Published January 2005
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1
When I finished this book, Detective Gamache became, hands down, one of my new favorite characters in the literary world. He is intelligent, wise, moral, and a great leader. I loved how much his team of detectives looked to him for guidance. He radiated this kind authority through the pages, that left me in awe.
“Life is choice. All day, everyday. Who we talk to, where we sit, what we say, how we say it. And our lives become defined by our choices. It’s as simple and as complex as that. And as powerful. so when I’m observing that’s what I’m watching for. The choices people make.”
Louis Penny took such care with the writing and shaping of all of her characters though, not just the Chief Inspector. No one was left underdeveloped, and everyone seemed had a purpose. While some of the characters seemed a little cliche, or exaggerated to paint a more vivid picture, for the most part, everyone was life like. The quirks and uniqueness of all the townspeople of Three Pines served to drive the plot ever forward, with no lull in the plot pace to even better describe the setting. As even the minor characters were flushed out to some extent, I felt like I knew even Jane Neal intimately, even though she was dead the entirety of the novel.
The only problem with this eccentric cast of characters was that there were quite a few of them. I found myself flipping back through previous pages to make sure that I was thinking of the right person when I was reading about another. But that is a small complaint in a sea of happiness.
I cannot believe there are ten more of these to go. I love starting a series that I don’t feel pressured to plow through and finish immediatel. With these types of stories, it is just lovely to know that whenever I am looking for a great detective or police procedural novel to satiate my lust for justice, there will be a good reserve of Louise Penny books I can fall back onto.
I really enjoyed Still Life. It was not a roller coaster of emotion, it was just a steady mystery and the path in solving it. While the actual killer seemed a little far fetched, overall the book was a fun and interesting read. I am most certainly looking forward to spending a little more time with Chief Inspector Gamache.