Louise Penny Books In Order

Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Reading the Louise Penny books in order involves picking up the popular Canadian crime mystery series involving Chief Inspector Armand Gamache living in Quebec.

Here is the list of the Louise Penny Gamache books in order publication, starting with Still Life, her first book in the series, up to the current murder book A Better Man, published in 2019. Do 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 series.

New Louise Penny Books

A Better Man

A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #15), 2019

Louise Penny Armand Gamache Books In Order

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

Other Louise Penny Books

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 Louise Penny book list and read each book in order, do it, even if just 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 Louise Penny 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

About Louise Penny

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

Louise enrolled at the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute from where she earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Radio and Television).

After graduation, she began working as a radio broadcaster 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.

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 is working for Louise Penny very well even after all these years.

In 2013 author Louise Penny was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her important 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 her numerous awards over the year. From 2006 onward she won at least an award, if not more, every single year. Only her first novel, Still Life, 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 Edgar Award and the Agatha Award.

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 new book, Glass Houses, Armand Gamache, who is by now a Chief Superintendent of the Quebec Provincial Police (Sûreté du Québec), 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, Still Life. 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 Still Life 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.

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35 Responses to “Louise Penny Books In Order”

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  1. Sondra says:

    I am reading the books in order and I just finished THE BRUTAL SAYING. it was just awful and I can’t believe the failure on Louise Penny‘s part. I’m going to go ahead and start the next book anyway since I’m in the middle of this COVID-19 stuff and these mystery books have been a great resource for taking up the slacking or extra time. But I am so disappointed in this book and I can only hope that she redeems her self in the next book.

  2. Marisa C. says:

    I found the Penny series when perusing the stacks. I always try to take home one Canadian author with each library visit. Became hooked with GLASS HOUSES. The rest I’m reading in order. Decided to view STILL LIFE since it wasn’t on the shelf once I decided that in order was the better way to go. I’m sorry to say that it was a big disappointment. Casting, acting-all off. Even the village of Three Pines was wrong. PBS should give these stories a go. They know how to produce quality storytelling. I’m almost done with the series. Hope Ms. Penny continues writing Gamage for some time to come. If not, give Donna Leon a try!

  3. Jessica Porterfield says:

    I must say that I thought the Still Life movie was horrible. Gamache would never be rude to wait staff which occurs in the first 15 minutes. Miscast horribly in my opinion. Believe you will lose much if not read in order. Do yourself a favor and read in order.

  4. Dorothy Jones says:

    Have to disagree about movie adaptation of Still Life. It did not do her book justice, characters were flat and not developed. Totally wrong actors in roles. Love her books and the characters are so multi layered.

  5. Carol McLevin says:

    I agree with Tammy – if you read out of order you miss some elements that would spoil the other books and things happen to these awesome characters that would need to be in order – love all the characters in this book. i have read everyone and looking forward to the next one

  6. Paula Guertin Mortenson says:

    Really enjoy characters and plots. Inspector Gamache is indeed complicated and yet lovable. A Renaissance Man in a way.

  7. RM Cartet says:

    Love the cookbook idea! I can almost taste the scones, cream, and strawberry jam now!

  8. Gabriella Coroneos says:

    I have always loved Louise Penny’s books featuring Inspector Gamache, the village of Three Pines and all the wonderful characters in the village. I enjoy Louise’s style of writing, her attention to detail, well organized plots and most of all the fascinating details about Quebec, its people, its culture, the land, cities, towns in this part of Canada. The books are also a journey through eastern Canada. I eagerly await each new Inspector Gamache novel.

  9. Margaret Bailey says:

    All I can say is that I feel like I’ve always lived in Three Pines. And I wouldn’t want to move anywhere else.

  10. Linda says:

    Love the series. I want to live in Three Pines. I want these people to be neighbors of mine. I want to visit the ;lending library with Ruth and after go to the Gamache house(uninvited for lunch).

  11. Linda says:

    I just binge read the entire series. Well, not quite, I’m on the last book now. I feel they absolutely should be read in order because the characters and relationships unfold slowly. I’m hoping that eventually Gamache et al will move to France. Lots of crime there!

