Still Life: A Mystery by Louise Penny (St. Martin’s, 2005), 320 pages
In the quiet burg of Three Pines, vandalism is pretty much as exciting as it gets. Selections have also been made for the next juried art show, but that’s about it. And then an old lady is found dead.
Still Life is the first book in a series; the sixth, Bury Your Dead, is due out in September 2010.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is pretty much the quintessential detective. I love how he teaches and trains, empowers. I adore his relationship with his wife (he tells her everything). I also love that he listens and observes, and how Penny portrays that. And I love that he’s flawed — he makes mistakes.
Other than practically falling in love with Gamache, I also love the other people we meet in this book, in particular the population of Three Pines (Clara and Peter, to mention two). I didn’t feel nearly as connected with Gamache’s staff — his trainee Agent Yvette Nichol in particular was annoying, but then, I think she was to the characters, too.
I also loved the place of prominence given to the visual arts. And I enjoyed getting a glimpse into small-town Quebec.
I look forward to reading the rest of this series! I was glad for the excuse to begin a series I’d been wanting to read for quite some time.
About the author
Louise Penny lives outside a small village south of Montreal, quite close to the American border with her husband, Michael. Prior to becoming a novelist, she worked as a journalist and radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, specializing in hard news and current affairs. Her blog is http://louisepenny.blogspot.com.
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