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Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel [Kindle Edition]

Louise Penny
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,092 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $5.00 (63%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté 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.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Canadian Penny's terrific first novel, which was the runner-up for the CWA's Debut Dagger Award in 2004, introduces Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. When the body of Jane Neal, a middle-aged artist, is found near a woodland trail used by deer hunters outside the village of Three Pines, it appears she's the victim of a hunting accident. Summoned to the scene, Gamache, an appealingly competent senior homicide investigator, soon determines that the woman was most likely murdered. Like a virtuoso, Penny plays a complex variation on the theme of the clue hidden in plain sight. She deftly uses the bilingual, bicultural aspect of Quebecois life as well as arcane aspects of archery and art to deepen her narrative. Memorable characters include Jane; Jane's shallow niece, Yolande; and a delightful gay couple, Olivier and Gabri. Filled with unexpected insights, this winning traditional mystery sets a solid foundation for future entries in the series. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The residents of a tiny Canadian village called Three Pines are shocked when the body of Miss Jane Neal is found in the woods. Miss Neal, the village's retired schoolteacher and a talented amateur artist, has been a good friend to most of the townsfolk, so her loss is keenly felt. At first, her death appears to be a tragic accident--it's deer-hunting season, and it looks a stray hunter's arrow killed her. But some folks are suspicious, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Montreal Surete is called in to investigate. Accompanying Gamache are his loyal assistant Beauvoir and Yvette Nichol, a new addition to Gamache's team. The trio soon finds that the seemingly peaceful, friendly village hides dark secrets. The truth is both bizarre and shocking, even to the jaded Gamache and his team. This is a real gem of a book that slowly draws the reader into a beautifully told, lyrically written story of love, life, friendship, and tragedy. And it's a pretty darn good mystery too. This belongs in the same league with such other outstanding Canadian mysteries as Eric Wright's Charlie Salter series. Emily Melton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 646 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OLRMZA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
281 of 298 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Ultimately it's us and our choices." July 23, 2006
Format:Hardcover
"Still Life," by Louise Penny, takes place in Three Pines, a small rural village south of Montreal. This placid and beautiful hamlet is shaken to its core when a beloved and gentle seventy-six year old woman named Jane Neal is shot through the heart with an arrow. Was Neal's death the result of a hunting accident or was it murder? If it was an accident, why has no one come forward? If Jane was deliberately slain, who could have wanted her dead? One suspect is Jane's estranged niece, Yolande Fontaine, a cold, unfeeling, and greedy woman who is desperate to get her hands on her aunt's property. In addition, Yolande's husband is an obnoxious boor with a criminal record, and their son is a known delinquent.

In charge of the investigation is Chief Inspector of Homicide, Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec. Although he is in his mid-fifties, "violent death still surprised him." Gamache is a man of integrity with keen powers of observation, and he is an excellent listener with an uncanny ability to make people reveal their innermost thoughts. Assisting Gamache is Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir, who has been Gamache's second-in-command for over ten years. Agent Yvette Nichol, an arrogant and impulsive young woman, is new to the team, and she quickly annoys her superiors with her irritating and smug attitude.

The varied cast of townspeople includes Clara and Peter Morrow, who are local artists; Clara, who was extremely close to Jane, is devastated by the old woman's death. Olivier and Gabri are gay partners who run a bistro and a bed and breakfast, and early in the book, they are victims of a vicious assault by three boys who mock the pair's sexual orientation. Myrna Landers is a former psychologist who has deep insight into the human condition.
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111 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! May 17, 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the most powerful debut mystery I've read in years. Meet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sureté de Québec, the most capable, intelligent, and charming detective to come along in a very long while. His first case takes him to the tiny town of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, where someone has killed a much-loved elderly woman with a bow-and-arrow. Who? Why? Gamache must sift through the complex relationships of a colorful group of local citizens to find the surprising answers.

Here are my favorite current mystery series authors: P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes...and Louise Penny. Yes, she's that good. Trust me. Read STILL LIFE, then read A FATAL GRACE, the second in the series and every bit as good as the first one. I can't wait for #3. Highly recommended.
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98 of 111 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some flaws in first novel in a series October 13, 2009
By Stock24
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although this is by no means a bad book, I didn't like it nearly as much as the other reviewers. To me, the writing was sometimes disjointed and did not flow smoothly, in particular in the conversation between characters and sometimes when jumping between the present and the past. For a first novel about a village and the police officers called there to investigate a suspicious death, there was too much detail to absorb about all the different characters. A good series peels the layers away gradually, allowing depth to be revealed over time. I thought this book tried to reveal too much, too soon.

