If you love mystery and suspense, reading the Louise Penny books in order will not only brighten your day but your season.
Louise Penny, a Canadian author, presents Chief Inspector Armand Gamache’s story with such adventurous suspense that she won’t allow you to put any of her books down.
To help you capture the whole picture of these books, we present the entire list of Louise Penny books in order featuring the beloved Inspector Gamache from the first to the latest. But first, let’s get to know who this seasoned author is.
Who is Louise Penny?
Louise was born in Ontario, Canada and currently resides outside of Montréal, Québec. Before she became a writer, Penny worked as a journalist and radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 18 years. She didn’t become an author until she was in her forties when her husband Michael encouraged her to write full-time.
Her first novel, Still Life, was published in 2005 and Penny’s writing has won her numerous awards since. She has won the Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel of the Year for four consecutive years 2007 – 2010, as well as the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Year in 2010 – 2013.
But her path to becoming an author wasn’t easy or immediate. Initially Penny tried writing a historical novel before switching genres. Then, after she finished Still Life, like so many writers, she experienced multiple rejection letters.
Penny was close to giving up when she entered the British contest, Debut Dagger, targeted for unpublished writers. She placed second out of 800 entries. She quickly landed a British agent and has since published 17 novels.
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)
6.5 The Hangman (2010)
7. A Trick of the Light (2011)
8. The Beautiful Mystery (2012)
9. How the Light Gets In (2013)
10. The Long Way Home (2014)
11. The Nature of the Beast (2015)
12. A Great Reckoning (2016)
13. Glass Houses (2017)
14. Kingdom of the Blind (2018)
15. A Better Man (2019)
16. All the Devils Are Here (2020)
17. The Madness of Crowds (2021)
18. A World of Curiosities (2022)
Is There an Inspector Armand Gamache TV Show?
Yes, Louise Penny’s bestselling mystery novel series has been adapted by Amazon Prime. The adaptation is Three Pines and it has eight one-hour episodes. It stars Alfred Molina as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.
The series was jointly produced by Amazon Prime and Left Bank Pictures. As well, it was the first locally produced scripted drama from the Canadian Originals division at Amazon Studios. It was also praised for its strong portrayal of Indigenous characters and issues.
The season premiered in December 2022 after being filmed on location in Québec. While there are differences between Penny’s books and the adaptation, it’s been received well.
However, it was announced in March 2023 that Amazon would not be renewing the show for a second season. The reason given for its cancellation by the showrunner for season one was that Left Bank, Sony, and Amazon Prime Video could not come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
Still Life was adapted previously in 2013 into a TV movie entitled, Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery. It stars Nathaniel Parker as Gamache.
Summary of Each of the Louise Penny Books in Order
The Louise Penny books in order tell Armand Gamache’s story. He’s a homicide inspector in Quebec. The plot of Louise Penny’s books center around murders in Quebec and Inspector Gamache’s use of wit to solve crime.
1. Still Life
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache arrives to the small town on Three Pines on Thanksgiving Weekend. It is a small Québec town that rarely sees crime, but someone has murdered the seemingly well-loved artist Jane Neal. Gamache can sense an evil lurking behind the white picket fences, and he must watch closely to uncover the dark secrets this town hides.
2. A Fatal Grace
This time when Gamache arrives in Three Pines to investigate, it is for the murder of someone that no one liked. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in front of everyone, but the legacy she leaves behind is damning. Once more Gamache must peel back the veneer of this picturesque village to find what deadly secrets lurk beneath.
3. The Cruelest Month
The bitter winter has passed and spring has arrived to Three Pines. But as a group of villagers host a séance to celebrate Easter, one of their members dropping dead. Chief Inspector Gamache investigates, but this case will see him confronting his own ghosts as well as those of Three Pines.
4. A Rule Against Murder
Armand and his wife Reine-Marie are celebrating their wedding anniversary not far from Three Pines. The height of summer brings a sense of claustrophobia down upon the manor where they are staying as the heat becomes stifling.
The Finney family is also staying at the manor to celebrate a family reunion, but then a dead body is found after a summer storm. Gamache must discover what hidden secrets lead to this murder in an investigation that will take him back to Three Pines.
5. The Brutal Telling
Chaos descends onto Three Pines. As summer wanes to an end, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and the beloved owner, Olivier, is implicated. A trail of clues will lead Gamache through a massive search across town and the continent before arriving at the brutal truth.
