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Still Life Paperback – September 30, 2008
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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful! 'who done it' murder . You must keep your wits about to try and solve the murder. Keep track of everything about all the characters. Everything can be clue. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Pat S
Engaging reading as a light murder mystery. The author is really good at character development. You feel like you really know these people who live in a small village. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Linda Johnson
I don't know why I thought this was going to be a historical mystery but it wasn't. It was current for the time in which it was written which was 2005, I believe. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Veronica 87