Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
After I read "How the Light Gets In" recently, I was inspired to go back to the beginning of Louise Penny's wonderful series about Chief Inspector Gamache, his agents of the Surete', and the charming village of Three Pines, with its idiosyncratic residents. "Still Life" introduces Gamache and his agents to the Three Pines inhabitants, and introduces all of them to the reader. I had read Still Life several times over the years since it first came out, and each time I saw more and more things to wonder at and to in admire Louise Penny's writing. This time, hearing the novel narrated by Ralph Cosham, I gained another perspective on a good story written by a superior writer.
To my view, what makes the Gamache series unique, and oh so wonderful, is the way in which Penny takes time to explore the inner viewpoint of each and every character over the course of the books. And, of course, the most complete exploration of character is that of Gamache. Each book, starting with this one, increases and expands our knowledge of him, his beliefs, motivations, and above all, his gentleness and kindness. Ralph Cosham has become Gamache for me, with exactly the voice, deliberation, mildness and steel that Louise Penny has created with her words.
If you've never read Louise Penny's books, I urge you to do so, and to start with Still Life. In order to really get the full impact of the evolution of these characters, you need to read these books in chronological order.
Highly, highly recommended!
I listen while I paint- classic or modern mysteries, true adventure, & books that inspire or motivate
This is where it all started--book 1 of 8 so far. Number 9 is due out next month, in August.
These are intelligent mysteries, with life lessons in every book-- an added bonus of educating and entertaining at the same time. For that reason I would not call these strictly "cozy" mysteries, (NOT Miss Marple) although there are no gun fights or car chases--so if you look for that type of adventure this would not be something you would enjoy.
Since this was the first book in the series, it was not the best-although still very good-but that is to be expected sometimes with an author's first attempt. However, each new mystery gets better--so I would suggest sticking with it--you won't be disappointed. Also, I think it is important to read them in order as there is a progression of story lines with several of the characters.
Still Life introduces us to the characters of Three Pines, a little village in the countryside of Quebec. Clara and Peter Marrow are the local artists (Peter actually selling his works and Clara storing most of hers in the cellar.) Ruth Zardo is the irritable, elderly poet who loves to drink, and is known as one of the most brilliant poets in Canada. Olivier and Gabri are the owners of the B&B and Bistro which is where everyone gathers for local gossip and good meals. Myrna, who owns the local bookstore, gave up her practice as a psychologist to live in a more peaceful environment. She explains how the book gets it's name--some of her prior clients were people who led "still lives" - always waiting for someone else to come along and make everything ok. They never progressed or got better because they didn't want to--gave them all sorts of excuses not to take care of their own problems.
There are many more residents who are part of the stories, and who come and go throughout the series. All of them unique and brought skillfully to life by the author.
The Story: Jane Neal, a sweet woman of 70+ who has lived in the area since she was a child, has been found face down in the woods, shot through the heart with an arrow--but since it is hunting season, no one knows if it is an accident or not. The famed Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is brought in to investigate from Montreal with his team of top homicide agents. C.I. Gamache is a man who people like to know. He's strong without being overbearing, and has a warmth and kindness about him- always being respectful while never leaving anyone with the idea that he is a pushover. He gets the job done.
One last thing--the narrator is the Perfect voice for these characters. Especially for the charismatic C.I. Gamache.
I love books!
First time author for me, suggested by audible. A crime procedural mystery where the author builds a good mystery and throughout the book you are made to feel there are multiple possibilities as to "whodunit". An interesting aspect to this book is that it was set in a small village outside of Montreal. If you have no experience with Montreal you aren't aware that even today there are differences between the native French and English speakers of that area, this book pointed some of it out and made it more interesting. The book was entertaining and I will check out more of this author, Louise Penny. This was the first book in this series. I've read where it's being made into a tv movie that will be out this year, 2013.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
As a longtime mystery lover, I was so excited to "discover" this series. I have come to love the inspector, the people of Three Pines, and Canada! The narrator of all the books adds a lot, for, although I read this book in print form, I have since gone straight to Audible when a new one comes out. Try Louise Penny if you like "cozy" mysteries. The series is a gem.
We are introduced to a group of characters, living in a quaint little town, connected by friendships from birth. One of the villagers murdered the beloved retired school teacher. She had a secret that would expose something about one of them, and was about to reveal it.
It's a calm murder mystery, that slowly unravels as we delve into the life of each character. The story seemed slow at first to me, then as I learned more and more of each character, I was intrigued to find out their secrets. The murder victim tells us much about this group from the grave.
It's an interesting story, but don't expect an action thriller murder mystery. The inspector
and his colleagues slowly compile the evidence, mainly through conversing with the townspeople, until the murderer becomes evident.
Not my ususal crime listen, but a nice change.
This was the first in the series that i've listened to and i definitely enjoyed it. Good characters that you want to know, and a good mystery. Kind of small town feel to it, even tho the main detective is from the city, but the setting made you wish you could visit. I'll try more in the series.
I prefer intelligent, complex stories with deeply developed characters. I'm not a fan of most popular novels; my taste is more eccentric.
I bought this title on an impulse and I wasn't disappointed. The characters are so well developed and I was instantly pulled in. Not only is the story entertaining, the setting beautifully described, and the mystery compelling, but it is full of wisdom and truths about human nature. I found myself reflecting on my own life and the words of the character Inspector Gamache. Also, the poetry of character Ruth Zardo is amazing. I love these books!!!
I began with "The Brutal Telling"--the 5th novel in the series, and was so enriched by it I am now listening to all the books in the series. In fact, I bought some of the paperbacks so I could read them again more slowly, because this is work to be savored. I really don't care whether I'm at the beginning or end of the story...each page has that much life in it!
I love the artist characters and their creative processes and dilemmas. And the poet, and the gay characters. In fact, the whole village, not to mention the great soul Gamache. The writing shows deep kindness and respect for individuality. I read and loved all of Dorothy Sayers' novels years ago, and feel that Louise Penny has surpassed her--brought her up to date, really.
The narrator took some getting used to. He gives every sentence so much weight that the humor gets a little lost. But his voice is very listenable and now that I'm used to it I enjoy it. And it's good to hear French spoken. My one year of French finally kicked in and I began to understand what I was hearing.
If you want a mystery that will enrich your soul, read these novels!