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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)
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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  29,963 ratings  ·  3,474 reviews
Winner oftheNew Blood Dagger,Arthur Ellis,Barry,Anthony, andDilys awards.

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
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Mass Market Paperback, 293 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2005)
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Scott Brazil I just read it, after having met the author on her recent book tour. Very well written, wonderful characters and setting. Highly recommended by me. I…moreI just read it, after having met the author on her recent book tour. Very well written, wonderful characters and setting. Highly recommended by me. I have been told that it is important to read this series in order, which I intend to do.(less)
Carol Byron Yes. So far. But the settings are not just the village of Three Pines, some have action in Montreal. Some have action in remote areas of Quebec. There…moreYes. So far. But the settings are not just the village of Three Pines, some have action in Montreal. Some have action in remote areas of Quebec. There are ten of them in the series so far. I've read them all and loved them.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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sckenda
Aug 25, 2014 sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Appreciators of Cozy Mysteries
All gentle people, wherever they may live, are citizens of Three Pines. Here, in rural Quebec, live people as temperate as a Canadian summer, but here also reside a few spicy curmudgeons and misfits. “Three Pines wasn’t on any tourist map. Like Narnia it was found unexpectedly and with a degree of surprise that such an elderly village should have been hiding in the valley all along.”

Three Piners possess useful and humane skills. They create, paint, plant, refurbish, write, garden, decorate, tal
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Film Review

Book Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

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
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Dec 04, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Detective mystery & Canadian Lit fans
NO SPOILERS. Her debut, entertaining, well written and deserving of its literary awards. A traditional detective novel, the murder unraveled by careful observation - felt like a breath of fresh air after my normal diet of forensics mysteries. A murder disrupts the peace in Quebec’s heartland where "The only reason doors were locked was to prevent neighbors from dropping off baskets of zucchini at harvest time". A rural setting, quiet pace and lack of gore has some pegging this as a cozy mystery, ...more
Delee
In all the years Jean Guy Beauvior had worked with Gamache, through all the murders and mayhem, it never ceased to thrill him, hearing that simple sentence. "Tell me what you know." It signaled the beginning of the hunt. He was the alpha dog. And Chief Inspector Gamache was Master of the Hunt.

October -Canadian Thanksgiving weekend- Three Pines, Quebec

Victim : Jane Neal, 76 years old, retired school teacher, never married- found dead in the woods not far from her home- cause of death -shot with a
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Tatiana
May 14, 2010 Tatiana rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: Harper Bell
I am a little sad that I can't give Still Life more than 2 stars. It was recommended to me and it's not a pleasant task to trash someone's suggestion, but what can I do, this book was just a barely OK read for me.

Still Life is a traditional ("cozy") mystery set in a Canadian village Three Pines. One Sunday morning a body of 76-year old Jane Neal - a long-time resident of the village - is found. At first, it appears that Jane was killed in a hunting accident, but later we find out that quite a fe
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Steve
This is a murder mystery in the category of police procedural. I like to throw in a few of these every once in a while for variety. After all, one does not wish to consider oneself effete for having dined on too rich a diet of purely literary fare, does one?

Now that we're in the star bestowal business I thought for a minute about what makes for a good book of this sort. Here’s the list I came up with along with how Still Life did with respect to it.

✓ Interesting characters
✓ Plausible forens
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Leonie
I started reading A Fatal Grace and soon realised that I would be better to go back to the beginning with Louise Penny's first book set in the magical Quebecois village of Three Pines. I'm loving it so far and I'm only up to page 12. A sample:

"In the twenty-five years she'd lived in Three Pines she'd never, ever heard of a crime. The only reason doors were locked was to prevent neighbours from dropping off baskets of zucchini at harvest time."

I love the characters so much I want to go to Three
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Eduardo George

Martha Stewart meets Agatha Christie on a very bad hair day.

I was recommended this author by a friend who is a great admirer of Ian Rankin and Stieg Larsson, so I was quite excited as I set out. Excitement soon turned to disappointment, followed by a sense of disbelief that writing so bad could be so well received by the reading public. And indeed win a prize, albeit one for novice crime writers.

The setting is an idyllic village near Montreal, populated with a cast of caricatures - aging bohemi
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Lewis Weinstein
Still Life is an absolutely delightful read.

Louise Penny weaves a complex plot with sure hands, repeatedly provides an interesting sense of place, and develops her characters deftly, patiently, one ingredient at a time. There is a very satisfying blend of action and reflection, and mostly intelligent detective work, set against a beautifully presented background of life in a small artists village in modern Quebec where everyone knows everyone else and one of them is a murderer.

One of the inter
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Margitte
Jane Neal was an eccentric artist. Her mudroom was a museum, her kitchen a shrine. That was as far as anybody was allowed into her home. Even her most dearest friends never made it beyond the kitchen.

