Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #1)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache Series #1)

by Louise Penny
4.0 396

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Still Life (Armand Gamache Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 396 reviews.
barrya More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great fan of the Golden Age of Mysteries, I am frequently disappointed when I try new writers of this genre. There seems to be an abundance of modern authors who write in a style that is horrifically violent, and even more who weave a "cutesy" humor in and out of the fabric of the crime yarn. Louise Penny is above all this, a great story teller with intriguing and believable characters, grand plots, and settings that make you go put the kettle on and get comfortable for a good night's read.
TinyFalsehood More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad that the NYT Book Review introduced me to this series last week. This book was wonderful. I was so excited when I checked it out and saw it was $2.99, so I got it immediately and devoured it. It is so much more than a "cozy" mystery - no cutsey gimmicks, no horribly convenient plot twists, no stupid coincidences. Just solid writing, engaging characters, and plenty of surprising, insightful lines of prose that definitely should make a reader step back and recognize that this goes well above and beyond most mysteries. I immediately downloaded book two, and I'm excited that I have several more waiting for me after that.
LyndaMR More than 1 year ago
Louise Penny's first Three Pines Mystery with Armand Gamache is WONDERFUL! I love the way she writes - and her analysis of human nature and the foibles and failings. I love the way she explores not only the mystery of the murder, but also uses simple vignettes to illustrate the tragedy the murder visits on the people of Twin Pines, from the friends to the victim's dog. She writes about people as they really are, not idealized versions of themselves. It's one of those books, that when you have to put it down, it whispers to you and you can't stop wondering what the characters are doing now, what Gamache will observe next to move the story along. You want to meet and interact with the characters of the novel and can't wait to get back to the story.
1louise1 More than 1 year ago
The story takes place in Three Pines, a small rural village south of Montreal where gentle seventy-six year old woman named Jane Neal is shot through the heart with an arrow. This is a humorous, thoughtful, and captivating study of close-knit friends and relatives who celebrate their successes and mourn their losses together. Miss Marple anyone?
MCHEATH More than 1 year ago
Louise Penny is my new favorite author. It is no wonder she is winning awards. She writes true literature. My husband agrees. Read her books in order and fall in love with the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading this series with the latest book, The Brutal Telling, and fell in love with the characters in Three Pines. I had to get all the books in this series. Still Life is an awesome read and is well written and thoughtful. Inspector Gamache is like a great big teddy bear, but with some bite when necessary. The inspector goes about his discovery with a slow and steady approach to finding the real killer, but the truth comes out eventually. And they do love to eat. It always leaves me wanting to have lunch in Three Pines, just listening in on their conversations or reading a book at the bistro and feeling so comfortable. All the characters are strange and wonderful at the same time. Can't wait to start the next book.
CHK More than 1 year ago
Still Life was a murder mystery written in such elegant prose it seems to create a new genre. Delightful, eccentric characters in a unique environment, and so many suspects I couldn’t put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And of course we have harriet klausner along to ruin yet another book with her cliff note book report plot spoiler that totally ruins the book. Come on bn, when are you ever going to do something to this obnoxious postet. Ban her, delete her her posts, do something but get rid of her.
lovesBooksLF More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE these books! Each character becomes a part of your family while reading about them. After finishing this book I was sad to see my friends go...and looked forward to the next mystery awaiting me in 3 Pines.
LilyLangtry More than 1 year ago
I am so excited to have found this great series (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache) by Louise Penny. I started and finished reading the first of the series "Still Life" in one day, have now ordered the second in the series. You are pulled into the life of Three Pines and its inhabitants in a compelling manner without being bombarded with needless obscenities or vulgarity.
MareCT More than 1 year ago
This well written, well paced book just did not catch my fancy. I had some trouble keeping some of the characters straight, disliked one intensely, and didn't really care too much about the others. The setting was very nice, and very nicely written. The mystery was fairly plotted, but something fell short for me. I will read the next because I really don't understand what was lacking. This book should be a delight to any cozy reader.
Grandma-Sue More than 1 year ago
Suprisingly good small town mystery. Anyone who likes to curl up with a good mystery full of interesting characters and strong main characters will love this book.
