19 Louise Penny Books in Order With Summaries

I created this list of Louise Penny Books in order because sometimes you pick up a series and cannot remember which book you need to read next. If you look at the list of Inspector Gamache books below, you will see a complete list of the books in the series as well as a summary of the books.

Louise Penny Books with Order with Summaries: Guide to Chief Inspector Gamache

I fell in love with Louise Penny Books five years ago after I read the first book, Still Life, and have been reading them religiously ever since. As a Canadian, I get a huge kick out of the fact that these books take place in a small village in Quebec.

The first book has a murder that takes place during a curling match which would have been enough for me to read the next book. But it was the characters in the village of Three Pines as well as Chief Inspector Gamache that really drew me into this amazing cozy mystery series.

Now that I have read every book in the series, I am even more convinced that the village of Three Pines sounds like a perfect place to live and the characters in these books feel like people I have known for years. Every book gets better and I hope this series never ends!

List of Louise Penny Books in Order of Publication

  1. Still Life (2007)
  2. A Fatal Grace (2007)
  3. The Cruelest Month (2008)
  4. A Rule Against Murder (2009)
  5. The Brutal Telling (2009)
  6. Bury Your Dead (2010)
  7. A Trick of the Light (2011)
  8. The Beautiful Mystery (2013)
  9. How the Light Gets in (2013)
  10. The Long Way Home (2014)
  11. 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 Here (2020)
  17. The Madness of Crowds (2021)
  18. A World of Curiosities (2022)
  19. The Grey Wolf (2024)
BTB Elements and icons 08
  • To get the best reading of the Three Pines series, I suggest reading the books in order of publication.
  • The audio versions of this series are fantastic. I have listened to them all. The first 10 books in the series were narrated by Ralph Cosham who, unfortunately, passed away. The rest of the series is narrated by Robert Bathurst who does an equally wonderful job. However, if you are listening to the books, I suggest taking a short break between books 10 & 11.

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Louise Penny Books in Order With Summaries

Still Life by Louise Penny

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2007

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1

Age Range: 13+

This is the first book in the New York Times Best Selling series of Chief Inspector Gamache. I fell in LOVE with the Inspector, the town of Three Pines, a small Canadian village just north of the US, and its residents. Louise Penny CAN WRITE.

The mystery was great (and I didn’t solve it) but what got me the most was Penny’s writing style and reflections on the human psyche. This first Louise Penny book has Chief Inspector Armand Gamache searching a piece of art for clues after its painter, Jane Neal, turns up dead.

This is one of the best detective books I have ever read. You will fall in love with Three Pines and the people who live there. The wonderful community in this series is the best of what cozy books should be. If you love mystery novels and have not read this series, What are you waiting for?

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order / Feel-Good Books / Best Mysteries of all Time /

a Fatal Grace

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2007

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #2

Winner of 2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel
Age Range: 13+

In this second book, CC de Poitiers is found electrocuted in the middle of a curling match. There is nothing more Canadian than curling! Armand Gamache is called in once again to help solve the crime.

Nobody liked CC and it seems like there are a lot of people who might have had a motive to kill her. The plot was great, and although I knew “whodunit”, I enjoyed every minute of this book.

I loved this book even more than the first one. The Canadian in me could not stop laughing at the subtle jabs at the Canadian way of living in the freezing cold winter. I mean, the cold makes your eyes feel like they will freeze in your head if you don’t blink fast enough!

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books In Order

The Cruelest Month

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2008

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #3

Age Range: 13+

The villagers of Three Pines decide to hold a seance in the old Hadley House. When one of the members, Madeliene, dies of fright, Chief Inspector Gamache is called to investigate. He soon discovers that there was a drug in her system and she was murdered.

While Gamache is investigating, someone plants stories about him and his family in the paper. He believes it is the work of Sûreté officers who want revenge on Gamache. He had exposed the corruption of an officer named Arnot. While trying to solve a murder, Gamache will have to play a game of cat and mouse to find the corruption in the Sûreté as well.

This is one of the books that you could read at any time, after the first one, if you don’t want to read the Louise Penny books in order.

I am always happy to spend more time with Chief Inspector Gamache and the residents of Three Pines. This book also starts delving into the politics and the corruption of the Sûreté.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books In Order

A Rule Against Murder

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2009

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #4

Age Range: 13+

Armand Gamache is away with Reine-Marie Gamache celebrating their 30th anniversary at an inn located in Quebec when their friends Peter and Clara Morrow arrive for their family reunion. Peter’s family is elitist and has difficult dynamics.

The family is there to unveil a statue of Charles Morrow, a deceased patriarch. Soon after the unveiling, Julia Morrow, Peter’s estranged sister, is found dead under a fallen statue. They are not far from Three Pines and his chase leads him there.

