My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Still Life is Louise Penny's debut novel and introduces Chief Inspector Armand Gamache from the Surete de Quebec. He is an intelligent, highly literate, and confident man who believes in teamwork and collaboration. He is sent to the small village of Three Pines, a village so small that it doesn't appear on maps. to investigate the mysterious death of Jane Neal, the retired village school teacher. Three Pines is a very close-knit, friendly community where doors are always unlocked, and everybody knows everybody else's business. Despite its closeness, it's an open and welcoming community; its leading citizens include Olivier and Gabri, gay B&B owners, a famous angry feminist Canadian poet, a set of bohemian artists, and a black woman who gave up a lucrative psychiatric practice to run a used bookstore. Who would want to murder a well-loved neighbor? That is the puzzle facing Gamache. He reminds me a bit of Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. He uses his innate knowledge of human nature as well as well as forensic evidence to solve the puzzle. As he ferrets out his evidence, he mentors the members of his usual team, as well as a very unsatisfactory new agent. I really enjoyed the start of a new series, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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