19 Louise Penny Books in Order With Summaries: Inspector Gamache Guide

Louise Penny Books In Order
19 Louise Penny Books in Order With Summaries: Inspector Gamache Guide 26

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 just hope this series never ends!

With the launch of her newest book and the new series Three Pines on Amazon Prime, we thought it was the perfect time to give a complete guide to the Louise Penny books in order.

*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.

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19 Louise Penny Books in Order With Summaries: Inspector Gamache Guide 27

Table of Contents

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.

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)
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Louise Penny Reading List

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Louise Penny Books in Order With Summaries

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)

The first in the New York Times Best Selling series of Chief Inspector Gamache. I fell in LOVE with the Inspector, the town of Three Pines, 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 Armande Gamache searching a piece of art for clues after its painter, Jane Neal, turns up dead.

This is one of the best detective books and detective series 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

A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Gamache #2) by Louise Penny

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!

I love the characters in Three Pines. In this second book, CC de Poitiers is found electrocuted in the middle of a curling match. See what I mean about it being Canadian? Armand Gamache is called in once again to help solve the crime. The plot was great, and although I knew “whodunit”, I enjoyed every minute of this book.

The Cruelest Month

The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Gamache #3) by Louise Penny

The villagers of Three Pines decide to hold a seance in the old Hadley House. When one of the members dies of fright, Chief Inspector Gamache is called to investigate. This case causes him to look at his own past as well.

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

A Rule Against Murder

A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Gamache #4) by Louise Penny

Poor Armand Gamache can never have a relaxing vacation. He is away with Reine-Marie Gamache celebrating their anniversary when there is a murder. They are not far from Three Pines and his chase leads him there.

He is forced to look into his own life. I love how Penny gives us insight into Gamache’s past as well as his relationship with Reine-Marie. We 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.

The Brutal Telling

The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Gamache #5) by Louise Penny

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 and 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.

Bury Your Dead

Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache #6) by Louise Penny

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 Louise Penny books in order 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.

a trick of the light

A Trick of Light (Chief Inspector Gamache #7) by Louise Penny

Three Pines resident, Clara Morrow is celebrating her first solo art show when Lillian is found dead in her 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 to add to the stress. I love the characters in this series and hate some of them equally.

Beautiful Mystery

Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Gamache #8) by Louise Penny

Kirsten and I both agree that this is by far our least favorite book in the Chief Inspector Gamache Series. 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 is having 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.

How the Light Gets In

How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Gamache #9) by Louise Penny

Gamache is battling those that want to destroy him in this book and Jean-Guy has not spoken to him in months. He 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.

Each book pulls at my emotions because I am very invested in the characters and what happens to them. If you do not read the Louise Penny books in order, you may lose that extra something that makes these books one of a kind.

The Long Way Home

The Long Way Home (Chief Inspector Gamache #10) by Louise Penny

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 he 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 come home 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.

The nature of the beast

The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Gamache #11) by Louise Penny

I absolutely love how Louise Penny takes urban myths that are strictly Canadian and incorporates them into her books. The series is only 14 books long, so I need to slow down! I read 10 last year and I am nearly caught up to her latest book.  It will be a challenge.  This is my favorite mystery series.

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.

A Great Reckoning

A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache #12) by Louise Penny

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.

glass houses

Glass Houses (Chief Inspector Gamache #13) by Louise Penny

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. 

Gamache has depth to his character that is revealed in this book which is unexpected.  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.

kingdom of the blind

The Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Gamache #13) by Louise Penny

I love Louise Penny and this book is no exception.  The plot is always complex and the characters are beloved. 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 and leading to hundreds if not thousands of deaths.  This book is another gem from Louise Penny.

a better man

A Better Man by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #15)

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.

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.

all the devisl are here

All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #16)

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. 

I love that we get to know Daniel, Gamache’s son, in a way that we 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!

the madness of crowds

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Ganache #17) by Louise Penny

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!

Thank you Macmillian Audio for my copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

world of curiosities

A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache #18) by Louise Penny

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

More Louise Penny Books

State of Terror

State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton

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!

The Grey Wolf

The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Gamache #19)

While we do not currently have any information about the plot of this new Louise Penny Book, We are so excited to read this one and you can be sure to read our review by October 29, 2024.

Three Pines Merch

Louise Penny Adaptations

Three Pines was adapted to a Series on Amazon. The Three Pines series has eight episodes with 2 episodes dedicated to each of the first four books. The series which concluded on December 23rd, 2022 starred Alfred Molina has not been renewed on Amazon.

Louise Penny herself stated that “overall I am pleased and relieved”, but admits that there are changes to the characters and story “that I struggle with”. As much as we are disappointed not to see this series renewed, we agree that some of the changes to the series adaptation took away from the series as a whole.

State of Terror is in the process of being adapted for the big screen with Hidden Light Productions, Hillary Clinton’s production company. We cannot wait to see what these two powerhouses come up with!

Frequently Asked Questions About the Chief Inspector Gamache Series:

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. We suggest that 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”. We are 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 we hope it never ends. The new Louise Penny Book in the Inspector Gamache Series is called Grey Wolf and will be published 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

We 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)

Did you read the Louise Penny Books in Order?

Novel Ideas 68

The Ultimate List of Mystery Books

Love Mysteries? We created this list and carefully divided it by sub-genre for anyone who lives a good mystery as much as we do.

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

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