To locals, the village is a safe haven. So they are bewildered when a well-loved member of the community is found lying dead in the maple woods. Surely it was an accident - a hunter's arrow gone astray. Who could want Jane Neal dead?
In a long and distinguished ca ...more
Middling books are the hardest to review, dontchathink?
Maybe it's the recent time change (is there any point to Daylight Savings Time anymore?), maybe it's the fact that I feel like I'm swimming uphill in my nursing clinical trying to get hours in, but Still Life kept putting me to sleep. A blurb (or a review, I forget which) compares her to Agatha Christie, which I suppose could be true, only it's a version of Christie that was being paid by the word and operates only inside people's heads, whi ...more
With the encouragement of several of my Goodreads friends, I finally decided to pick up Still Life, a novel I bought 3 years ago. I don’t know why I waited so long to dust it off, especially since it has won multiple awards, but I can tell you it won’t take 3 years for me to read book 2 of what I believe will be a highly enjoyable series.
Some readers called this a cozy. I respectfully disagree; I think this story is more in the category of literary mystery. There is so much depth. The s ...more
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
Louise Penny lost her husband Michael this year. Her loss was so apparent in her latest offering, The Great Reckoning. As I turned the initial pages of this first book in the series, Still Life, I came upon the Acknowledgements that almost made me weep:
"This is for my husband Michael, who has created a life for us full of love and kindness. He allowed me to quit my job, pretend to write, then gave me unstinting praise ev ...more
I really enjoyed the setting, a small town in Quebec, and I became quite attached to several of the characters. They were quirky and a couple verged on going over the top but overall the author held it together.
An easy, comfortable read with just a bit of bite to it to keep it interesting. Consider me hooked on the series:)
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 ...more
I’ve seen this book and others in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series pop up so many times in my friends’ reviews and lists. And yet, I hesitated to read it for some time sinc ...more
A strong recommendation from a friend helped me decide to embark on a binge of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, penned by Canadian author Louise Penny. Her writing style and setting this novel in the bucolic community of Three Pines, Quebec, pulled me in early and kept me enthralled until the very end. Local artist and retired teacher, Jane Neal, was loved by many, which made the discovery of her body all the more troubling. With no known enemies, Jane’s death co ...more
Still Life is the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, series. It is a great murder mystery that has a depth of possible suspects and expands to encapsulate human psychology and community dynamics. The number of characters and plot twists were really well balanced so the reader isn't overwhelmed with complexity yet it's extensive enough to keep our imagination wondering who the murderer is and what the motive might be.
The opening lines of the nove ...more
“He always felt a pang when looking at the hands of the newly dead, imagining all the objects and people those hands had held. The food, the faces, the doorknobs. All the gestures they’d made to signal delight or sorrow. And the final gesture, surely, to ward off the blow that would kill. The most poignant were the hands of young people who would never absently brush a lock of gray hair from their own eyes.”
Chief Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec has been called to the woods near the ...more
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
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
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...more
✓ Plausible fo
Jane Neal is found dead in the woods, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache leads his troops to the picturesque village of Three Pines to uncover secrets and find a killer. This fun to read crime-mystery has many great characters that I can't wait to get to know better.....Oliver and his partner Gabri are a hoot and newbie smart-mouth Agent Nichol, well, she is something else, and then there's...more
The mystery starts ...more
My discovery of the charming, picturesque Canadian fictional village of Three Pines comes a few years too late, but I am glad I finally decided to pay a visit.
Before reading Still Life I only had a casual idea of what a "cozy murder mystery" was. Once you read this novel however, you can see how that moniker perfectly describes this novel and Mrs. Penny's writing style.
The title, Still Life, also describes the idyllic, low-key lifestyle the residents of Three Pines have been accustome ...more
The first book of 13 in the Armand Gamache series. This book was published in 2005 and there are many things I enjoyed about this character driven novel.
Each story in the series takes place in Three Pines, a small Canadian village (which is fictional). There is quite a cast of characters in this one and Inspector Gamache is quite humorous, compassionate, and wise! I look forward to getting to know him better.
If you enjoy detective/police procedural series that have a "cozy" feel and are wel ...more
Still Life, first Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery, which was published in 2005, refers not just to a painting, but to the way some people live their lives. Rather than actively pursuing their hopes and dreams, they wait for good things to come to them.
Miss Jane Neal was possibly one of those people for much of her life. She fancied herself an artist, although none had ever seen her work. In fact, ...more
Inspector Armand Gamache is called to quaint little Three Pines outside Montreal-- so t ...more
I tried this book in an attempt ...more
I enjoyed that the novel broke from ...more
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
As Gamache and his team began their investigation, and came to know the residents of Three Pines, he knew this little village would have an impact on him. But he ...more
Jane Neal, 76 years old and a retired school teacher, is found dead in the woods over the Can ...more
"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
This is the first book in the Inspector Gamache series, and I'd heard that the books get better as they go on.
That being said, I did quite enjoy this, I just found it to be a little patchy at times. By that I mean some parts were better than others and the whole book felt a bit like a bumpy ride.
Jane Neal has been killed. She lived in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Canada. So Inspector Gamache is sent from Quebec with his team to solve the murder.
I really enjoyed Louise Penny's ...more