Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Author: Louise Penny

Publisher: Headline Book Publishing, 2005

Genre: Mystery/Police Procedural

Source: I read this on my Kindle

Short Synopsis: (from Amazon)

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident 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 this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

Why I Read This Book:  I’ve had Louise Penny on my list of “Awesome Authors” for quite some time and people I respect have recommended her.

What I Liked: Be prepared – I’m going to gush. I absolutely loved this book.

1. The main character, Armand Gamache. He’s fifty-ish, happily-married, a large man, educated, a well-read leader who is respectful and considerate of people.   Gamache is a calm, methodical man. He’s a genius at observation. He notices the details.

He watched. He took in the people, their faces, their actions . . . He noticed who touched and who didn’t. Who hugged and who shook hands. He noticed who had red eyes and who gave the appearance of business as usual.

This picture is of the man who inspired the author to create Gamache. He’s a tailor in Montreal but his voice and his movements formed the nucleus for Armand Gamache in Louise Penny’s imagination.

2. The depth of the characters. The author introduced the reader to nearly all the members of this small community. This mystery story was about more than just the mystery. We got to see the interplay between all the main characters as well as the story of the victim.

3. Gamache’s second in command, Beauvior. He was thirty-five, a ten-year veteran, smart and classy. He wore a scarf which gave him a “look of studied nonchalance which suited his toned body but was easily contradicted by the cord-tight tension of his stance. Jean Guy Beauvior was loosely wrapped but tightly wound.” Can’t you just see him?

4. I also liked the addition of various subjects into the normal conversation of the story. The author touched on homosexuality, the expression of art, parenting, discrimination against English-speakers in Quebec, and so on. All added to the flavor of life in that particular village.

What I Didn’t Like: There was nothing I didn’t like.

My Rating: A+ Yes, it really is that good. From the first chapter of Still Life I could see why Louise Penny has won awards and why everyone raves about her. This is a very well-written, riveting mystery with full-bodied characters. Treat yourself and read it.

About the author:

Louise Penny worked for many years for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, with expertise in hard news and current affairs. She was born and raised in Toronto, but now lives in a picturesque village in Quebec with her husband.

She is the recipient of the CWA New Blood Dagger for Crime Fiction, the CWC Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel, the Agatha Award for Best Novel and the Anthony Award for Best First Novel.

For more information on Louise Penny, visit her website at Louise Penny.com It’s a lovely website with beautiful photos of Quebec in all seasons. And, there is information about how she writes and some of her causes – literacy and animal rights.

Check your local library for a copy of this book. Still Life is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)

This entry was posted in 100+ Book Challenge, A+ Books, Awesome Authors, Global Reading, Kindle, Mysteries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

  1. JoAnn says:

    Louise Penny has been on my list for a while. Glad you enjoyed this…. it sounds like I will, too!

  2. Molly says:

    Oh – this has been on my list for months as well. I will make the time to read it some day soon.

  3. Kay says:

    Margot, I am so pleased that you loved STILL LIFE! Louise Penny is my absolute favorite author. Truly. She is an artist at her craft and believe me, you have some great books still to read in her series. I am halfway through her latest book (#6 in the series), BURY YOUR DEAD. Oh my! It is wonderful and tragic and thoughtful and inspired. I have reread this series in the last few weeks just to get a sense again of this author’s talent as it developed and as her characters developed. It’s been really wonderful. You have treasure ahead. Trust me. 🙂

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad word about Penny’s writing. I obviously need to read one of her books soon.

  5. Rural View says:

    I noticed yesterday our little library only had one of her books on the shelf and I passed it up in favor of another author. Guess I goofed!

  6. Word Lily says:

    I really enjoyed this one too. Now I just need to get my hands on the second book in the series! 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you reviewed this. I had determined to read it after Belle’s post on it, but of course promptly forgot. Now I have it on one of my little notes (that I will try not to lose!)

  8. kaye says:

    “be prepared I’m going to gush” I loved that phrase. We should gush over books we love–that was a very nice review, sounds like a must read.

  9. Martha says:

    Where have I been? I have never heard of Louise Penny and by the sounds of it, I have been missing a lot. I think this is my favorite thing about book blogging, finding authors I should have heard and haven’t. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m on my way to my library web site to order this book

  10. Patti Smith says:

    another one for the TBR list!! 🙂

  11. Patti Smith says:

    As I added this book to my amazon wishlist, I realized there are others in this series…I wonder if it’s important to read them in order?

  12. Tami says:

    I have never heard of this author, but it sounds like just the kind of book I like. It’s on order already. Thanks for introducing a new author.

  13. Staci says:

    Loved reading your gushing over this book. I checked this out once and never got to it. Now when I go to the library on Saturday I will probably grab it again, but this time I will actually read it!!! 😀

  14. I bet you already know what I’m going to say! (I keep that TBR list beside me just for your posts.)

  15. kaye says:

    I’m reading this one now and loving it as I have her others. I figured it was time to start with the first book!

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