TomsgirlPA More than 1 year ago
I'm really glad I discovered this author. She has a great writing style and the characters are wonderful! The setting is different and the whole package is just a refreshing change from the mysteries I've been reading. The ending was a surprise. I have fallen in love with this town and the characters that live in it, and can't wait to read the rest of these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy mysteries like this one, set in a cozy little town where it seems talents such as artists and literary folks always end up. Not only is the inspector clever, but the townspeople as well. This one takes place in small-town Quebec, with some of the conflicts which that entails; the Anglos vs the French, the prejudice against gays, etc. A minor annoyance I found: I don't know if it was just my ebook edition or not, but I was often distracted by the way quotes in the book were laid out. Single quotation marks were used instead of double, and then quotes within quotes had double marks instead of single. Some quotation marks were missing entirely. Two different characters' quotes followed one another within a single paragraph, making me wonder who said what. I'm rather a stickler for proper punctuation, so maybe I'm just being anal; or, like I said, maybe my ebook was just thrown together too haphazardly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking to introduce myself to the modern mystery genre, I had asked mystery readers for a recommendation, and picked this book from the list I got back. I enjoyed the book, but found parts of it confusing and other parts simply bizarre. The mystery was interesting, and kept me guessing right until the end, just like a good mystery should. Once it was revealed, all of the pieces fell into place, and you could easily trace where all the clues had been dropped through the opening stages of the story. While the detective character didn't really go through any changes in the course of the story, many of the other characters, really the "main" characters of the story, faced challenges and went through changes that felt genuine and appropriate. Those aspects of the book were enjoyable. On the other hand, the author moves back and forward in time with fluid ease, but without signposts. It was jarring at first reading scenes where the victim was talking and interacting with people having read about her corpse with little indication that the author's eye had jumped back in time. Also, the author's use of third-person omniscient viewpoint sometimes sent me reeling as we moved from one character's head to another and then another again, all within the span of a couple of paragraphs. Finally, there seemed to be some characters that seemed at first to be central to the story but who were marginalized by the middle of the book, and then completely disappeared well before the end of the book, and never really had their issues resolved. Perhaps they'll come back in future books? I don't know, and I'm not sure I'll find out. I'm just not compelled to read further books in this series.
marianne68 More than 1 year ago
I read this a while back but I remember that I enjoyed it. So well written and engaging on many levels. Set in Quebec, the Chief Inspector is called in to investigate the death of an older woman, whose body is found in woods. He believes it's murder but the local think it's an accident.
Marie_Russell More than 1 year ago
The Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny portrays interesting characters from an ordinary, yet somewhat mystical village, who accept and love one another with their quirks and flaws. Penny's use of metaphors takes the reader to a deep level of human psychology - at the same time the plot moves along at an entertaining pace. There's a balance of the serious business of crime solving and cozy scenes with delicious food and humorous dialog. I can't wait to finish reading the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much I immediately ordered the second in the series and now am ready to start the third one.  The writing has a poetic quality that adds so much to the descriptions; I fell in love with Inspector Gamache, and the story  itself is compelling--an old-fashioned whodunit. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! A wonderful mystery filled with characters so richly detailed that I want to meet them some day! Can't wait to read more of the series.
lbooth001 More than 1 year ago
This book kept me guessing who done it until the very end. I enjoyed the character of Inspector Gamache very much and am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first of a marvelous series of 9 books. Most wonderful writer. Could not put the books down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a breath of fresh air from the thoughtlessly violent mystery books that abound the shelves today. Penny has a delightful way of getting us into the heads of the characters so that you can relate to them from a human perspective. At a few points the conversations were so true to life they became hard to follow. Penny seemed to have smoothed this awkwardness out in later books. As a Mystery you are kept guessing and second guessing all the way to the end but in hindsight makes perfect sense. And as life there are unresolved threads that wind throughout several books in the series keeping me wanting more. I look forward to curling up with a cafe au lait and visiting Three Pines and my new found friends many more times in this series!
gcs More than 1 year ago
Recommended by a friend. I read "Still Life" and then ordered the rest of the series. Have since finished the second book. I love the author and her stories!!
Alli Friel More than 1 year ago
One of the best mystery authors currently writing. Amazing, well-developed characters that you follow through the series and become attached to. So many wish they could write like Louise Penny.