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

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  22,318 ratings  ·  2,775 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...more
Mass Market Paperback, 293 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Steve Sckenda
Oct 15, 2013 Steve Sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Appreciators of Cozy Mysteries
Recommended to Steve Sckenda by: Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

First, imperfect novel, but still very good. After all, I gave it 4.5* of five!

TODAY, 1 APRIL 2014, IT'S $2.99 for US Kindle users.
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
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
...more
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...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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...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...more
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
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...more
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
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
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...more
Sheila
Jul 23, 2011 Sheila marked it as did-not-finish
I've heard good things about Penny's mysteries, and probably should have finished this book before forming an opinion. Thing is, some of the writing and/or story distracted me from the story. The stereotype of a gay man 'trembling with pleasure' over the sight of cranberry glass, for instance. Does anyone really tremble over cranberry glass? An officer getting upset early on because the lead detective wasn't given the appropriate level of respect/awe... The cops' automatic disdain of civilians,...more
Juliana
3.5 stars
I liked the main detective and the characters are all interesting and three-dimensional. I had no idea who the killer really was (can be a positive or a negative) and felt that the story moved at a slightly slower pace than I expected. All in all, the book is well-written and it's a good story, but not that exciting. Will pick up #2 though, since I really did like Gamache.
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.
Stephanie
(My Rating: 7/10 Stars) This is a light, witty, enjoyable detective story with the feel of a cozy mystery. I gobbled it up like candy. It is set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, a place where people only lock their doors to prevent their neighbors from dropping off baskets of zucchini at harvest time. In a sense the artsy community of Three Pines is, in itself, the protagonist of the story, and it -- along with its colorful residents -- is described in loving detail.

Inspector Armand Gam...more
 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...more
Rebecca
I quite liked this cozy mystery set in a small town in Quebec--it's not a place I know much about, so I appreciated the setting, and I'm always fond of village mysteries. This was a good mystery with lots of twists and turns and red herrings, though when I was first listening to it I found it confusing because Penny breaks one of the major rules of fiction; changing points of view within a scene. She does it within paragraphs, and maybe even sentences, because the story is told from about ten di...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...more
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,...more
Donna
A friend who's aware of my interest in the French language and the culture of Quebec recommended this series, set in and near Montreal. The setting did not disappoint, and a rather beguiling little plot kept me reading despite many distractions in the form of cliches, silly tropes, and often childish dialogue emanating from allegedly adult characters.

It occurs to me that, ironically, the sometimes juvenile language of the book mimics the artistic work at the center of the plot: a painting compos...more
Donna
Feb 21, 2014 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: readers of Christie, George, Leon
Recommended to Donna by: library patrons
Read again 01/22/14 for book club.

I liked this book even more the second time. Since my first reading was somewhat recent, I remembered who the killer was and what his/her motive was. I did pick up the clues, though I admit that they were particularly subtle.





A big think you to all the library patrons who have raved about this author for several years. I think I'm falling in love with Inspector Gamache, though I can't understand what's going on with Agent Nichol. There was just enough Quebecois/...more
Melissa
Sue Petersen gave me this; I gave her In the Woods. This is a pretty good little mystery, cozy town near Quebec, well-loved aging artist found dead in the forest, interesting cast of characters. The only real problem I have with this is the distractingly annoying Agent Nichol. She comes across at first as the classic neophyte detective that needs to be taken under the wing of her superior, but as time passes, she learns nothing, is rude to everyone, and when the story is told from her perspectiv...more
Judy
Absolutely delightful!! Inspector Gamache was a happy surprise to find in a series new to me. I was totally unfamiliar with the author and this series and will definitely be reading another one. I loved the way the mystery unfolded and each character became more complicated at the story progressed. I did find the ending a bit rushed after the slow pace we took getting there. I loved the setting, French Canada. There were a couple of interesting bites about the difference between the French and t...more
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Bound Together: Still Life Discussion 67 98 Mar 13, 2014 09:33AM  
CBC Books: August '13 - Still Life by Louise Penny 160 101 Dec 30, 2013 02:35PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong number of pages 3 171 Dec 19, 2013 05:02PM  
Classic Readers : Still Life 2 5 Dec 01, 2013 11:39AM  
Classic Readers : Gabri's Bistro 2 4 Oct 06, 2013 10:23AM  
CBC Books: Still Life - Giveaway! 14 31 Sep 17, 2013 03:24AM  
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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 –...more
More about Louise Penny...
Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6) A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2) 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” 21 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.” 18 likes
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