The status quo would have lingered on forever, if it wasn't for Jane submitting, for the first time in her life, one of her paintings, ' Fair Day', to the Annual Williamsburg Arts Exhibition. It was the only piece of herself that she finally wanted to share with the world.

Some judges were horrifie
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Poingu
I never read mysteries, but a friend suggested Louise Penny's "Beautiful Mystery," and after reading it I wanted to read "Still Life," the book that began Armand Gamache's story.

I can't say with authority that Penny's mysteries are different from other mysteries, but I can say that these books are very different from the way I thought mysteries were. The characters are complicated and human. They think deeply about their lives and they try to do the right thing. Even minor characters in this bo
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Elizabeth
Thoroughly enjoyable mystery set in a village near Quebec. My friend JK has been after me forever to read this series and I am so glad I finally started it! This is a cozy read and I loved being immersed in the lives of the characters- it reminded me much of the BBC series Doc Martin: village life, quirky character's with complicated and enmeshed histories, a beautiful setting, and good storytelling. I look forward to reading more about this village and getting to know more about the charcters. ...more
Contrarius
I don't normally read "cozy" mysteries -- although I do love most of Alexander McCall Smith's books, and I suppose they might be classified as "cozy" with a little stretching. But in any case, I had no intention of reading this series until I was coerced into it by an evil Goodreads member who shall remain forever nameless. As I told him, ya gotta watch out for those "gateway" books -- they can get you into all sorts of trouble if you're not careful.

Now that I've taken that first "hit", I can ho
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Mary Beth
I finally get the chance to read this series, I've heard nothing but good things about this series. I should have read this a lot sooner than I did. This 1St book in the series was just fabulous. This mystery takes place in Quebec, Canada in a small village called Three Pines. The author describes this place so well that I actually felt that I was there visiting with these odd characters. Three Pines is the place to be! This book is very well written and has won many awards.
The mystery starts
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Terri
Apr 06, 2008 Terri rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in cozies and/or Canadian authors.
Shelves: 2008
Still Life is a mystery cozy featuring a small Canadian village in Southern Quebec called Three Pines, eccentric characters, and, of course, a murder.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called upon to solve the death of Jane Neal, a beloved and elderly member of Three Pines. It is inconceivable to the residents that anyone would murder Jane, though, curiously, it appears that one of them is the murderer. Chief Inspector Gamache and his team must invade the privacy of these villagers in order to fi
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Chrissie
I don't want to annoy others who think Louise Penny writes great stuff. OK, she does - for the simple reason she has achieved a high star rating, but she is NOT for me. The ending is SO incredible - (view spoiler) I like credible, realistic stories. This is not. The ending was simply the last straw for me.

I tried this book in an attempt
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Heather
Mother knows best. This includes my own, who has been recommending this series to me for quite some time. We went to the library after a doctor's appointment and she pulled this off the shelf. Thanks, mom. Louise Penny creates a community of eccentric and witty characters in Three Pines where murder is not the norm. Although I did guess the killer (toot toot goes my own horn) this was a suspenseful and insightful look at the strangers who live beside us. This experience tells me mom knows best, ...more
Kathy Davie
First in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series and revolving around Gamache and his sense of what's right.

My Take
Oh, this was lovely! A cozy contemporary mystery in a village of people pursuing their second careers with many of them artists or lovers of art. Some are longtime friends who have grown up in the village while others have drifted in from elsewhere, seeking a respite from the cares of a colder, more self-absorbed world.

The beginning will catch your attention if only becau
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LJ
STILL LIFE (Police Proced-Canada-Cont) – Ex
Penny, Louise – 1st book
Headline, 2005- Hardcover
*** Death brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his officers of the Sûreté du Quebec to the small village of Three Pines, Canada. Much-loved Jane Neal has been found dead in the woods. Gamache must determine whether her death was the result of a hunting accident, or deliberate murder.
*** Penny’s debut book is a true, classic traditional mystery. Penny has a wonderful writing voice full of introspecti
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Nikki
I have quite mixed feelings about this one. It was enthusiastically recommended on Twitter by a couple of authors I do like, but from the very first page it felt clumsily written to me. A little overwritten — “Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec knelt down; his knees cracking like the report of a hunter’s rifle, his large, expressive hands hovering over the tiny circle of blood marring her fluffy cardigan, as though like a magician he could remove the wound and restore the wom ...more
Erica
Cozy mysteries typically aren't my thing but I have nothing against them, either. My mom loves this series and wanted me to read it so we can discuss it, thus, I am and we will.

