Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of investigators are called to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods on Thanksgiving morning. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…
For those of you who don’t know, Louise Penny is a thing. I believe there are fourteen books in the Chief Inspector series. She has scores of followers who call themselves “Penny Pushers.”
I had not heard of her before I joined this online community of book lovers but some of my new friends are just crazy about her (especially Madeleine over at Top Shelf Text). So a group of us decided November was the month for us to dive into Still Life, the first novel in this series.
This was a wholly pleasing murder mystery. It started a little slowly; I personally took a few chapter to figure out why I was supposed to care about the death of this old woman. However, each of the characters in the town grew on me. Penny writes imperfect characters; it’s not as black and white as murderer vs. not-murderer. And I enjoyed that.
My one complaint is that I guessed who the killer was quite early on. Not because they were mentioned acting suspiciously, for exactly the opposite reason: they were frequently mentioned with no clear reason. Suspicion was cast on nearly everyone else.
I’ll certainly read the second book, but will take a brief interlude. At this rate, it could take me over a year to finish this series, but I don’t mind that. I’m interested to see how this could possibly continue for fourteen books, as the murderer to town population ratio must have to be quite slim.
If you’re looking for a cozy mystery to curl up and read this winter, Still Life is for you. Buy it here on Amazon or pick it up at your local independent bookstore.