Inspector Gamache IS an appealing and intelligent character. All of the officers are supposed to be sharp in intellect. That made it strange (and annoying) to see how young officer Nichol misunderstood her superior's advice. It was also mystifying how Gamache, who is so observant and understanding of human nature, could not see how his advice to Nichol had gone wrong.

Finally, I just didn't "buy" the villian of the book. There were enough other plausible suspects to make it interesting, but, in the end, I couldn't believe that the killer could have kept his or her true nature hidden from so many intelligent people for so long. How could the other villagers have not seen something to make them know the nature of this callous individual over the many years they had lived together closely? In a big city where you nod hello to the other people in your apartment building, then I buy that you say "He seemed like such a nice guy." I grew up in a small town, and I found it hard to believe that almost no one really knew the killer. I want to read a mystery that makes sense and that is internally consistent, but I felt this book fell a bit short in that regard.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to move to Three Pines! June 26, 2008
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Louise Penny has written a wonderful "cozy murder mystery." The mystery is intriguing and well laid out. It is the characters, though, that you will fall in love with. They make the story! In this book that is the first in a series, Penny does a great job "hooking" the reader so that you want to read more about Three Pines. I bought Fatal Grace (the second book) at the same time as this one, and I am glad I did. I jumped right into it when I finished Still Life. Definitely worth your while!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Though I usually go in for tough police thrillers, I sometimes mix things up by reading a light, funny mystery or- like this book- a quiet, thoughtful mystery set in a small town (a "cozy", I believe this type of mystery novel is called). "Still Life" nicely combines the easygoing attributes of a "cozy" mystery- quirky, eccentric characters, a small-town setting, pretty much no violence- with a little modernity, in the form of occasional well-placed profanity (though not much) and modern demographics (a gay couple is included among the main characters).

The main detective character, intelligent and interesting, owes a little to Christie's Hercule Poirot, but not everything. The mystery itself is pretty interesting, too, though some aspects of its solution are a little broad and clunky, as are some of the explanations of why ultimately cleared characters were acting suspicious for a time. Any shortcomings are quibbles, however, and shouldn't deter one from trying out this nicely done mystery story set in a quiet little corner of Quebec.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Series Ever......
I cannot say enough good things about these books. I have read the entire series and all I can say is, keep going. Read more
Published 15 hours ago by Alysha Ann Olsen
5.0 out of 5 stars good mystery
The setting of a rural town with quirky characters first draws the reader in. A delightful read, interesting well developed characters and intricately woven plot.
Published 2 days ago by jgj
4.0 out of 5 stars inspector gar ache novel
I really enjoyed this mystery. I thought the plot was very twisty, and didn't discover who the murderer was until the very end.
Published 3 days ago by S. Warnock
5.0 out of 5 stars VILLAGE LIFE IN CANADA
Fabulous! Well-written and plot is extremely interesting, with subtle twists and turns. I'm hooked on this insider's look into the various characters, be they English, Canadian... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Margaret M. Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars start of a great series
It was a great book and I will now read more of the series. The author sets a tone and you feel like you are there with the characters. The Inspector is a great character.
Published 4 days ago by Ardy Ogg
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle, educated hero welcome
Great character development and erudite asides. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series
Published 5 days ago by Susquehannah
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it a lot
My first experience with author and characters. I enjoyed it a lot. Good character development and plot line.
Published 5 days ago by Sandra K Baysinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book
This is the first book in the series. It was wonderful.
Published 5 days ago by M M Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Live with the characters
I like a book that makes me feel that I have lived with the characters. I like the old fashioned mystery novel blended with today's societal issues. Read more
Published 5 days ago by RicaCostaRica
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet and sad
Lovely little mystery. Enjoyed each character. Very happy to discover this quiet gem. Inspector Gamache is a great cozy detective.
Published 5 days ago by Absynthea
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More About the Author

LOUISE PENNY is an award-winning journalist who worked for many years for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She lives in a small village south of Montréal where she writes, skis, and volunteers. Her bestselling first mystery, Still Life, was the winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards; and her second, A Fatal Grace, won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2008. Visit her website at www.louisepenny.com.

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What was found in Bernard's room?
a gay magazine.
Feb 2, 2014 by Zoe Sharrona |  See all 4 posts
Explanation for Jane's blood on Phillippe's clothes?
Phillipe picked up the arrow that actually struck Jane, not the one that he actually shot that went into the trees. Pretty weak I think...
Dec 10, 2012 by BigT |  See all 3 posts
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