6. Bury Your Dead
The Winter Carnival in Québec City comes to life around Armand Gamache, but he is trying to recover from an investigation gone wrong. However, even surrounded by the Literary and Historical Society, secrets and clues will seek Gamache out.
A historian searching for Samuel de Champlain’s final resting place, and also the secret buried with him, has ended with a murder. While Gamache works this case with clues from 400 years ago, he is also still receiving letters from Three Pines, and the past and present are about to collide.
7. A Trick of the Light
Lillian Dyson was found dead in Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, and the art world is in mourning. But within the balance of light and shadow, and the murkiness of shading and nuance, appearances can be deceiving. Gamache and his team must determine if they’ve uncovered the truth, or another trick.
8. The Beautiful Mystery
The choir director at the secretive monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups is murdered. No one from outside can usually enter the grounds, but an exception is made for Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Among these monks who have sworn a vow of silence, they find disquiet lurking and not is as harmonious as it appears.
9. How the Light Gets In
Christmastime should be a season for cheer, but Armand Gamache can’t see past the shadows. So, he eagerly accepts an invitation to investigate a small matter in Three Pines. Myrna Landers’s long-time friend has gone missing, but then Gamache finds out that she is an internationally recognized figure and things become more complicated.
As he investigates her disappearance, tensions with the Sûreté are mounting, and Gamache needs to begin seeking a safe place for him and his loyal colleagues.
10. The Long Way Home
Gamache thinks he has found his sanctuary in a retirement spent in Three Pines. But the former investigator cannot shuck off the duty that propelled him for so many years. When a neighbor asks him for help finding her missing husband, Armand reluctantly agrees.
It is a decision that will see him reunited with his former colleagues as they pursue wisps of the missing man and his sin-sick soul across Québec.
11. The Nature of the Beast
Laurent Lepage is the boy who cried wolf in Three Pines. His tall tales are as legendary as they are unbelievable. But then he goes missing.
In their search for him, the villagers spark a series of tragic events as they hunt a monster.
12. A Great Reckoning
Armand Gamache finds a map within the walls of the Three Pines bistro, which leads him on a hunt into the heart of the Sûreté. At the police academy, Gamache finds a dead professor with an identical map. Gamache then finds himself drawn to one of the professor’s students, Amelia Choquet, and suddenly they are the ones being investigated.
13. Glass Houses
Seven months ago, an unmoving figure appeared cloaked in shadow in Three Pines. When it disappeared, a body was discovered. Which is how Gamache finds himself in the courtroom on a July day.
He is there to watch the accused stand trial, but much more than that is at stake.
14. Kingdom of the Blind
Bewilderingly, Armand Gamache finds himself an executor in a stranger’s will alongside Myrna Landers and a young man. But when a body then turns up, the curious will begins to appear more menacing.
Meanwhile, Gamache is still trying to atone for an investigation from six months ago. He is willing to do anything to stop the missing narcotics from hitting the streets.
15. A Better Man
Gamache is back within the Sûreté following his suspension alongside Jean-Guy Beauvoir and facing two crises. The first is the rising waters threating heavy floods across the province. The second is a desperate father searching for his missing daughter.
Gamache finds himself caught in a turmoil of empathy for the father and pursues the case with an intensity that might lead to mistakes.
16. All the Devils Are Here
The City of Lights, Paris, stands in for the typical setting of Three Pines. Despite the shift in location when Gamache believes an accident that leaves his godfather in critical condition is no accident, he begins investigating.
In a race across the city, Gamache will uncover a dangerous, rancid secret that will leave him wondering who he can trust.
17. The Madness of Crowds
Gamache is stupefied that a simple university lecture might require security from him, until he looks at the speaker more closely. Her agenda disgusts him, but the university will not back down, so Gamache watches horrified as her dangerous rhetoric seeps into conversations.
Then someone is murdered. Now, Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir must find a killer and wade through these delusions simultaneously.
18. 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?
Final thoughts on Louise Penny books in order
So there you have it, the Louise Penny books in order, which presents a long list of good reads with a book released every year.
To end with a quote from the author – “I’m glad you have discovered Three Pines and the Armand Gamache books. I hope you enjoy reading them, as much as I love writing them.”
Have you read the Louise Penny books in order? Let us know in the comments down below.
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