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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache…
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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1) (original 2005; edition 2008)

by Louise Penny

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2,5231742,399 (3.87)588
Member:joannacawley
Title:Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)
Authors:Louise Penny
Info:Minotaur Books (2008), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Canadian procedural

Work details

Still Life by Louise Penny (2005)

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» See also 588 mentions

English (169)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
I went around recommending this author to other people before I even read her myself, which I suppose is a dangerous game except that I heard about her from reliable mystery-readers. So when I finally got around to reading this first Gamache novel, I was very happy. I'm not a huge mystery reader myself, though I do find the genre in general to be a nice blend of entertainment and thought. I can never figure them out ahead of time, so I'm always surprised when the murderer or other criminal perpetrator or mystery is revealed. This one has the added bonus of being Canadian, and I don't think I've read a Canadian mystery since reading L.R. Wright, many moons ago. It did make me curious about the Eastern Townships, a region I've often heard about but never visited. The community of Three Pines seemed an idyllic place to hang out and live (if a little claustrophobic, as all small towns seem, to me). And I immediately fell for the Chief Inspector, who is smart and compassionate and everything you hope to find in a cop. I was of mixed minds about his colleague's constant (internal) complaints about Gamache's shortcomings which, I felt, could have been revealed in time by the narrative rather than pointed out so obviously by another character. The emergence of Nichol is unusual -- introducing a kind of antagonist into the protagonist camp-- and I'll be interested to see whether she shows up in subsequent novels or if she was just in this one to show something about Gamache. I found the characters well-rounded and believable, the writing clear and smart, the story interesting. I'm looking forward to the next title in the series. ( )
  karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
I have been looking for an interesting series of books with the same main character(s) who are likable but not one-dimensional. The plots must be interesting and the books not too long - something to turn to between heavy and more serious reading. I may have found it in Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series. This is the first one I have read, but I liked it. Not great and memorable literature, but it fulfills my need. An additional bonus is that the series takes place in Canada and I am learning something about French-Canadian culture and customs. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
After recommendations from many quarters (Mae, Katie, library patrons), I finally got around to beginning this series, and I very much enjoyed the first book. I think I will continue with the audiobooks; I like the narrator, who is able to grant real seriousness to a few of the sentences that might read as melodramatic in print.

In Still Lives, Armand Gamache travels from Montreal to the small town of Three Pines to investigate what looks like a hunting accident at first but may be murder. The victim, Jane Neal, was a kind old lady, well-liked if not beloved by everyone in town; what could the killer's motive have been, if it was indeed murder? Gamache and Beauvoir, with help from prickly new agent Nichol and Jane's best friend, Clara Morrow, begin to hunt down murderer and motive.

My first impression of Yvette Nichol did not match up with her later attitude (Gamache eventually throws her off the case). I'm not sure if this was a fault in my listening or if readers were supposed to like her at first until they saw her from another perspective. I also think it's a bit odd that though Ben Hadley was the one to discover Jane's body, this did not come up again later (again, maybe I missed it?).

Overall, though, a nice cozy mystery with enough twists and details to be interesting.

Quotes

Jean Guy Beauvoir [Gamache's second-in-command] was loosely wrapped but tightly wound. (32)

What else did he see? What else didn't she? (Agent Yvette Nichol with Gamache, 33)

Tell me what you know. (Gamache to Jean Guy, 35)

"My mother used to laugh and say some people try to be in two places at once. I, on the other hand, am generally nowhere." (Ben Hadley, 39)

"No, Inspector, people don't change." (Ben Hadley to Gamache, 51)

"Life is choice. All day, everyday [sic]. Who we talk to, where we sit, what we say, how we say it. And our lives become defined by our choices." (Gamache to Nichol, 81)

"There are four things that lead to wisdom....four sentences...I don't know. I need help. I'm sorry. I was wrong." (Gamache to Nichol, 81, 161)

"Life is change. If you aren't growing and evolving you're standing still, and the rest of the world is surging ahead. Most of these people are very immature. They lead 'still' lives, waiting....Waiting for someone to save them....The thing is no one else can save them because the problem is theirs and so is the solution. Only they can get out of it." (Myrna to Gamache, 140)

No one was who they seemed. Everyone was more. (279) ( )
  JennyArch | Aug 10, 2015 |
Because I was at home, I finished the book in 2 days. I have read detectives before but it's been a while. It was a bit difficult to get in the story but after some pages you want to move to Three Pines. Not one moment I could guess the right outcome. I had one suspect but I've heard in an audiofragment the second chapter of the second book and that proved me wrong because my suspect was "happily" chatting on a bench. So she wasn't arrested at all.

reminder
The order of the Gamache books, from first to most recent, is:
Still Life, A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone (same book, different title), The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How the Light Gets In, The Long Way Home, The Nature of the Beast.

Up to the next one : a fatal grace ( )
  bertje.trotinette | Aug 7, 2015 |
I enjoyed Louise Penny's Still Life, but would have even more had I not already read the most recent Gamache mystery. I knew just enough to have a sense of the end. But it was still an enjoyable book and I hope to now move through the series in better order. [I listened to the audiobook and very much enjoyed the reader]. ( )
  VictoriaJZ | Aug 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
The beauty of Louise Penny’s auspicious debut novel, STILL LIFE, is that it’s composed entirely of grace notes, all related to the central mystery of who shot an arrow into the heart of Miss Jane Neal,...
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louise Pennyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eggesvik, AstridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kõrgvee, EdeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nagano, KiyomiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ram, TitiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruiz Jara, BeatrizTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saint-Germain, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salminen, RaimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stumpf, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werbeck, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This book is given, along with all my heart, to Michael
First words
Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday.
Quotations
She also felt a stirring that suggested she didn't actually like her son. Love, yes. Well, probably. But like?
Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312541538, Paperback)

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the S?urete du Quebec 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.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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