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Still Life: Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 1 | [Louise Penny]

Still Life: Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 1

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

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.

©2005 Louise Penny (P)2006 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (783 )
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  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 12-09-14
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 12-09-14 Member Since 2015

    How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Remarkable Detective In A Remarkable Setting"

    I admit to trying this book and this series after going some time without any new additions from my favorite authors. It has proven to be a wise and wonderful decision. As of this writing I am on my 3rd Gamache novel. Let me tell you why I have fallen in love with the series.

    Inspector Gamache is a smart and extremely humane hero. He doesn't have flaws or demons like Robicheaux or Hole, but he does share their extreme sensitivity in crime solving. And unlike those two great detectives, he doesn't resort to violence, or at least he hasn't been forced to yet. What sets him apart is the absolute devotion he receives from his peers and everyone he meets. His squad loves him, the community loves him and even his enemies respect and fear him.

    The second feature I love is the setting. the village of Three Pines is quite literally a real life version of Narnia. It's filled with young and old living in cottages nestled in hillsides with one church, a general store and tavern. It is described on several occasions as a village no one finds until they are lost. It is never a destination, but once you've found it you'll never forget it. There's even a rundown mansion of sorts. The villagers are more like a family, in that they get along because they have too. They are rude, cantankerous, funny, diverse, talented and charismatic. There are poets, artists, drunks, gurus, Christians and atheists. In much the same way I felt when I read the Chronicles of Narnia, I find myself engrossed in the community of Three Pines.

    Finally Still Life revolves around a baffling murder that takes great police work to solve. The clues are entirely unique and wonderful to discover. The story is top notch.

    I liked the narrator a lot. He captures the ambience of Thrre Pines as well as anyone could.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 09-11-14
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 09-11-14 Member Since 2015

    retired writer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Easy Listen...."

    I like listening to Ralph Cosham. Generally, he uses a calm tone and use increased tension and excitement in his voices when needed. For me, his voice makes the novel easy to listen to for 9.5 hours of narration. It is character development and personality quirks that help him to distinguish his voice for each character.

    I did not read Book 1 first.. I read three of the novels before reading this story (book 1) and I have three or four more books in the series to go. So far, all the stories have held my interest throughout, however, I would strongly suggest reading this series in order if possible which will help the listener appreciate and fully understand the back stories that are referred to in each story.

    What I've found is that Ms. Penny builds each novel upon the previous story in some way. Yes, I have had to "suspend my disbelief" a little too much but I think the stories give me what I am after and that is a good whodunit while transporting me to another place even if its a fantasy/made up place. Three Pines is described so well that I feel that I could find it. Character development is very good, you get to know the reoccurring characters very well.

    In addition to the whodunit aspect which has good twists and turns, there are mystical and otherworldly undertones in this little village where everybody knows everybody and it's become a second home for investigator Armand Gamache.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-13-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Quaint Village Caper"

    This is a story of a police inspector investigating a death in a small Canadian town. It reminds me of the Mrs. Pollifax and Cat Who series in that regard, but instead of a citizen investigator there is a police presence. The book is easy to follow when multitasking, but layered enough to be interesting. The investigators have varying dynamics and capabilities that are more developed than the personalities of the townsfolk. I think the series would be great for entertainment during travel.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik L. 10-22-14
    Erik L. 10-22-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Masterfully written & read!"
    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I both laughed out loud and cried as I listened. I loved it!


    Any additional comments?

    As a former police detective, I find the story less contrived, more real than most.The author's use of metaphor is captivating, magical, wonderful! I have the impression that each word was chosen with precision and care. L. Penny leaves me in awe.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tanya 10-10-14
    Tanya 10-10-14
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    "Incredible book!"
    Where does Still Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The best book I've read, and the best audiobook I've listened to!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Inspector Gamache is just a lovely person, and then I adore Clara as well.


    What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ralph brings the whole story to life - I am now reading the second book in the Inspector Gamache series, but without the audio book to complement it there is a distinct difference in the feel of the 2nd book. I really do prefer reading the e-book, whilst at the same time listening to the audio book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, definitely!


    Any additional comments?

    Incredibly gifted author - I am planning on reading every single one of her books!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Arel 09-20-14
    Linda Arel 09-20-14
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    "Very engaging!"
    Where does Still Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It was my first audiobook.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Still Life?

    I liked the part when they finally got to see Jane's living room and then later discovered the paintings she did that had been covered over with wallpaper.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    His ability to speak both French and English made the story flow very nicely.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes!


    Any additional comments?

    The character development was excellent overall.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    meg rye brook, NY, United States 08-05-14
    meg rye brook, NY, United States 08-05-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Great new series"
    Any additional comments?

    So nice to have books with recurring characters seeing the newest one advertised on audible made me get the first one and i have the others ready to read

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline 07-25-14
    Caroline 07-25-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Pretty good"
    Where does Still Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's not the best but not nearly the worst. I liked it enough to get the second in the series, which has already picked up my interest (far faster than Still Life).

    Gamache is NO Poirot, that is for sure. But he's still pretty ok. :)


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Still Life?

    When we find out what's behind the wallpaper in Jane's house

    And pretty much anything to do with Three Pines. Those were the most vivid descriptions in the book. Three Pines is what made me come back for the second book in the series.


    Have you listened to any of Ralph Cosham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Nope, aside from the second of this series I'm listening to now. The narrator's voice kind of bugs me.


    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 01-16-15
    Alex 01-16-15
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    "A rare find"

    I took a flier on this book based on another reviewer (the indefatigable Charles Atkinson), and am glad I did. Penny's writing style reminds me of P.D. James, about as high a compliment I can pay. The characters are well-crafted, interesting and varied, making actual people seem like cardboard cutouts. It almost doesn't matter if nothing happens.

    But stuff does happen. The plot is just as well crafted, and I never get the sense that things run to formula. I love a good mystery, so it's a real treat when I'm both carried along with the story and surprised by each new scene.

    If I have one criticism it's that, like James, Penny creates great suspense and anticipation and then lets the air out of the climax a little bit rather than giving the reader the full payoff of the reveal. I guess I'm a sucker for the the drawing room revelation. And in fairness, she isn't quite the party-pooper James is in that regard.

    In short, I'll probably binge on every word Penny's ever scrawled until I've plowed through the entire lot. It's that good.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Jensen 03-08-15 Member Since 2011
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    "loved it !"

    totally enjoyable in every way. the characters are fully developed and delightful. the narrator is Perfect! will listen to all of the inspector Gamache series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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