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.
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.)