by Louise Penny
publisher: Minotaur Books
finished reading: December 9, 2012
Back cover: 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.
My thoughts: This is one smartly written mystery. Not only did the story keep me guessing with the whodunit aspect, it engaged me thoroughly with the lives of the characters. I love it when a story brings me into its world so smoothly that I don't even realize how much I feel connected; not immediately. Every aspect felt plausible and the way the mystery was solved felt believable. The town, community and characters felt real.
Inspector Armand Gamache is an admirable character. I enjoyed every bit of his crime solving self. He is full of integrity and believability. I certainly gravitated towards this character and that excites me; I have found another character in this book world that engages me greatly. I am definitely a character driven reader, and this character is driving me to read more Armand Gamache mysteries. I seriously am plotting as to when I can start the next book...give me more Gamache mysteries...give me more.
Okay, it was not only Gamache that grabbed me so utterly but culture aspects did too. French Canadians - Quebec - intrigues me and I bet its because my daughter wants to move to Canada and study there for her university education. But what was even more intriguing was how the story brought in the differences between anglophone and francophone Quebecers. This American girl did not really know there are differences: attitudes and such.
Then, there was a character that I did not like much but am thoroughly intrigued. Yvette Nichol. What's up with her? Seriously. Will she be intertwined into more Gamache mystery stories? If so, I can think of several different ways this character could go and well...all the ways would be intriguing to me especially with her up against Gamache.
It took me a long time to finish this book. Not because of the story but because of me and my life getting in the way of reading time. But each time I picked up the book, I easily fell back into the story with comfort and the sense of being a welcomed guest. I know that's weird to say, but how else can I express the down to earth, real life feeling I felt.
Bottom line: The writing is truly superb; smart plot, believable characters with believable words and actions all woven together to deliver a fabulously packaged mystery. I love it and felt greatly satisfied.
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Book Cover: not diggin' the cover of my edition. It screams at me ...Still Life, boring life. This book is NOT boring at all.
Side notes: so yeah, I did not have much to specifically write. I so thoroughly enjoyed the story that scrutinizing and picking of details to support my like was far from my reading mind. I closed the book with a great sense of satisfaction and a deeply pleased sigh. I am excited to read the next installment and cannot wait to spend more time with Armand Gamache and his team. Still Life is definitely a book I would recommend for others to read. This girl loved the story and can point you towards a fantastically written review to persuade you to read the book if this particular "review" has not done so already. This is the review that convinced me to read Still Life; Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings - Still Life
* * I read this book in December 2012 and wrote my thoughts down immediately. I am finding that I am having great troubles actually cleaning up my drafted thoughts for actual posting, thus the delay. There are several read books with thoughts drafted that I have not posted, as of yet. My fictional reading has slowed down greatly so I am thinking my 2012 drafted thoughts will find their way to this blog, eventually.