Still Life by Louise Penny
Armand Gamache Series #1
2006 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Reader: Ralph Cosham
Finished on 5/2/13
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
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 Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.
Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces – and this series – with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.
I’ve been meaning to return to this series for several years. In all, there are now eight books, with the ninth (How the Light Gets In) due out in August. Since it’s been well over six years since I first encountered Louise Penny’s debut novel, I decided to listen to the audio of Still Life to reacquaint myself with the characters before moving on to A Fatal Grace. Looking back on my original review, I see that my initial reaction was a bit more positive than this second encounter. I gave it an 8/10 (very good) rating and wrote:
It took me a few chapters to settle into this debut novel, but once I got a handle on all the various characters (many of whom were possible suspects in the death of Ms. Neal), I couldn’t put it down, anxious to get back to my reading and trying to solve the crime as I went about my daily activities.Final Thoughts:
Still Life is not a hard-boiled thriller, but rather a gentle “drawing room” mystery in which the chief investigator relishes a warm café au lait and flaky croissant as he ponders the details of the crime, while enjoying the peacefulness of the village as dawn breaks.
Gamache is a likeable character, reminding me a little bit of John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport (although, not quite the womanizer and much more well-read). I have a feeling Gamache and Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir will become another favorite duo and I look forward to Penny’s next installment (Dead Cold), due out next spring.
I have a couple of books that I’m anxious to read in the next few weeks, but I won’t let much more time elapse before I pick up A Fatal Grace (aka Dead Cold). I’m eager to see why this series has become so popular among mystery lovers.
Have you read any of Louise Penny’s mysteries? Which is your favorite?