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Still Life (2005)

by Louise Penny

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,6153851,512 (3.84)771
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache 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 nothing more than a tragic hunting accident, 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.… (more)
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» See also 771 mentions

English (377)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Polish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (385)
Showing 1-5 of 377 (next | show all)
Every series has to start somewhere. This is at the very bottom of my list of favorite books in the Inspector Ganache series. However, I'm so glad I kept going despite the rough start. ( )
  christyco125 | Jul 4, 2022 |
This is one of the rare cases when you start reading a book with immensely high hopes - and everything you were told or have expected is true! I usually am a bit wary when I read a novel that was praised by everyone, but in this case, there was no need to be. I was not disappointed at all!
The case was intriguing right from the beginning: A local teacher - an utterly kind person and beloved by everyone in the village - is killed in the woods, and the weapon was a hunting bow. Who could have done such a gruesome thing to an elderly lady? Soon we meet not only Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, but also a circle of lively villagers. And yes, of course there are secrets to discover, things from the past that seem long buried, friendships and enemies. But what makes this more noteworthy than your usual mystery is the unique atmosphere. After I had finished I felt as if I had really been there, and I had a very strong book hangover, just wanting to return to Three Pines to hang out with the characters. How lucky that there are many more books in this series to discover!
The only reason I'm taking off half a star is the depiction, or rather lack of depiction, of Agent Nichol. Whenever she appears it seems like she is a main character, but then she has not enough chapters to really develop, which means that her character is left in the dark. This does not seem fair and I hope that she will either get another chance in the next installment or will be left out completely, as like this, it is neither one thing nor the other. ( )
  MissBrangwen | Jul 3, 2022 |
I’ve read two of the Inspector Gamache series books and enjoyed them both. I promised myself this would be a series I would go back to the beginning and read them in order. I picked up the first book, Still Life, several years ago, thinking I would get around to listening to it sooner than I would to reading it. That did happen; unfortunately, I was so unhappy with the narrator that it ruined my experience. I still believe Louise Penny’s series is so damn charming as to be good for one’s soul, but the narrator was awful. He made no effort to differentiate between male characters, and I was slightly offended by his female characterizations. While I still plan to get around to the rest of the series, it will not be via audiobook. Ms. Penny deserves better than that. ( )
  jmchshannon | Jun 25, 2022 |
I've heard soooo many great things about Louise Penny's Armand Gamache mysteries and finally picked up a few books in the series. Still Life is considered a cozy murder mystery, set in a quiet town in snowy Quebec. Gamache is a deeply empathetic Chief Inspector who is called to investigate the death of a woman, presumably after a hunting accident.

The book is problematic yet enjoyable. Despite so many eye-rolling moments (e.g. there's a gay, café-owning couple who, in one scene and without irony, sing "It's Raining Men" - buy hey, it was published 13 years ago, cut her some slack), I found myself really invested in the characters and the outcome of the case. Even though I felt Gamache didn't do enough sleuthing to adequately move the case along (in fact, his first assumption was wrong and even though I felt the conclusion was a bit of stretch, it ended up being a perfect cozy, winter read. I plan on continuing the series - I hear they get better. ( )
  MC_Rolon | Jun 15, 2022 |
Still Life: Chief Inspector Gamache is a story that has many characters who are difficult to follow. It takes place in a small village that is not even on a map. There is a murder. It is Chief Inspector Gamache's job to figure out who did it. Unfortunately, as stated above, it is difficult to follow the characters. The book just comes to an end. Consequently, only three stars were awarded to this book. ( )
  lbswiener | May 12, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 377 (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 (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louise Pennyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, RhysIllustratorsecondary 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
Tse, EdwinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werbeck, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is given, along with all my heart, to Michael
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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. (From the third verse of 'Herman Melville' by W. H. Auden, quoted by Jane Neal in chapter one)
Every year the hunters shot cows and horses and family pets and each other. And, unbelievably, they sometimes shot themselves, perhaps in a psychotic episode where they mistook themselves for dinner. It was a wise person who knew that some hunters -- not all, but some -- found it challenging to distinguish a pine from a partridge from a person. (Chapter 1)
[Gamache is talking with Myrna Landers]

'The funny thing about murder is that the act is often committed decades before the actual action. Something happens, and it leads, inexorably, to death many years later. A bad seed is planted. It's like those old horror films from the Hammer studios, of the monster, not running, never running, but walking without pause, without thought or mercy, toward its victim. Murder is often like that. It starts way far off.' (chapter 7)
"There are four things that lead to wisdom. They are four sentences we learn to say, and mean."

I don't know.

I need help.

I'm sorry.

I was wrong.

(p. 81-82)
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Chief Inspector Armand Gamache 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 nothing more than a tragic hunting accident, 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.

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