The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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Historical Group Reads > Nov/Dec 2011 Group Read - Still Life

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message 1: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
The winner in the second category was Still Life by Louise Penny. As a side note, Thanksgiving, which is the holiday mentioned in this book is celebrated in October in Canada.

I've read this book some time ago and enjoyed it very much so I'll pinch hit as moderator but I know many of you have read this book and the rest of the series so I'm counting on you all for help.


message 2: by Colleen (new)

Colleen Cross | 10 comments I really enjoyed this book too - read it a little while ago. Louise Penny is a master at providing rich setting and characterization without bogging the story down. As a Canadian I also enjoy the odd mystery with a Canadian setting. I've read a few of her books and must read the rest.


message 3: by Dena (new)

Dena | 97 comments This was my first Louise Penny book, I read it last night and enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the discussion.


message 4: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35548 comments I read this quite a while ago, too.

My mother was Canadian. She still is, I guess.

I found it a breath of fresh air.


message 5: by Dorie (new)

Dorie (dorieann) | 464 comments I just love this series, one of my favorites. I had a difficult time in the beginning with the shift in narrative and throwing a lot of people at you at once. But once I'd met Gamache I fell in love and never looked back! So anyone reading this book for the first time, have a little patience, it will be worth it.


message 6: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ | 77 comments I agree, I have read all of them and I just love how she introduces the characters and the way they unfold throughout the book and future books. Love the story of Ruth, though I remember thinking at the beginning she was not a very nice person.


message 7: by Linette (new)

Linette | 9 comments I really like the feeling of peace and calm of life in Three Pines, intermixed with the occasional gobsmack of crazy or scary. I think that the later books are even better than the first ones! Still two more to read, want to gobble them right away but maybe I should slow down and savour. ;)


message 8: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Dec 19, 2011 08:59PM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 444 comments I usually avoid reading series where a handful of residents in a small town are in direct contact with a murder about once a year, and don't know what led me to read the first one in this series. But once I did I was hooked. Part of the reason, as Dorie mentioned, is the compelling character of Inspector Armand Gamache. His story is as interesting as those of the murders he is called in to solve, and the way he connects with the town of Three Pines (and it with him) is fascinating. I would also highly recommend the audio version; the French Canadian accents are charming as rendered by narrator Ralph Cosham.


message 9: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
I'm falling behind in my moderator duties what with Thanksgiving (US version) fast upon us.

Reading through the current posts, the peace and quiet of Three Pines and the character of Insp Gamache seem to be the key features that make this book and the rest of the series so popular and I have to agree. I found Still Life to be a wonderful change of pace from the more graphic police procedurals but still a complex story.

Carol mentioned the audio version and I noticed that on Penny's website there is a place to download bits to hear the proper pronunciation of some of the French words. I have not tried it yet but here is the link.
http://www.louisepenny.com/pronunciat...


message 10: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 7 comments Hi there. New to the group and this series as well. I am listening to the audio and loving it so far. The characters are charming.


message 11: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Hi Kelley, thanks for joining us, and for participating in the group read.


message 12: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 236 comments I read this one a couple of months ago, and I fell in love with Three Pines and Inspector Gamache! I had to throw all other reading aside and read the rest of the series, with the latest one being A Trick of the Light. Now I have to wait for the next one. I also fell in love a bit with Canada, a location I had rather ignored in my reading. Shame on me. Gamache's team and the residents of Three Pines feel like old friends at this point. I highly recommend continuing with this series for those of you just reading this first one now.


message 13: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 236 comments Kelley wrote: "Hi there. New to the group and this series as well. I am listening to the audio and loving it so far. The characters are charming."

I listened to the audio on a few of the books in the series and they are excellent. I had to read them, too, though.


message 14: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabeth8921) | 7780 comments Loved a "Still Life". Certainly is a very gentle mystery


message 15: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  (readr4ever) | 236 comments Diane wrote: "I agree, I have read all of them and I just love how she introduces the characters and the way they unfold throughout the book and future books. Love the story of Ruth, though I remember thinking a..."

