10 Best Louise Penny books 2023

Which are the best books by Louise Penny?

Louise Penny is a Canadian author known for her mystery novels featuring the character of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a journalist and radio host for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Penny’s debut novel, “Still Life,” was published in 2005 and since then, she has published over 15 novels in the series, which has become a popular and critically acclaimed success. 

Her novels have won numerous awards, including the Agatha Award, the Anthony Award, and the Macavity Award.

Penny’s writing is known for its complex characters, vivid descriptions of Canadian landscapes, and intricate plotlines. She has been praised for her ability to create an immersive atmosphere and her skillful use of language.

List of Top 10 Books by Louise Penny

I have made a list of the top 10 books by Louise Penny for when you need a thrilling read next.

1. Still Life (2005)

Still Life” is the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. The story begins with the discovery of the dead body of Jane Neal, an elderly resident of the small village of Three Pines, in rural Quebec. 

The case is initially treated as a hunting accident, but Gamache suspects there is more to the story. As he investigates, he begins to unravel the secrets of the village and its inhabitants. 

Along the way, we are introduced to the charming cast of characters that make up Three Pines, including the eccentric artist Clara and the acerbic poet Ruth. 

Get the book here: Still Life

2. The Cruelest Month (2007)

In “The Cruelest Month,” it’s springtime in Three Pines, and the villagers are looking forward to the annual séance held by a local psychic. But when the psychic’s husband is found dead, Chief Inspector Gamache is called in to investigate.

 As he delves into the case, Gamache uncovers secrets that have been buried for years, and the tension in the village begins to mount. 

Once again, Penny’s writing shines in this book, as she skillfully weaves together the threads of the mystery while deepening our understanding of the characters and their relationships.

Get the book here: The Cruelest Month

3. The Brutal Telling (2009)

In “The Brutal Telling,” a stranger arrives in Three Pines and takes up residence in the bistro. But when his body is found in the basement, Gamache must try to unravel the mystery of who he was and why he came to Three Pines. 

As the investigation progresses, Gamache discovers a tangled web of secrets and betrayals that threaten to tear apart the village. This book is notable for its exploration of the darker side of human nature and for its poignant portrayal of the cost of keeping secrets.

Get the book here: The Brutal Telling

4. Bury Your Dead (2010)

In “Bury Your Dead,” Gamache is dealing with a personal tragedy while investigating a murder in the Literary and Historical Society in Quebec City. As he delves into the case, he uncovers a conspiracy that has its roots in the city’s past. 

The novel is notable for its powerful evocation of Quebec City and its history, and for the way, it weaves together the personal and professional challenges facing Gamache.

Get the book here: Bury Your Dead

5. A Trick of the Light (2011)

In “A Trick of the Light,” Gamache investigates a murder in the art world, as a beloved member of the Three Pines community is found dead in her home. 

As he searches for answers, he must navigate the complex relationships and rivalries of the art world, and confront the dark side of creativity. The novel is notable for its exploration of the theme of appearance vs. reality and its exploration of the creative process.

Get the book here: A Trick of the Light

6. The Beautiful Mystery (2012)

The Beautiful Mysteryis the eighth installment in the series. Chief Inspector Gamache and his team travel to a remote monastery in Quebec where the monks are known for their beautiful singing. 

But when the renowned choir director is found murdered in the monastery’s locked garden, Gamache must investigate the case with his usual intelligence and insight. 

As he delves deeper into the lives of the monks, Gamache uncovers secrets and betrayals that threaten the peaceful community and the safety of his team.

Get the book here: The Beautiful Mystery

7. The Long Way Home (2014)

The Long Way Homeis the tenth book of the series. Chief Inspector Gamache has retired to the peaceful village of Three Pines, where he plans to live out the rest of his days with his wife, Reine-Marie. 

But when his friend Clara Morrow’s husband goes missing, Gamache is pulled back into the world of crime-solving. As he follows the trail of the missing artist, Gamache uncovers secrets and betrayals that threaten to tear apart the close-knit community of Three Pines.

Get the book here: The Long Way Home 

8. How the Light Gets In (2013)

How the Light Gets In” is the ninth book, Chief Inspector Gamache is pulled back into a web of corruption within the Sûreté du Québec, the police force he has dedicated his life to serving. 

As Gamache investigates the disappearance of a woman from a small Quebec village, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear, including his family and his career. 

The stakes are high, but Gamache refuses to back down, using his wit and wisdom to outsmart those who seek to bring him down.

Get the book here: How the Light Gets In

9. A Great Reckoning (2016)

In “A Great Reckoning” Chief Inspector Gamache takes on a new role as head of the Sûreté Academy, where he must train the next generation of police officers. 

But when a murder occurs on campus, Gamache realizes that the corruption he thought he had left behind in the force is still alive and well. 

As he investigates the case, Gamache must confront his past and the mistakes he has made, while also trying to protect his new charges from the dangers that lurk in the shadows.

Get the book here: A Great Reckoning 

10. A Rule Against Murder

A Rule Against Murder” takes place in the idyllic village of Three Pines, where Gamache and his team are investigating a murder that takes place during a family reunion at the luxurious Manoir Bellechasse.

The victim is the matriarch of the wealthy Finney family, who had gathered at the Manoir to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. 

As Gamache delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers long-held secrets and resentments within the family, leading him to suspect that the murder may have been committed by one of them.

Get the book here: A Rule Against Murder


Who is Louise Penny?

Louise Penny is a Canadian author of mystery novels, best known for her Chief Inspector Gamache series.

What is the Chief Inspector Gamache series about?

The Chief Inspector Gamache series is a collection of mystery novels set in the fictional village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada. 

What is Louise Penny’s writing style?

Louise Penny’s writing style is often described as atmospheric, character-driven, and poetic. 

What is the best Louise Penny book to start with?

The best Louise Penny book to start with is usually “Still Life,” which is the first book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.

When was the most recent Louise Penny book released?

The most recent Louise Penny book, “The Madness of Crowds,” was released in August 2021.


Louise Penny is a master of the mystery genre and her novels are filled with intricate plots, clever twists, and engaging characters. Her books will keep you guessing until the very end.

The setting of Three Pines and the surrounding areas are almost like characters in themselves. Penny’s descriptions of the landscapes, the food, and the people create a strong sense of place that will transport you to Quebec.

If you enjoy the first book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, there are many more to follow. The series currently consists of 18 books, so you can immerse yourself in the world of Three Pines for a long time.


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