Still Life

Still Life

by Louise Penny

Overview: Overview "Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete 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." 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 new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.

Carol Sherman (12/22/14): Still Life is the first novel of Louise Penny and the first in the Armand Gamache mystery series. It takes place in the fictitious village of Three Pines south of Montreal, a charming place to live. I really enjoyed reading this book.

Jane Neal, 76, is found shot in the woods with an arrow. Was it a hunting accident or murder? The story unravels as we are introduced to the residents of this rural village and the connections between them. We also meet Gamache, his aid Beauvoir, and an apprentice Nichole who come to investigate.

Jane was an artist. She painted her life story but no one was allowed to see her art. This is more than a mystery story. It is an insight into the lives of real characters. We are introduced to them and their good and not so good qualities. There are many potential suspects. And many jewels of wisdom from the characters.

Janeís painting Fair Day, submitted to an art show right before he death, is central to solving the crime.

ĎNow, I look at it and feel, like Henri, simply confused. The truth is I donít know whether Fair Day is a brilliant example of naive art, or the pathetic scrawling of a superbly untalented, and delusional, old woman. Thatís the tension. And thatís why it must be part of the show. I can guarantee you itís the one work people will be talking about in the cafes after the vernissage.í

I would give this novel 5 stars.
Rating: *****

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