Louise Penny Books In Order – Inspector Gamache Books Order

Reading the Louise Penny books in order involves picking up the so-far 18 mystery novels in her popular Canadian crime series involving Chief Inspector Armand Gamache living in Quebec.

Thus here is the list of Louise Penny Chief Inspector Armand Gamache books in publication order. Note that some of the books have been published under different names in different countries. If the case, then I will list both names for the same novel. The publication year is listed next to each book in the Gamache book series. We also list the author’s standalone works.


New Louise Penny Books

State of Terror
A World of Curiosities (Armand Gamache #18), 2022

Armand Gamache Books In Order of Publication

  1. Still Life (#1), 2006
  2. A Fatal Grace (#2), 2006
  3. The Cruellest Month (#3), 2007
  4. A Rule Against Murder (#4), 2008
  5. The Brutal Telling (#5), 2008
  6. Bury Your Dead (#6), 2010
  7. The Hangman (novella #6.5), 2011
  8. A Trick of the Light (#7), 2011
  9. The Beautiful Mystery (#8), 2012
  10. How the Light Gets In (#9), 2013
  11. The Long Way Home (#10), 2014
  12. The Nature of the Beast (#11), 2015
  13. A Great Reckoning (#12), 2016
  14. Glass Houses (#13), 2017
  15. Kingdom of the Blind ( #14), 2018
  16. A Better Man (#15), 2019
  17. All The Devils Are Here (#16), 2021
  18. The Madness of Crowds (#17), 2021
  19. A World of Curiosities (#18), 2022)

Other Louise Penny Books


Louise Penny Books Summaries – Chief Inspector Gamache

Still Life

The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Sûreté du Québec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines — a place so free from crime it doesn’t even have its police force.

But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, the village will start to give up its dark secrets…

A Fatal Grace

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 the village. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache arrives to investigate, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything.

Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder — or brilliant enough to succeed?

The Cruelest Month

It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village life; buds are on the trees, and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life…

When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil — until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was something more sinister at play?

Brilliant, compassionate Gamache  arrives to investigate. It is a case that will force him to face his own ghosts and those of a seemingly idyllic town where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.

A Rule Against Murder

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village. But they’re not alone. The Finney family — rich, cultured, and respectable — has also arrived for a celebration of their own.

The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but something unnatural looms. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

The Brutal Telling

Chaos is coming, old son.

With those words, the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is murdered in the village bistro and antique store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team arrive to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets.

No one admits to knowing the dead man, but as secrets come to light, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner: Olivier.

How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?

Bury Your Dead

It’s Winter Carnival in Québec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Gamache has come not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society.

It is here an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Québec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?

Although on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smoldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he receives disquieting letters from the village, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. Inspector Gamache’s colleague (and future son-in-law) Jean Guy Beauvoir unravels the threads to solve this case

A Trick of the Light

“Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montréal.

Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, arrives in the tiny Québec village to find the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light where nothing is as it seems.

The Beautiful Mystery

No outsiders can enter the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-Les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Québec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. Ironically, the monks are world-famous for their glorious voices for a community under a vow of silence. The effect on both singer and listener is so profound it is known as “the beautiful mystery.”

But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery’s massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. But before finding the killer, before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between.

How the Light Gets In

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté de Québec. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department; his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months; and hostile forces are lining up against him.

When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers, in Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city for a few hours. Myrna’s longtime friend, who was due to spend Christmas in the village, has failed to arrive.

When Chief Inspector Gamache presses for information, Myrna is reluctant to reveal her friend’s name. Mystified, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

The Long Way Home

Happily retired,  Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands.

“There is a balm in Gilead,” his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, “to make the wounded whole.”

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him.

The Nature of the Beast

Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn’t cry wolf. From alien invasions, to walking trees, to winged beasts in the woods, to dinosaurs spotted in Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him.

But when the boy disappears, the villagers must address the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true. And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal.

A monster once visited the place. And put down deep roots. And now, it is back.

A Great Reckoning

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.

Given to Gamache as a gift on the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

Glass Houses

When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment the creature’s shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Quebec, suspects it has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing.

What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears won’t come to fruition.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Kingdom of the Blind

When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Chief Inspector 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?

With the discovery of a body, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.

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

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 is futile. 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.

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.

A search begins with the discovery of a strange key 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.

The Madness of Crowds

You’re a coward.

Time and again, as the New Year approaches,  Gamache hears that phrase. 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, our main hero 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.

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 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?


Should we read the Louise Penny books in order?

Having read most of the Louise Penny books a while ago, and the latest two murder novels only recently, I don’t feel it’s essential to read the Louise Penny books in order – well unless you’re a stickler to reading the book list in chronological order like me, no matter what. They do stand on their own nicely, each with their own plot to murder someone dead.

The author makes a good job of explaining in each book if anything is important from the past, so you don’t feel overwhelmed with lots of stuff that you should have read before reading the current book.

However, for the sake of character development and getting to know the beautiful people a bit better, I’d say why not – if you can pick up the her novels and read each book in order, do it, even if to learn more about Armand Gamache, his wife, and the Three Pines village a bit more in each book.

If you get them out of order though, not such a biggie. As the author herself put it, it’s not necessary to read previous books – but it is recommended. They make for relatively light reading (the nature of the characters involved in solving the murders has nothing seriously gory in them). So check out the Louise Penny reading order above and follow it, including the short novella.


