The Beautiful Mystery

by Louise Penny |

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REVIEWED BY ELLEN SHAPIRO

MYSTERY

Penny's eighth mystery takes an ethereal turn as Chief Inspector Gamache and his deputy, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, become the first outsiders to enter a centuries-old monastery in the Quebec wilderness. Their admission ticket, regrettably, is the bludgeoned body of Frère Mathieu, the choirmaster who led his 23 fellow monks in otherworldly Gregorian chanting and produced a recording that became a surprise international sensation. Despite pressures from the outside world, the monks remained cloistered and seemingly dedicated to a life of contemplation. But now one of them is a murderer, and as the investigation slowly unmasks the truth, deep fissures emerge among the monks and their very fallible investigators. With enormous empathy for the troubled human soul-and an ending that makes your blood race and your heart break-Penny continues to raise the bar of her splendid series.

People PICK

Lionel Asbo: State of England

by Martin Amis |

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REVIEWED BY RICHARD EISENBERG

NOVEL

After years in and out of British prisons for petty crimes, "career delinquent" Lionel Asbo punches a ticket to the good life at 24 with his 140 million pound Lotto winnings. Amis, the noted British satirist, homes in on the tabloid press and England's underclass as the brutish Liverpool thug feasts on caviar and the cult of celebrity. Nephew Des, a crime reporter harboring two family secrets, futilely tries keeping the "jackpot jailbird" on the straight and narrow. Near the end, Amis suddenly pumps his novel full of heart and warmth, providing an unexpected reward for readers.

COMMENTS? Write to the books editor: books@peoplemag.com

BEGINNING WITH THE END

by Mary R. Morgan

An arresting and deeply moving memoir about one woman's grief and her path to healing after losing her twin brother-as well as her sense of identity.

DOUBLE CROSS

by Ben Macintyre

Gripping stories from the perspective of a remarkable ragtag group of spies who tricked the Nazis in an astounding D-Day deception. Puts other spy tales to shame.

THE YEAR OF LEARNING DANGEROUSLY

by Quinn Cummings

A former child star's hilarious, insightful chronicle of her family's head-first jump into homeschooling.

HOPE SOLO

Soccer star Hope Solo, 31, author of Solo, opens up about her late dad and dancing with Maksim

HOW DID IT FEEL TO BEAT JAPAN?

I'm so proud of our team. We've come a long way. I feel like we're the best team to ever play the game, and I don't say that lightly. That 2-1 final was beautiful-everything an Olympic final should be.

DID MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY SMACK YOU?

He was frustrated with me; I was frustrated with him.... Yeah, performing on Dancing with the Stars got intense. I think Maks is a great guy. But those things happen, and it did happen.

HOW DO YOU HONOR YOUR LATE FATHER'S MEMORY?

By playing to the best of my abilities. I'm really intense, but my dad just always wanted me to smile as hard as I could play.

WHAT'S NEXT?

I'm not retiring anytime soon.