  12. Rita says:

    Hi I’ve read the whole series a couple of times and love them. I’ve just noticed The Hangman… how did I miss this one, and why?? I live in Australia and look forward to each new story – and rereading the old ones! Thank you!

  13. Cristina says:

    Judith, you have to read The Long Way Home to know about Peter

  14. Riina Viise says:

    Absolutely am glad I’m reading in sequence – find myself guessing next steps based on character history. Thank you for providing such superior fiction.

  15. anne says:

    I have read the first 3 books from the library. I believe I remember that in Still Life it explains the reason Gamache has a British accent, but since I don’t have the books at hand I cannot verify.

  16. Joy Anding says:

    How about a cookbook with all those delicious foods from The Bistro? I am also seriously sleep depleted since I can’t put these books down! I feel I am up there in the Three Pines!

  17. Nancy says:

    I heartily agree with reading the series in order. I didn’t and find as mentioned above it took some of the
    mystery away. Still great series, intuitive characterizations, great plots and I hope she continues this series
    for quite awhile!

  18. judith flynn says:

    I have been reading the Kingdom of the Blind, and have read a fair number of the Gamache novels but not necessarily in order. I was stumped by a reference to Clara’s husband, Peter, as well as his non-appearance, in Kingdom of the Blind. What happened to him, and in which novel? Will someone please enlighten me?

  19. Victor Krell says:

    I began reading the Gamache series out of order, because my wife reccomended Glass Houses to me. I went back to the first book in the series and am now catching up. I also saw the movie adaptation of Still Life the only character I was disappointed in was agent Nichol, I imagined her being more bedraggled. I read a lot of mysteries. And being a Daniel Silva fan, I have found that Louise Pinney has put a more human touch to her books. I feel a calm as I read these books. I can visualize the characters and three pines. Her intertwining of events keeps me going. I can now see why all the rewards.

  20. Elaine Cinq-Mars says:

    I think it’s best to read them in order. Some of the characters change jobs and it would confuse you. Also, the characters become much loved as you get to know them.

    One criticism I have of the audio books is that after the first reader passed away, a British man read. I am American but my parents were French Canadian. It disturbs me greatly to hear Armand Gamache speaking like a Brit. Quebec is a large province full intelligent people. Please find one to read stories that all take place in Quebec.

  21. Kathy says:

    It is a “must” to read them in order… I started reading out of order and found that I knew who was NOT the killer because they appeared in future books still happily living in Three Pines instead of rotting away in prison… there are also several sub plots that carry from book to book and these would be very confusing if not read in order…

  22. Janice says:

    I want to meet all these people and go to their village. I don’t want the series to end.

  23. Donna says:

    When do we get the next audio book

  24. Sonia King says:

    I would appreciate getting the books in order but they are in different order depending on the site you choose.
    What site has them in the original order.

    • Mystery Sequels says:

      The books are in reading order here. Not sure what other order are you looking for?

  25. deborah says:

    Absolutely should be read in order, in my opinion. The “big event” in Gamache’s life is frequently referenced in other books and if you don’t know about the warehouse, then you will miss the nuances.
    Love this series

  26. Constance Ruggieri says:

    Can’t get enough of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. He is insightful, warm and charming. The Beauvoir character works so well as Gamache’s assistant. Super series. Hopefully a movie or a series on PBS. Forgot to mention the love he has for his wife is to be envied.

  27. Bunty says:

    I have read all 12!!! I am a big fan!!! Loved them all. Need to know, heard somewhere, is their a movie??? Hopefully!

  28. pauletta says:

    I have read all but the last 2 cant wait to read them and see what happens to beauvoir

  29. L. King says:

    Read them in order if you want to get the most out of this wonderful series!! I started out of order because I was told it didn’t matter but quickly realized my mistake. I went back and re-read them starting from the beginning and it was so much better. Especially if you fall in love with Inspector Gamache as I have. It’s a relationship that builds up slowly and you’ll want to savour it right from the start.

  30. Linda Huff says:

    Which book is about the big shootout in the factory? I just finished ” The Beautiful Mystery ” and it was constantly referenced.

  31. Tammy says:

    I would disagree about not reading them in order. Things happen during this series that would be “spoiled” if read out of order. The series is amazing and well-written and the characters are amongst the most developed I’ve ever come across.

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