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Chief Inspector Gamache Books in Order: How to read Louise Penny series?

Sometimes, you have to go north to find a good detective.

Who is the Chief Inspector Gamache?

Inspector Gamache or Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, if you prefer, is the main character in a series of books written by Canadian author Louise Penny.

Armand  Gamache is working for the Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force for Quebec. Usually, the stories take place in the village of Three Pines where Gamache investigate murders.

Inspector Gamache Books in Order:


  1. Still Life – Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team are called in to the scene of a suspicious death. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods.
  2. A Fatal Grace (Dead Cold) – No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter―and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with someone quite extraordinary.
  3. The Cruelest Month – When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate.
  4. A Rule Against Murder (The Murder Stone) – The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles.


  1. The Brutal Telling – With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. Everybody goes to Olivier’s Bistro―including a stranger whose murdered body is found on the floor. When Chief Inspector Gamache is called to investigate, he is dismayed to discover that Olivier’s story is full of holes.
  2. Bury Your Dead – Violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society–where an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly four hundred years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?
  3. A Trick of the Light – Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache is called to the tiny Quebec village where nothing is as it seems. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth.
  4. The Beautiful Mystery – Gamache is investigating the death of a monk who was a member of what was believed to be an extinct order. Gamache and his partner must travel by airplane and boat into the remote forests of northern Quebec to investigate the mystery.


  1. How the Light Gets In – When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. He soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.
  2. The Long Way Home – Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. But his neighbor Clara Morrow wants his help to find her artist husband who failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation.
  3. The Nature of the Beast – Hardly a day goes by when nine year old Laurent Lepage doesn’t cry wolf. His tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true.


  1. A Great Reckoning – When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets.
  2. Glass Houses – When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.
  3. Kingdom of the Blind – When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, he discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors had ever met the elderly woman. When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.
  4. A Better Man – It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter. As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.


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  1. Suzanne

    Does it matter the order I read the Louise Penny novels? Or, do they stand alone?

  2. Enrico Tassinari

    In my opinion they should be read in order. Each novel has a standalone mystery, but actually what makes you love the series is the development of the characters and specially the relationships among the characters. Moreover the most compelling thread is the development of Gamache’s career inside the Surete du Quebec against the evil forces hidden in the oprganization.

  3. Jemi

    I agree that the books are most enjoyable when read in order.

    Has anyone seen the T.V. movie made of “Still Life”? What did you think of the portrayal of Gamache and Three Pines?

    • Carol

      When was the TV movie and on what station. Would live to see it. I just finished How the Light Gets In. These books are addictive.

    • MaryAnn

      I saw it-did not care for it. Gamache actor was too brooding & development of the “cast of characters in Three Pines” was mostly missing.

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