This is the first book in the series and this tiny, charming Quebecois town (I kept thinking it was British even though Montreal is mentioned ten-million times and most everyone has a French name) has great potential. It's full of quirky characters (Mom's favorite is crabby, old Ruth. Apparently, she gets a duck later on)
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James Schubring
Get ready for beautiful writing, a slow pace, and some twists you should see coming a few hundred pages off in Louise Penny's Still Life. I think the element I enjoyed most of this debut novel was the return-to-life of a convincing Hercule Poirot-like character. He's proper, not quite so quirky, inside the system (as a policeman rather than a private investigator), and not afraid to disagree with the police bureaucracy. It's a richer, deeper world than Agatha Christie usually wrote about, which ...more
Jacob Proffitt
Nov 06, 2014 Jacob Proffitt marked it as unfinished
Shelves: mystery
I'm afraid I didn't get very far with this book. The head-hopping was really jarring (a kind of limited omniscience that made little sense in a mystery novel, frankly). This is exacerbated by a kind of pastoral laze the book starts with that jumps around temporally as well as spatially around a bucolic township and the (lovable?) peasants inhabiting it. But I broke on Penny's treatment of a junior investigator that I suspect was being played for laughs but done in a way that seemed both mean and ...more
Sandra
A slow-paced read that allows you to absorb the rich details of Louise Penny's characters and settings. I had narrowed my list of murder suspects to three, but the story kept me guessing until the end.
Jane Stewart
2 ½ stars. Not a good fit for me. My mind wandered.

Part of the problem was the audiobook narrator Ralph Cosham. He read in a monotone voice.

The first half dragged, but things got interesting in the last third. Ruth likes to collect suffering, to create suffering, and to be around suffering. That intrigued me. I wanted more with her. The author wrote “people who have been hurt a lot either pass it on and become abusers or develop great kindness.” I liked that idea. I wish the author did more with
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 Marla
Someone recommended this to me for the NBRC 2013 Not-So-Secret Santa Book Exchange. I am trying to finish series this year and am trying not to start new series, but this was worth it.

It started a little slow, but it was a cozy murder mystery led by a courteous, observant inspector who is a great boss and an excellent detective. I love character driven stories and well written mysteries and clever dialogue, this book satisfied all these aspects for me. It just wasn't suspenseful enough for me t
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Shell The Belle
No stars at all for this one. One of the most boring authors it has been my displeasure to waste time on. I persevered with this one to the end in the hope that it would be worthwhile. Sadly not. The promise of this big mystery and twist in the tale being revealed were a bit like a bad dream when you cant quite see what you are looking at. The novel was flat, with no real essence.

I bought this book in a set with two others; bury your dead and one I cant think of. I tried reading bury your dead,
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JanB
This was the author’s debut novel, the first in a series set in Quebec, featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

The mystery takes a back seat to setting the stage with the characters and the village. Gamache is a likable man, a kind and introspective deep thinker. There is wit and wisdom throughout the book, with much insight into human nature. It’s slow-paced and the mystery and resolution weren’t quite as gripping as I would have preferred, but because it is so well-written and the character
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Kristen
If you love good mysteries, you'll enjoy the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. It's set in Canada. In the debut mystery, Jane Neal is found dead in Three Pines, a tiny village, which causes a bit of upset. It's up to Gamache and his police force to find out about her life and past, her friends and family, and who wanted to harm her and others, when a cast of suspicion is thrown to one person to another. Secrets and lies are exposed. In the end, they really get up and close to find out who'v ...more
Emily
"We will find you. That's what we do."

So starts Chief Inspector Gamache's investigation into the death of a retired schoolteacher in a little town outside of Montreal called Three Pines. The line was delivered calmly and confidently to a meeting of townspeople, and I instantly warmed to this sleuth.

I don't read a lot of mysteries, but one of my coworkers raved about this series, so I gave the first book a whirl on audio. The reader, Ralph Cosham, does a wonderful job. I don't know French, but hi
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Bound Together: Still Life Discussion 68 137 Dec 06, 2014 09:30AM  
Herrick District ...: One Book--So Many Elements! 3 14 May 12, 2014 12:33PM  
Herrick District ...: Picture It! 2 10 May 09, 2014 06:26AM  
CBC Books: August '13 - Still Life by Louise Penny 160 106 Dec 30, 2013 02:35PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong number of pages 3 174 Dec 19, 2013 05:02PM  
  • Out of the Deep I Cry (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #3)
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  • Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2)
  • Forty Words for Sorrow
  • Bruno, Chief Of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1)
  • A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3)
  • Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti, #1)
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Many of Louise Penny's books are published under different titles by UK/Canada and US publishers.
She lives with her husband, Michael, and a golden retriever named Trudy, in a small village south of Montreal.

Her first Armand Gamache novel, "Still Life" won the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony and Dilys Awards.

Awards:
* Agatha Award: Best Novel
o 2007 – A Fatal Grace – Winner
o 2008 –
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More about Louise Penny...
A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2) Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6) The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5) A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4) A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7)

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“Life is choice. All day, everyday. Who we talk to, where we sit, what we say, how we say it. And our lives become defined by our choices. It's as simple and as complex as that. And as powerful. so when I'm observing that's what I'm watching for. The choices people make” 30 likes
“Myrna could spend happy hours browsing bookcases. She felt if she could just get a good look at a person’s bookcase and their grocery cart, she’d pretty much know who they were.” 27 likes
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