Three Pines Books in Order: How to read the Inspector Gamache series?

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks!

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 investigates murders.

How to read the Three Pines Series in Order?

Every book in the Inspector Gamache book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.

  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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 never met the elderly woman. When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.
  3. 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.
  1. All the Devils Are Here – On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.
  2. The Madness of Crowds – While the residents of the Québec village of Three Pines take advantage of the deep snow to ski and toboggan, to drink hot chocolate in the bistro, and share meals together, the Chief Inspector Gamache finds his holiday with his family interrupted by a simple request. He’s asked to provide security for what promises to be a non-event. A visiting Professor of Statistics will be giving a lecture at the nearby university.
  3. A World of Curiosities – As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, and shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines. But to what end?

  1. The Grey Wolf – Relentless phone calls interrupt the peace of a warm August morning in Three Pines. Though the tiny Québec village is impossible to find on any map, someone has managed to track down Armand Gamache, head of homicide at the Sûreté, as he sits with his wife in their back garden. Reine-Marie watches with increasing unease as her husband refuses to pick up, though he clearly knows who is on the other end. When he finally answers, his rage shatters the calm of their quiet Sunday morning.

If you like our article about the Three Pines reading order, don’t forget to bookmark it! You may also be interested in Ann Cleeves’ books or Elly Griffiths’ series.

Similar Posts


    1. I like to read in order. The mystery is solved but the status of the characters continue. You find you have to read the next book to find out what happens to the characters. I love that about her books.

  1. 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.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. My first read was book # 7 . I did not realize it was part of a series. Once I read it I HAD to go back to book # 1 and I am so glad I did! The series builds and the ensemble of characters develop wonderfully!
      Gamache and team would be a great TV or Netflix series. The author has such a talent for connecting the words to create the perfect picture that allows you to visualize the community of Three Pines…..every time I read a book I am ready to pic up and move there….even in the winter!!!

    2. I just can’t find which book tells the story of the career-destroying shootout, or the one that has Gamache responsible for some of the opioids being let loose on the streets of Montreal. Referred to all the time, but in which book(s) did the events occur?

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. “The Hangman” is a novella taking place after “Bury Your Dead.” I missed it ! I’ll add it to the list with the next update, thks!

  3. I suppose they could stand alone but in order to get the full concept of what’s happening and how the characters are involved, I suggest you read them in order.

  4. The TV adaptation of Still Life was horrible. None of the characters remotely resembled those in the book, especially Gamache. I wish they wouldn’t bother if they aren’t going to do the wonderful books justice.

  5. I have read and loved all! I had written down a beautiful quote of Penny’s on mourning and lost it —- Does anyone out there remember it? PUHLEEZ help this old gal. Merci !(from a New Yorker)

    1. “Grief was dagger-shaped and sharp and pointed inward. It was made of fresh loss and old sorrow. Rendered and forged and sometimes polished. Irene Finney had taken her daughter’s death and to that sorrow she’d added a long life of entitlement and disappointment, of privilege and pride. And the dagger she’d fashioned was taking a brief break from slashing her insides, and was now pointed outward.” Louise Penny’s A Rule Against Murder. May or may not be the quote for which you were looking. I found this at

  6. Several weeks ago, I copied a beautiful passage of Louise Penny’s writing on mourning. I would like to use it for I small talk I have to give on the Beatiitudes in early November.

    I don’t know how to “define” my website

  7. I’m a genuine Anglo – resident in Coventry, UK – and I find Louise Penny’s descriptions of Quebec and the Quebecois very vivid and evocative. Like several others, I came across Inspector Gamache by accident and read Still Life first. I was hooked immediately and am glad I then went to the first in the series and am now working my way through in order. Its the best way to get a good understanding of the characters and their relationships.

  8. I read A BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY first, loved it, and went back to read the others in order. Almost done now, with only one remaining: ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE. She’s an excellent writer — she tells a fine story and has a good sense of humor. She even makes a few references to Inspector Clouseau and a “minkey.”

  9. They can be read out of order and be fine, but there is a sense of continuation reading them in order as some events are referred to in future books…more.

  10. What ever happened to John-Guy Beauvoir after “A Beautiful Mystery”?
    What book is the sequel…..😱 I’m dyin here

    1. Jaimie, did you find your answer?! The sequel, “How the Light Gets In” is so good! I am not ashamed to share with you that I definitely shed some tears. Happy? Sad? You’ll know when you get there. Read it as soon as you can and it will answer your questions about Jean-Guy!

  11. I began reading these during the Covid-19 times. Just finished Bury your dead. Best one yet!
    I can’t wait to start the next one. I miss the characters like they are old friends.

  12. I love the series but I wish there was a a site where I could a compete list of characters and their role and relationships. When there are two or more years between publishing, it’s difficult to remember.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *