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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Alex on 01-16-15
A rare find
I took a flier on this book based on another reviewer (the indefatigable Charles Atkinson), and am glad I did. Penny's writing style reminds me of P.D. James, about as high a compliment I can pay. The characters are well-crafted, interesting and varied, making actual people seem like cardboard cutouts. It almost doesn't matter if nothing happens.
But stuff does happen. The plot is just as well crafted, and I never get the sense that things run to formula. I love a good mystery, so it's a real treat when I'm both carried along with the story and surprised by each new scene.
If I have one criticism it's that, like James, Penny creates great suspense and anticipation and then lets the air out of the climax a little bit rather than giving the reader the full payoff of the reveal. I guess I'm a sucker for the the drawing room revelation. And in fairness, she isn't quite the party-pooper James is in that regard.
In short, I'll probably binge on every word Penny's ever scrawled until I've plowed through the entire lot. It's that good.
86 of 88 people found this review helpful
By R. Pontiflet on 09-11-14
An Easy Listen....
I like listening to Ralph Cosham. Generally, he uses a calm tone and use increased tension and excitement in his voices when needed. For me, his voice makes the novel easy to listen to for 9.5 hours of narration. It is character development and personality quirks that help him to distinguish his voice for each character.
I did not read Book 1 first.. I read three of the novels before reading this story (book 1) and I have three or four more books in the series to go. So far, all the stories have held my interest throughout, however, I would strongly suggest reading this series in order if possible which will help the listener appreciate and fully understand the back stories that are referred to in each story.
What I've found is that Ms. Penny builds each novel upon the previous story in some way. Yes, I have had to "suspend my disbelief" a little too much but I think the stories give me what I am after and that is a good whodunit while transporting me to another place even if its a fantasy/made up place. Three Pines is described so well that I feel that I could find it. Character development is very good, you get to know the reoccurring characters very well.
In addition to the whodunit aspect which has good twists and turns, there are mystical and otherworldly undertones in this little village where everybody knows everybody and it's become a second home for investigator Armand Gamache.
83 of 87 people found this review helpful