Louise Penny books in order for the crime mystery author

Louise Penny Biography

Louise Penny was born in 1958 in Toronto, Canada. The love of reading crime mystery books was in the family, since her mother would read such novels all the time.

Louise enrolled at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, currently known as Ryerson University, where she earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Radio and Television).

After graduation, she began working as a radio broadcaster and journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a position that she had for 18 years. After she got married to Michael Whitehead, head of hematology at Montreal Children’s Hospital, she stopped working, choosing instead to devote her time to writing at her husband’s urging to follow her dreams.

The author’s first book would have been a historical novel, but as she didn’t feel any calling for the genre, she soon switched to crime mystery, a genre that works for her very well even after all these years.

In 2013 the author was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her essential contribution to Canadian culture. This order is only second to the Order of Merit in Canada.

The author currently lives in a small village just south of Montreal called Knowlton alone, since her husband died in 2016. Her books won numerous awards over the year. From 2006 onward she won at least an award, if not more, every single year. Only her first novel won all these awards: the New Blood Dagger award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the 2007 Anthony Award, the Barry Award, and the Dilys Award. Some books have also earned Louise Penny the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award, and many were nominated for the Agatha and the Edgar Award.

In fact, she was ready to give up when she entered the British contest, Debut Dagger, aimed at unpublished writers. Among the 800 entries present, she won the second place. Next, she found a British agent which helped her become popular and publish her – so far -18 novels.

The Louise Penny books show that serious psychological books can easily hide inside a commercial genre. There is a deeper faith and hope that the author’s book radiate from within.


About the Louise Penny Books

In Louise Penny’s popular book, Glass Houses, Armand Gamache, who is by now a Chief Superintendent of the Quebec Provincial Police, encounters a tall, hooded figure standing unmoving in the greens of the village for three days, a foreboding of something dark and sinister, and a murder of a body discovered by Armand’s own wife, Reine-Marie Gamache, in the church basement. Armand couldn’t do anything to remove the figure because no crime has been committed with regards to it.

Next, we meet Armand at the stand testifying about a murder that was committed about the same time the dark figure appeared at the doors of the village. he Three Pines, the idyllic village will be soon shaken by murder, revenge and dark secrets that Armand Gamache must uncover before it’s too late.

I loved Glass Houses by Louise Penny, but I have to admit that the first half of the book was not up to the author’s usual standards. However, much to my delight, the pace picked up soon after and I, once again, became enthralled by the Louise Penny’s usual flowing style.

Not sure if I mentioned it before, but just recently I got a chance to watch the 2013 Louise Penny movie adaptation by CBS based on her first novel. The movie has the same title as the book. The movie featured the village Three Pines, just like the Armand Gamache books, and Armand, of course, was there as well in a leading role cast by Nathaniel Parker.

The movie adaptation turned out to be great, it was a fine translation of the author’s first book in the series. However, for some reason, I expected something a bit more. I can’t put my finger on what that was – maybe the main character’s British accent, which I didn’t feel that was belonging in Canada all that much. Still, it was a darn good movie. And the author Louise Penny being an executive producer for the film I’m sure helped with making it as close as possible to the book a lot.

The Nature of the Beast was so far probably my favorite Louise Penny book. Laurent Lepage is just a nine-year-old boy, but one with a strong imagination. And all of it revolves around alien abductions, death, murder, and all sorts of other nasty things. The proverbial crying wolf is what everyone in town things it’s going on. Until it’s not. Because Laurent goes missing and there is a reckoning to deal with after that. Could it be that what some of the boy’s blabberings were true? There is a major search going on to find him everywhere, out in nature, in the woods, down south, up north, but what they come across is nothing less than death, murder, and complete betrayal and reckoning.


What About the Inspector Armand Gamache TV Show?

December 2022 saw the premiere of Three Pines, an Amazon Studios mystery streaming television series starring Alfred Molina, which is based on the book series focused around Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec police force.

Unlike the books, the TV series a;sp includes another story line going throughout the season, where Gamache is investigating the disappearance of a young Indigenous woman.

Some of the other main actors for the TV show are:

  • Rossif Sutherland as Jean-Guy Beauvoir
  • Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers as Isabelle Lacoste
  • Tantoo Cardinal as Bea Mayer
  • Clare Coulter as Ruth Zardo
  • Sarah Booth as Yvette Nichol
  • Anna Tierney as Clara Morrow
  • Roberta Battaglia as Crie

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com talked about Three Pines, saying it is “A collection of intelligent two-hour mysteries that fans of Agatha Christie or even Columbo should watch.”

A former TV movie adaptation was released in 2013 with the title Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery featuring Nathaniel Parker as Inspector Gamache.

59 Comments

  1. Enjoyed all the books, Alfred Molina, as the main character, excellent, Hope they renew the series, as these are amazing stories, & should be continued.

  2. I’ve seen that they are not renewing Three Pines. I’m so sad. I love all of Louise Penny’s Gamache series and was so hopeful to see the television adaptation. Any chance the decision will be reversed?

  3. Just finished watching season 1 on Prime. The Hangman was the last episode. What book follows, A Trick of the Light? I’m going to read the books before season 2 comes out! Thank you.

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