Suspense for Sensitive Readers discussion

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)
This topic is about Still Life
13 views
Book Club > SSR's Book Club Starting 1/25

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

J.P. Choquette (jpchoquette) | 104 comments Starting this Sunday 1/25~the first Suspense for Sensitive Readers Book Club!

Join us as we read and comment on our love/dislike of the characters and story of Still Life, a murder mystery set in the fictional Quebec town of Three Pines. This is the first in the Inspector Gamache series.

Any questions, please let me know. Thanks!


DianeAlice Looking forward to starting this, I've been wanting to read her books for some time.


J.P. Choquette (jpchoquette) | 104 comments Me too!


Nancy (gr-nancy-a) | 3 comments This book was very good. I picked up a copy at the library book sale.


J.P. Choquette (jpchoquette) | 104 comments So, first apologies. The month got away from me!

What did you all think of "Still Life" the selection for February? Love it? Like it? Hate it? (I can't imagine that but I suppose it could be the case.)

What I love most about Penny's book(s) is her balance between light and dark. There are bad things happening in the book, but there is also a lot of goodness and light. One reviewer noted that her books are filled with hope, and I think that's dead on. While it might seem odd for mystery/suspense to be hopeful, I do find it's the case.

Plus I LOVE all the descriptions--of the people, the scenery and of course, the food.

What did you think? Please share.


Victoria Caro (victoria_caro) Hi everyone. Sorry, but for me "Still Life" was just okay; a cozy read about eccentric elderly characters in a quaint little town that reminded me of some British mysteries, which is referenced to in the book at one point. Even the detective is redolent of Christie´s Poirot, but not as savvy in my opinion. Though Gamache is likable, I found his investigative method unrealistic when not outright clumsy at times, like -just to name an example- having the village people (the suspects; where are the professionals?) walking freely around the victim’s house and helping bring down wallpaper that could hide crucial evidence. Also, there were too many characters to keep track off, though some were so irrelevant it didn’t matter if you didn’t, and the mystery itself was not all that intelligent. Summarizing, it is a cute story for the joy of reading, but not an intriguing mystery, masterfully resolved.


J.P. Choquette (jpchoquette) | 104 comments Hi Victoria, no need to apologize~different books hit each of us differently. I do think that the series gets even better as you go along, but if you didn't enjoy the first one much, then probably don't feel like investing time in others.

I had to chuckle about the village people pulling down the wallpaper ... there are some elements that aren't very realistic!

You mentioned that you felt the mystery itself "wasn't that intelligent." What mysteries have you read that fit this description?


Nancy (gr-nancy-a) | 3 comments Yes the ending was a bit strange but I liked Gamache and company the most. I think he is a good addition to literary detectives. He will keep me reading this series.


J.P. Choquette (jpchoquette) | 104 comments Nancy wrote: "Yes the ending was a bit strange but I liked Gamache and company the most. I think he is a good addition to literary detectives. He will keep me reading this series."

He makes the novels for me, I have to say. And I love that he has those special "habits" that good characters do, and preferences like his "Double-Double" from the coffee place.


message 10: by Victoria (last edited Mar 05, 2015 12:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Victoria Caro (victoria_caro) J.P. wrote: "Hi Victoria, no need to apologize~different books hit each of us differently. I do think that the series gets even better as you go along, but if you didn't enjoy the first one much, then probably ..."

For me “intelligent” is when the plot, details, characters, setting and outcome make sense, are well thought out, with no convenient short cuts, well-tied up knots and most importantly, the hero/heroine is smart. “Still Life” was a cute story, but not a smart mystery. Very basic police procedures were ignored when not botched for the convenience of keeping the story going; Gamache, who I agree is likable, never really displays any outstanding wit to resolve the crime, which in turn is pretty dull without a believable reasoning behind it. I confess to being an extreme perfectionist, so details matter to me, and understand they may not be that important to everyone :-). I have not read many mysteries, but a classic film that I absolutely loved was “12 Angry Men”.


Victoria Caro (victoria_caro) Nancy wrote: "Yes the ending was a bit strange but I liked Gamache and company the most. I think he is a good addition to literary detectives. He will keep me reading this series."

Hi Nancy, what did you think of Gamache´s new female assistant?


back to top