Paris takes a dark turn when Armand's godfather, billionaire Stephen Horowitz, is critically injured in a deliberate attack. A peculiar key found in Stephen's possession sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and former Sûreté second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir on a thrilling journey through Paris, from the iconic Tour d'Eiffel to the city's mysterious archives, luxury hotels, and enigmatic works of art.

As they delve into the long-held secrets of Armand's godfather, a grisly discovery in Stephen's apartment reveals the stakes are higher and the danger more imminent than they initially thought. The entire Gamache family soon finds themselves entangled in a web of deception and lies, forcing Armand to question the trustworthiness of friends, colleagues, his instincts, and even his own past and family. Set against the backdrop of the enchanting City of Light, this gripping tale reminds us that even in the most luminous places, shadows linger, concealing devils in their midst.

17. The Madness of Crowds (2021)

The Madness of Crowds
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In Louise Penny's riveting mystery novel "The Madness of Crowds," Chief Inspector Armand Gamache finds his tranquil holiday in the idyllic Québec village of Three Pines disrupted by a seemingly simple request: to provide security for a visiting statistics professor's lecture at a nearby university. Puzzled by the assignment, Gamache delves into Professor Abigail Robinson's background and discovers a repugnant agenda that drives him to plead with the university to cancel the lecture.

Accused of censorship and cowardice, Gamache watches as Robinson's views seep into conversations, blurring the lines between truth and delusion, leading to heated debates and escalating conflicts. As madness grips the community, Robinson promises that all will be well if they follow her. However, Gamache and his team know that not everyone will be safe. When a murder occurs, Gamache, his second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and their team must unravel the mystery surrounding the crime and the dangerous delusions that have taken hold of the once-peaceful village.

18. A World of Curiosities (2022)

A World of Curiosities
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The arrival of spring in Three Pines unveils more than just the blossoming beauty of the village. As the residents prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly concerned when two familiar faces from their past resurface-a brother and sister whose mother was tragically murdered years ago. As memories of the harrowing case flood back, Gamache and Beauvoir question the siblings' motives for returning to Three Pines. Their unease intensifies when a long-lost letter penned by a terrified stone mason is uncovered, detailing his experience sealing an attic room in the village.

The discovery prompts the villagers to unseal the room, unleashing a trove of curious artifacts and enigmatic puzzles. However, Gamache soon realizes that unearthing this hidden chamber has also unleashed a formidable foe into their midst, posing a grave threat to their peaceful lives and the very heart of his home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is Louise Penny?

Louise Penny

Louise Penny is a Canadian author who has penned more than thirteen mystery novels. She has won over thirty prestigious awards including five each of Anthony and Agatha Christie prizes for her flawless writing style. Growing up, Louise shared her mother's deep love for crime fiction literature and was hugely influenced by renowned authors like Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie.

After completing her Bachelor of Applied Arts degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, she began working as a radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation until she met Michael Whitehead at age 35, whom she later married. Her late husband was not only an inspiration for the main character in all her books but also supported Penny's dream of becoming a writer by urging her to quit journalism so that she could devote herself entirely to it.

Currently residing near Montreal, Canada, Louise feels lucky to be able to write full-time while enjoying well-earned success as one of Canada's most celebrated female Mystery writers today - having published works that have been translated into over twenty-three languages!

Who is Inspector Gamache?

Inspector Armand Gamache, the brilliant and compassionate protagonist of Louise Penny's celebrated mystery series, serves as the Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec. Not your typical hard-boiled detective, Gamache is an embodiment of integrity and kindness, striving to uncover the truth behind each enigmatic case while mentoring his team with wisdom and empathy. As readers follow Gamache through the quaint village of Three Pines and beyond, they become privy to the inspector's astute observations, unwavering determination, and an unyielding sense of justice. Enveloped in the charm of Penny's storytelling, Inspector Gamache emerges as a genuinely relatable and multidimensional character, leaving a lasting impression on all who cross his path.

Was the Inspector Gamache Series Made into a TV Show?

Inspector Gamache TV Show
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Absolutely! The captivating Inspector Gamache series leaped from the pages onto the screen in 2022, transforming into an eight-part mini-series titled "Three Pines." With the talented Alfred Molina taking on the role of the inimitable Inspector Gamache, fans of the series can now experience the delightful charm of "Three Pines" and its eccentric inhabitants through a visual medium. Streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime, this adaptation allows viewers to delve into the atmospheric world of Louise Penny's mysteries, experiencing the intrigue and suspense that have captivated readers for years in a fresh and exciting way.

Which Louise Penny Book Should I Read First?

When it comes to exploring the captivating world of the Inspector Gamache books penned by Louise Penny, I always recommend newcomers start with her first book, "Still Life." This initial venture into the enchanting realm of Three Pines introduces the endearing characters and intricate storylines that have captured the hearts of countless readers. Following the books in order not only allows you to fully appreciate the complexity of Penny's fictional universe, but also to witness the growth and development of each character.

By beginning with "Still Life," you'll be embarking on a thrilling literary journey filled with twists, turns, and masterfully woven plots. As you immerse yourself in Penny's vivid storytelling, you'll become a part of the quaint village of Three Pines, building a connection with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team as they unravel each compelling mystery. Trust me, once you've entered the world of Louise Penny's novels, you'll find it hard to leave. So, settle in and prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure, starting with "Still Life" and following the series in order.

If you love the Inspector Gamache books you might enjoy Alex Kava's Maggie O'Dell books

Portrait of the article author, Penny Somerset
Penny Somerset

I'm an avid reader and bibliophile. With an unquenchable thirst for stories, I love nothing more than burying my nose in a good book - whether it's curled up on the sofa or out in nature. My deep curiosity and appreciation of diverse writing means that there's no one genre that I prefer, but I'm especially keen on books full of adventure and vivid imagination.
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