The winners of last year’s Agatha Awards honoring traditional mysteries (no explicit sex; no excessive gore or gratuitous violence; nothing classified as “hard-boiled”) were recently announced on May 5th.
By Louise Penny
No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. They grow vegetables, they tend chickens, they make chocolate. And they sing. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world famous for their glorious voices, raised in ancient chants whose 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 Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Surete du Quebec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. One of the brothers, in this life of prayer and contemplation, has been contemplating murder. As the peace of the monastery crumbles, Gamache is forced to confront some of his own demons, as well as those roaming the remote corridors. Before finding the killer, before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between. Book 8 in the Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries.
Best Children’s / Young Adult Novel
By Penny Warner
An enigmatic message leads the Code Busters on a treasure hunt on creepy Alcatraz Island, where they must use their problem-solving skills to unravel the mystery. The Code Busters Club, Case #2