Once again, Gamache is forced to look into his life and relationship with his son, Daniel.

I love how Penny gives us insight into Gamache’s past as well as his relationship with Reine-Marie. Readers will also learn more about Jean-Guy Beauvoir, the second in command.

The development of the characters is one of the things that makes this series so unique and the key reason why I suggest reading the Louise Penny books in order. Much of the personal information about the characters can be lost otherwise.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books In Order

The Brutal Telling

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2009

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache

Age Range: 13+

In this installment of the Chief Inspector Gamache Series, Armand has been summoned back to Three Pines with his team after a man is found dead in the Bistro. The Bistro is a central hub in this little town. The descriptions of the food leave me so hungry.

It is clear that Olivier is holding onto secrets and not telling the truth and Gamache must determine if the lying is to cover up murder as well. The ending of this book is extremely important to understand the rest of the series and is another reason to read the Louise Penny books in order of publication. Each new book provides background and information on the characters in the books.

Each new tidbit about the recurring characters in this series makes me feel more invested. You can find our complete guide to the characters in this series if you need a refresher before you read the next book.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

Bury Your Dead

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2010

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #6

Age Range: 13+

This is the saddest book in the series and if you have not read any of the books in this series, do not start with this one! And if you are reading the complete series and have not read this, do not read the description!

Both Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir are on sick leave from the Surete after the events from the end of the last book and Olivier is in prison for murder. While on leave, Gamache uses the opportunity to do historical research at the Literary and Historical Society. While there, a body is discovered.

This book also revisits the murder of the Hermit from The Brutal Telling and questions Olivier’s guilt. Throughout the book, we are also following a stakeout in which Gamache has made a mistake and someone has died.

This is the book in the series where Louise Penny really shows us her writing chops! This book has multiple storylines, and I was invested in all of them. The book also delves into some of the mysteries of Samuel De Champlain and where he was buried. And while I am not a history buff, if Penny had written my history text books as a child, I am sure I would have loved history class.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

a trick of the light

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2011

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache # 7

Age Range: 13+

Three Pines resident, Clara Morrow is celebrating her first solo art show when Lillian Dyson is found dead in Clara’s garden. Chief Inspector Armond Gamache is called to the small Quebec town to solve the murder.

Peter and Clara Morrow both seem to be appropriately disturbed by the murder but everything is not as it seems. Peter and Clara are having marital problems which adds to the stress. I love the characters in this series and hate some of them equally

I love watching Clara grow and come into her own as she celebrates her first art show. I felt like I was cheering her on from the sidelines.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

Beautiful Mystery

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2013

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #8

Age Range: 13+

Kirsten and I both agree that this is our least favorite book in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series. I miss my beloved Three Pines characters. However, even if you are not reading the Louise Penny books in order, the last few chapters of this book are absolutely critical for character development and understanding future books.

Jean-Guy Beauvoir has been having trouble since the shooting that nearly killed him, his marriage is a failure, and he has severe PTSD. When he and Chief Inspector Gamache head to a monastery to investigate their choir director’s murder, things might all crumble to pieces. This is a locked room mystery unlike others I have read

This is actually the only book in the series I did not love. It is a crucial read for plot and character development for future books. I also love a locked room mystery and this is unlike any other I have read since it is in a monastery.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

How the Light Gets In

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2013

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #9

Age Range: 13+

Gamache battles those who want to destroy him in this book. Francoeur has dismantled Gamache’s team. Jean-Guy, who has not spoken to Gamache for months, and Isabelle have been sent to new divisions. Francoeur works to tear them apart as Jean-Guy is addicted to pills and emotionally distraught.

Gamache is very happy to escape to Three Pines when Myrna Landers asks him for help. Her old friend has not shown up as expected and she is worried. And while Gamache helps Myrna solve the mystery of her missing friend, Gamache discovers a plot in the government that goes all the way to the Premier. Jean Guy has turned on Gamache who has had to call Agent Nicol to Three Pines for help. The ending of this book will leave you emotionally spent. I am giving you fair warning.

Each book pulls at my emotions because I am very invested in the characters and what happens to them. I feel like I keep saying how important it is to read this series in publication order because you may lose that extra something that makes these books one of a kind. But this book feels special because it feels like the epic culmination of the events from the first 8 books.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

The Long Way Home

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2014

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #10

Age Range: 13+

This is the last book the late Ralph Cosham narrated. He was a wonderful narrator who brought these stories to life. I have never physically read a single one because when I do, I hear Ralph’s voice in my head and it is not the same.

