Oct 5, 2013

Review: Still Life (A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel) by Louise Penny

I came across this book while perusing Goodreads a few weeks ago. It seemed to be exactly the type of mystery I was looking for. I love mystery series and this one seemed a little different than the 'cozy' mysteries I've been reading, though I suppose, technically it still is classified as a 'cozy'.

In STILL LIFE, the first book of the series, veteran Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, with the Surete du Quebec, is called to a crime scene on Thanksgiving Day to the small village of Three Pines outside of Montreal where an elderly woman has been killed, possibly murdered, by an arrow through the heart. Gamache and his team quickly descend on the tight-knit community and begin their investigation. With it being hunting season, the suspect list starts out very broad, but as Gamache observes the residents and gets to know some of them, important clues come to light. On top of heading this disturbing investigation, he is also tasked with training a new recruit to his team, Agent Nichol. Though she first appeared bright and promising, she soon shows her immaturity and lack of respect to both the residents of Three Pines and to Gamache, himself.  For reasons that are beyond some, Gamache continues to try to help her learn not only how to be a good investigator, but also to learn something of herself as well.

My Thoughts:

I am so happy that I found this series! When I was on Goodreads, I noticed that several of my friends had read it and really enjoyed it and I wondered how I'd missed it. The characters, especially the chief inspector completely drew me in. Gamache has a fatherly sense to him that makes you instantly trust him to do what's right. What I also enjoyed was getting to know the different residents of Three Pines and their quirks. Some of them are likable right away, while others were not likable at all to me. But they were all so believable and they each added to the story.

Speaking of story - Louise Penny sure knows how to write a compelling tale. Let me be clear, this is not a fast-paced who-dun-it. It is a slower paced, methodical mystery that patiently weaves through time and character to create a suspenseful outcome. I also have to mention that I love the title of this first book, STILL LIFE. Before reading it I thought I knew what the title meant, but as I read on, other meanings began to develop in my mind.   A great title always gives me an added appreciation for the author and their work that was definitely the case here.

 I'd heard of Louise Penny before, but had never taken the time to look into her work. Now that I have, I am a big fan. For me, all other series are going to be put on the back burner for awhile until I read a few more of this wonderfully engaging series. I guess you could say I'm hooked. For lovers of mystery series, in my opinion, you can't go wrong with this series. If you hurry, you can pick it up for $2.99 at the Kindle Store!

STILL LIFE (Chief Inspector Gamache #1)
Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: September 2008
Published: Minotaur
Length: 321pp
Source: Purchased as Kindle Daily Deal


  1. Penny is on my list of authors I want to try.

  2. I read this one a few years ago and loved it. I wouldn't put it in the Cosy Mystery category though. More a full fledged mystery, though the setting in the village and the friendly shops do make it seem cosy and inviting.

  3. Just a few weeks ago I bought "Still Life" and loaded it on my ipad. I'm glad to know that you enjoyed it.

    Happy Sunday, Lisa!

  4. I really loved this one when I read it as well! I NEED to get back to this series soon and finally read the second book. Great review and I'm glad that you enjoyed this one so much!


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