Ruth is such a great character, and following her through the series has been so much fun, especially her unexpected moments of caring.


message 16: by Anne (new)

Anne Pichette | 21 comments I have read all the the books in the series and really like them. She does a good job in keep you interested and there is always something you do not expect. She is one of my favorite authors.


message 17: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (elizabeth8921) | 7780 comments Just picked up "Fatal Graces". The Trick of Light was only available in hardback and the I was 50 on the list at the libary. I do not yet know the order of the books.


message 18: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35548 comments At Stop You're Killing Me you can find out the order books are written in - http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/P_A...


message 19: by Linette (new)

Linette | 9 comments You can also get the order from the author's page here on goodreads. Great books - just get better as they go along.


message 20: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle Piatek (rachelleschmitzpiatek) | 12 comments Hello- I too am new to group and read this story over summer via a FB group "Readers Nook". I loved the story and also thought that it was a breath of fresh air from my typical mystery/romance/thrillers that I usually read. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and find myself picking up random books at the used book stores at our local libraries...


message 21: by Anne (new)

Anne (annemarigold) | 9 comments Having just joined the group I wasn't sure whether to buy into this month's book particularly since I have downloaded quite a few this week!

Well I took the plunge on this one, the first choice not appealing.

I don't know whether it is conjuring up the Quebec countryside accurately but it is certainly evocative of something different which I am enjoying. I'm adding this to Kathy Reich's Montreal and warming to Canada. I'd like to visit some day.

So far so good!


message 22: by Trina (new)

Trina | 2 comments Another two sites that can assist you with the correct reading order of series are:

www.fictfact.com and www.fantasticfiction.co.uk

One caveat....sometimes, if an author's books have not yet been translated into english those particular books do not make the list (ie: Jo Nesbo's first two Harry Hole novels).


message 23: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Hi Rachelle and Anne,
Thanks for joining the group, and for participating in the group reads.


message 24: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (cypress_vol) | 14 comments I just discovered the Inspector Gamache series this year and LOVE LOVE LOVE the books I've read so far: Bury Your Dead, A Rule Against Murder, and am almost finished A Trick of the Light. I love the gentle nature of the multiple stories in each book, the humanity of the characters, and the descriptions of the Quebec settings. And the bistro sounds like a great place to drink and dine! I hope Louise Penny publishes a #8 in the series before I've finished the first seven!


message 25: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35548 comments I don't believe there is a new book due until the Fall so maybe you'd better pace yourself.


message 26: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (cypress_vol) | 14 comments Jan C - thanks! that's what I needed to know! I also have to pace myself for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, which have been coming out at the rate of one per summer!


message 27: by Anne (new)

Anne (annemarigold) | 9 comments Do we discuss in full now the end date has come and gone?

I have mixed feelings about this one. Overall I enjoyed it but I did have some problems with the characters.

Firstly it took me quite a while to distinguish the characters so I kept wishing I had written a note of them which was uncomfortable. I'm not keen, either, on those books where the author gives a cast list. I wonder if that's an excuse not to give sufficient characterisation in the text.

Secondly two of the characters irritated me without adding to the story. Ruth just seemed obnoxious. Ok any real town has those characters but is she there just to add "realism"? She seemed to have no redeeming features.

Yvette Nichol was just unbelievable and I can't believe she would have passed an initial interview let alone become an officer of the law. I hope she doesn't appear again!

The town felt very claustrophobic which may be quite real for rural Quebec. I don't think I would like to live there.

I liked the writing style but if all the crimes in future books take place ion the same town I don't think I'll be able to believe in it. I don't mind series where rather more crimes happen than would in real life but not in the same tiny town. Who would want to live there.

So, in summary, the next one in the series hasn't made it to my shelves yet but I know where to find it in the bookshop if I am persuaded to try again following reviews here.


message 28: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 7 comments I listened to this one on audiobook and thought the narrator was so great, although I agree it was a little tricky keeping track of the various characters. Unfortunately, Audible doesn't have the next several editions of this series. Boo.


message 29: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 3 comments I also listened to this book on audiobook and agree that the narrator did a great job. I fell in love with the village and all the characters, especially Gamache. This was one of the best "first" books that I can remember reading. I will definitely read the rest of the series and get as many of them as I can through audiobooks.


message 30: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (cypress_vol) | 14 comments Just thinking . . . if Inspector Gamache retires (idea comes up in A Trick of the Light), then he and Reine-Marie could move to another town? Yes, how many crimes can author realistically get out of one small town that's not even on any map?!


message 31: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 7 comments I love that though. It's like the Cabot Cove of Canada!


message 32: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Or Midsomer in England!


message 33: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 7 comments Donna wrote: "Or Midsomer in England!"