Gamache has finally been able to retire and is living in Three Pines. He has found peace and comfort, even more so because Jean-Guy is healthy and happy.

Peter Morrow has not returned to Clara when he said he would and now Gamache is heading to find him. His search takes him out of Three Pines and into the world of art.

It seems like Gamache has finally found some peace and happiness. I love Three Pines and feel like it would be the perfect place to retire.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

The nature of the beast

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2015

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #11

Age Range: 13+

I absolutely love how Louise Penny takes urban myths that are strictly Canadian and incorporates them into her books. A young Boy from Three Pines is murdered after telling a tale of a giant gun hidden in the woods.

This is the first Louise Penny book that is narrated by Robert Bathurst. I was worried that I would not like a new voice for Gamache but, I loved his narration. If you are reading the Louise Penny books in order, will certainly notice a difference in the narration but, I assure you, it is still wonderful.

I love the Canadianisms in this book from the series. As a Canadian, I get enjoyment from books that can appeal to everyone while still maintaining a Canadian feel!

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

A Great Reckoning

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2016

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #12

Age Range: 13+

Oh, how do I love Louise Penny….let me count the ways…..I LOVE her books.  The characters, the food, and Three Pines are such comforting reads for me.  She never disappoints me.  I have been trying to slow down so that I do not finish all the books before the next one comes out but, that is a lost cause.

The Chief Inspector has a new job and with it, a new murder to solve.  When one of the professors in the Surete Academy is found dead, Armand Gamache is at the center of an investigation.

With each book in the Armand Gamache series, comes deeper insight into the characters. This book, along with each of the others, provides me with entertainment but also comfort in coming back to the characters that I love.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

glass houses

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2017

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #13

Age Range: 13+

The unexpected depth of Armand Gamache is revealed in this book.  Gamache is now the superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec. As an unknown figure shows up in Three Pines and stands without moving in the middle of the town, people become more unnerved.  When a body is discovered, secrets are revealed.  Meanwhile, the  Sûreté du Québec is under siege from drug cartels and losing the battle.

I cannot believe I am almost up to date on this series.  I love this series and I loved this book.  Each book is more complex and well thought out than the last. I love watching Gamache in his new role as superintendent.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

kingdom of the blind

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2018

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #14

Age Range: 13+

When Armand Gamache receives a letter to go to an abandoned farmhouse, he learns that he is the executor of a will for someone he has never met. 

Meanwhile, Gamache is trying to track down the drugs that he let into the country before they are distributed. This can lead to hundreds if not thousands of deaths.  This book is another gem from Louise Penny.

I love Louise Penny and this book is no exception.  The plot is always complex and the characters are beloved.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

a better man

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2019

Genre: 2019

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache 15

Age Range: 13+

Inspector Gamache is investigating a pregnant woman’s disappearance in this one while trying to help get a hold of the catastrophic situation occurring with an overflowing river. I like the story, but I guessed the ending of the murder mystery fairly early on in the book. I am so happy to be reading the Louse Penny books in order and cannot believe I have to wait another year for the next book.

Louise Penny did it again! While not my favorite Chief Inspector Gamache, it’s still a fantastic read. This is book 15 in the series I believe and each of them is an absolute treasure.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

All the Devils are Here

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2020

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #16

Age Range: 13+

I love that I get to know Daniel, Gamache’s son, in a way that I have not in previous books.  If you are not familiar with the series, I suggest you start at number one, read the Louise Penny books in order, and pace yourself.  I tried to slow down but now I have to wait a year between books!

I listened to it in less than a day.  I could not find a point to stop.  Robert Bathurst is a brilliant narrator and is the voice of Gamache.  So much so that I will not read this series, rather, I prefer to listen.  This is my favorite book in the series so far. 

I absolutely loved this book that takes place in Paris rather than in Three Pines.  The story kept me on my toes every minute and had me guessing to the very end. 

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

the madness of crowds

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2021

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Ganache #17

Age Range: 13+

Just when I thought Louise Penny could not get any better, along came The Madness of Crowds. This is the first book I’ve read that addresses the pandemic and Penny did it perfectly. 

People have just started to re-emerge from lockdown when Gamache is asked to provide security at a statistics lecture. It seems harmless enough right?!  Wrong!

This book has all the people that you know and love from Three Pines with all the storytelling and tension I’ve come to love in this series! And I am so glad that I have read the Louise Penny books in order. It adds so much to the narrative,

As usual, Robert Bathurst nails the narration of the novel. This is truly a book series that audiobooks bring to life! #gifted

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

world of curiosities

Author: Louise Penny

Year: 2022

Genre: Mystery

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #18

Age Range: 13+

I have to say that I love every single Louise Penny book more than the last. I LOVED this book so much.

