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Still Life Paperback – September 30, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
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
This is a wonderful introduction to the great Inspector Gamache and the villagers of Three Pines. If you are a fan of mysteries you cannot go wrong with one of Louise Penney's... Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Angela Guza
i loved this mystery and the surprise ending. I can not wait to the next in the series.Published 8 hours ago by Desiree Fowler
Not finished with this one yet, but I do want to acquire and read the complete Inspector Gamache series. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by DiDi Johnson
I liked this 2nd book by Louise Penny, The books start out slow but as you read more it's hard to put the book down. I was surprised at the end . Read morePublished 2 days ago by Marion Rogers
This the first of around 10 or 11 books set in Three Pines. I am going to read some more. I like the easy-going style of the author.Published 4 days ago by Fashionista Grammy
Great read! I loved how Louise Penny developed each character. Each one had his/her own complexities and all were very believable and real. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Sharon Stetter
read this book first loved the characters and writing so much I had to go back to the first book and then the second book, can't wait until i finally catch up to this eighth book... Read morePublished 6 days ago by carla flesch
Descriptions of "Three Pines" bought the village and its inhabitants to life. When I finished the book, I felt I knew the characters and I looked forward to reading another... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Liz Hayes
One of the most unusual modern murder stories I've read. Imagine Agatha Christie but with real, complicated, human characters and a detective who allows and encourages people in... Read morePublished 9 days ago by M. Searle