Yes!


message 34: by Anne (new)

Anne (annemarigold) | 9 comments True but there are quite a few different towns and villages around Midsomer all on Barnaby's patch so it isn't always the same characters.


message 35: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (cypress_vol) | 14 comments Re: Midsomer books - titles? author? can't find it by keyword or subject in our public library's online catalog. Are they like the Gamache series in narative style, tone, subject matter?


message 36: by Jan C (last edited Dec 17, 2011 11:26AM) (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35548 comments Caroline Graham is the author of the Midsomer books.

I only read one. A Ghost In The Machine. It was OK.

I like the tv series, though.

I might try some more. I just don't usually see them on the shelf. I suppose I could try at the library. Now that I have re-established a relationship with it.


message 37: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
I think the Midsomer Murders is more popular as a TV series.


message 38: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (kelleyls) | 7 comments Donna wrote: "I think the Midsomer Murders is more popular as a TV series."
I didn't even know they were based on books!


message 39: by Anne (new)

Anne (annemarigold) | 9 comments There don't seem to be many comments now the book is finished. How many people normally read a suggestion? I had thought there might be loads! I was expecting a rush of comments after the 14th!


message 40: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Hi Anne, It's hard to say how many people read a specific group read but at this time of year with all the holiday activites it is not surprising that there are fewer than usual comments.

We don't ever close the threads for a book either so the conversation can continue.


message 41: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 444 comments Anne wrote: "
I liked the writing style but if all the crimes in future books take place ion the same town I don't think I'll be able to believe in it. I don't mind series where rather more crimes happen than would in real life but not in the same tiny town. Who would want to live there...."


Anne, I agree with you 100% on this point. I had to suspend my disbelief on that score somewhere in book two. The murders don't all happen in the town, but close enough. Still, the characters are all so interesting, each with his or her own little secret, it seems. Penny seems to add a layer with each book. And the developing connection between the Gamauches and the people in Three Pines is just charming. There are also side plots with minor characters that add interest.


message 42: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 444 comments It's been awhile since I read this, but I remember that I didn't like Clara very much, I think that is the artist's name. She seemed naive and a bit self-involved. I think I found her actions toward the end of the book to be rather foolish.


message 43: by Anne (new)

Anne (annemarigold) | 9 comments Carol thanks for that. I've quite a few books on my Kindle but on the basis of your comments I may well add book2.


message 44: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments I picked up the audio version over the weekend - excited to get started tomorrow!!!!


message 45: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (cypress_vol) | 14 comments As I was reading this, it was hard to pretend that I have not already read 3 of the later Three Pines novels, including A Trick of the Light, in order not to immediately dismiss as suspects any of the characters still existing in that latest one. Did anybody but me suspect Wayne (p. 84) or Suzanne Croft as the murderer while you were reading the book? I agree with what Anne said (above) about Yvette Nichol! I trust she doesn't appear in any more Three Pines novels!? Insensitive, narcissistic jerk!


message 46: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle Piatek (rachelleschmitzpiatek) | 12 comments Carol/Bonadie wrote: "Anne wrote: "
I liked the writing style but if all the crimes in future books take place ion the same town I don't think I'll be able to believe in it. I don't mind series where rather more crimes ..."


Ditto!


message 47: by Terry (new)

Terry Huebner (TerryHuebner) | 17 comments Having now read all the books in the series, the fact that the murders more or less involve this one small town is hard to believe, but it doesn't bother me. I enjoyed each of the books and look forward to the next one. The settings are great, as are the characters and the plots. It's a strong series.


message 48: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments I am listening to the audio and for some reason this one is taking a long time to get thru. The audio is only 7 discs, maybe because there are so many characters and so much going on. Has anyone else listened to the audio and found this to be true or is it just me????


message 49: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 335 comments Ok, I finished this one today and was surprised to find out who the killer was - I did not expect that at all. This was my first book by this author and I listened to the audio - I think I will try book 2. I didn't love it - but it was a really good read.


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