Still Life by Louise Penny

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

Other reviews
Devourer of Books
Page 247
Geranium Cat’s Bookshelf
Jen’s Book Thoughts
My Random Acts of Reading

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I checked this book out from my local library.


15 responses to “Still Life by Louise Penny

  1. Oh, I’m so excited that you enjoyed Gamache. If you continue reading the series, you’ll find out some other interesting stuff about Nichol…not that it’s going to change your feelings about her, just interesting stuff!

    Gamache and Beauvoir always crack me up. Their conversations are always comical.

    Thanks so much, Hannah, for participating this week. So happy to have you on board and extra happy that you found a fun detective!

  2. Christine McCann

    The series only gets better from here, Word Lily! I love the world of Three Pines and Armand Gamache that Louise Penny has created. I want to know these people and visit this region!

  3. This looks really good! The characters sound fantastic. I think we have discussed before my love of a good mystery 🙂

    Hope the move has went well!

    • It *is* really good! And yes, I agree, I think we have discussed that before. 🙂

      The move went relatively smoothly. We still don’t have everything relocated, but it’ll come in time.

  4. I’ve heard Louise Penny’s books are great! I’ll have to check out this series.

  5. I love Louise Penny’s series. Probably my favorite of all the mystery series that I read. She is such a delightful person.

    I did review Still Life back in 2007. Here’s the link:

  6. I’m so glad to see you enjoyed this one. I’ve listened to the audio versions of the first two books in the series and I love and am annoyed by the same things you mentioned.

  7. Pingback: Still Life’s setting « Word Lily

  8. I have this one on my MP3 player forever. Everyone loves this series. Maybe I’ll get to it this summer.

  9. This one’s on my wish list.

  10. Pingback: Still Life ~ Louise Penny | Tempting Persephone

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