Customer Reviews for

Still Life (Armand Gamache Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

28 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

More than just a mystery...

Penny is Canadian, lives in Quebec, and that's her setting. Her detective is Armand Gamache, chief inspector of an elite branch of the state police in charge of investigating murders. Gamache believes the seeds that lead to murder are planted in the murderer's past, som...
Penny is Canadian, lives in Quebec, and that's her setting. Her detective is Armand Gamache, chief inspector of an elite branch of the state police in charge of investigating murders. Gamache believes the seeds that lead to murder are planted in the murderer's past, something emotional that most people would get over but in this particular individual, they remain and fester and eventually lead to the person committing a murder. The investigation, therefore, has to involve getting to know all those involved and delving back into the suspects' and victim's past to find the cause that eventually led to the murder.

Her setting is the very small and seemingly idyllic village of Three Pines. It is not shown on any map; those who find it do so either by accident or while exploring randomly in the area south of Montreal but still north of the border with the USA. The village is home to artists and poets, very interesting characters.

Penny is brilliant at including all the detail - when they eat, you get hungry - and presenting very interesting characters. Some of them feel that Three Pines is a sort of Brigadoon, the Scots village that magically appeared on earth for only a single day many years apart - a magical place apart from the rigors and ups and downs of the rest of the world. And yet, it is the site of murders which bring Chief Inspector Gamache and his eclectic team of investigators in to delve into everyone's lives because in Three Pines everyone is involved in all that goes on.

Highly recommended. This work and the entire series.

posted by barrya on May 14, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

41 out of 94 people found this review helpful.

Very disappointed, Poorly researched

I don't usually write reviews on books, but I had to this time. This is one of the worst books I've picked up in a very long time. Rarely do I ever put a book down without finishing it, but this time I did, and it went straight into the trash. The author really shoul...
I don't usually write reviews on books, but I had to this time. This is one of the worst books I've picked up in a very long time. Rarely do I ever put a book down without finishing it, but this time I did, and it went straight into the trash. The author really should have done more research. If you know anything at all about archery, or if you are a hunter of any kind, you will probably find this book quite irritating. The author spent a whole chapter supposedly explaining different types of bows, arrows, tips, and "feathers," and in the process made very general statements about the equipment that are simply wrong. Considering the murder being investigated was committed with a bow and arrow, she should at least have tried to get her terminology right, and learn something about the murder weapon. The author also has a problem with hunting, which she makes abundantly clear with ridiculous stereotypes, painting all hunters with a broad brush as all being mindless, blood-thirsty, illiterate, poaching criminals who would just leave someone on the ground to die in the event of an accidental shooting. If you're into mindless tripe, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a well-written thriller of a detective story, don't waste your time and money on this book.

posted by ktfite on May 10, 2010

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