This story moves back and forth between the present and the past as the chief inspector confronts his past demons. A young woman and her brother whose mother was murdered find themselves in three pines. This is the case that brought Gamache and Beauvoir together and the memory is haunting for everyone.

I loved seeing the relationship between the two men from its difficult beginning. It made me love Gamache and Beauvoir even more. If you love Louise Penny, this newest mystery will not disappoint

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books in Order

The Grey Wolf

Author: Louise Penny

Genre: Mystery

Release Date: October 29, 2024

More info: Chief Inspector Gamache #19

I cannot wait to read the newest installment from the Inspector Gamache series. In this book, Gamache receives a note saying “This might interest you”. Along with relentless phone calls, Gamache realizes that something bad, much worse than one murder, is headed his way. He can only trust Isabelle Lacoste and Jean-Guy Beauvoir.

More Louise Penny Books

State of Terror

Author: Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton

Year: 2021

Genre: Thriller

Age Range: 15+

State of Terror is Hillary Clinton’s first fiction book and she teamed up with mystery writing heavy-weight, Louise Penny to create an action-packed political thriller.

This story involves a Secretary of State globe-trotting to try to stop an impending terrorist attack from happening. In the process, we are privy to Louise Penny’s astute observations on human nature.

While this book is not a part of the Three Pines Series, Chief Inspector Gamache does make a cameo appearance toward the end of the book which will thrill fans of this series. If you love fast-paced action-based thrillers, this is a must-read!

I love that the book is so fast-paced! It was a page-turner for sure!

I love finding Chief Inspector Gamache in this political thriller. This is a different book for Penny and I think she did a fantastic job.

Find this book in: Louise Penny Books / Fiction Books About Women in Politics

Three Pines Merch

Frequently Asked Questions About the Chief Inspector Gamache Series:

Do You Have to Read the Louise Penny Books in Order?

Short Answer: YES!

Long Answer: There are currently 18 books in the Chief Inspector Gamache series and I did read them in order. Is it necessary? That depends. Each book has its own murder mystery that is independent of the other books.

However, the characters from the Three Pines series are consistent. They grow and change and are a huge part of the appeal of this series. If you read the Louise Penny books in order, you will not have any spoilers. If you read them out of order, you may spoil the books for yourself.

What is the best Louise Penny Book to Start with?

Our suggestion is to read the Louise Penny books in the order of publication to avoid spoilers. I suggest you start with the first book in the Inspector Gamache series and read Still Life first.

How Many Inspector Gamache Books Are There?

There are currently 18 Inspector Gamache books with 19th book set to be published on October 20, 2024.

Is State of Terror part of the Chief Inspector Gamache series?

No. This is not part of the Three Pines Series, but for all of you lovers of Chief Inspector Gamache, there is a little easter egg hidden for you in the book.

What Prime Series is Based on Louise Penny Books

Amazon Prime had one season of the series “Three Pines”. I am disappointed that the series was not picked up for a second season.

When is the Next Three Pines Book Coming Out?

Louise Penny usually publishes one book from this series every year. Louise Penny’s contract was renewed by St. Martin’s Press for two new books. The first is called the Grey Wolf and will be published on October 29th, 2024. The final draft is currently in her publisher’s hands!!!! The second is set to be released in 2025.

Is The Inspector Gamache Series Over?

No! The Inspector Gamache series is still going and I hope it never ends. The new Louise Penny Book in the Inspector Gamache Series is called Grey Wolf and will be published on October 29, 2024

What is the Latest Louise Penny Mystery?

The newest Louise Penny Mystery is called The Grey Wolf and will be published on October 29, 2024

What Are The Louise Penny Books in Order?

I have the complete list of the Louise Penny Books in order in this post!
1. Still Life (2007)
2. A Fatal Grace (2007)
3. The Cruelest Month (2008)
4. A Rule Against Murder (2009)
5. The Brutal Telling (2009)
6. Bury Your Dead (2010)
7. A Trick of the Light (2011)
8. The Beautiful Mystery (2013)
9. How the Light Gets in (2013)
10. The Long Way Home (2014)
11. 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 Here (2020)
17. The Madness of Crowds (2021)
18. A World of Curiosities (2022)
19. The Grey Wolf (2024)

Untitled design 3

Louise Penny Reading List

Download the complete book list below and subscribe to our newsletter here for exclusive access to more reading lists and printables!

Epilogue

Louise Penny’s Books are some of my favorite mystery books of all time. If you are looking to read the series or have already started the series, this is the perfect place for you to find the books in reading order along with their summaries

18 Louise Penny Books in Order: The Ultimate Guide to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache