As gusty winds blow leaves into miniature hurricanes, I sit snug and warm in my little writing room, watching from the second story window as the treetops waltz against the sky. Here in Michigan we are not in the eye or even the path of this horrific storm, but today’s weather reminds me how fickle Mother Nature can be. Only two days ago we had windows wide open to invite summer-like breezes to blow through the house. Today seems like a good day for a mystery, and so that’s what I’ve chosen to read. A Beautiful Mystery, in fact, the new one in Louise Penny’s glorious series about Inspector Armand Gamache. While many of her books are set in the lovely little town of Three Pines, this one takes the Inspector farther afield - to a ancient monestery where the monks have all taken a vow of silence, the only time they speak being to sing the ancient Gregorian chants that are their pathway to the Divine.
Except one of them has turned up dead, most certainly at the hands of another.
A not-so-beautiful mystery.
As I read this story, I marvel once again at the research it takes to write a novel filled with such authenticity and perfectly evoked atmosphere. Gregorian chant, ancient orders of monks, prehistoric musical notation - my goodness, the research she must have done. And she weaves it all into the story line so effortlessly (or so it seems).
But I know that is an illusion, and there is immense work and effort involved.
The workings of a writer’s mind are a marvelous mystery indeed.