Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Still Life by Louise Penny

Still Life (Armand Gamache Series #1)Still Life. Finished 9-1-13, rating 4.5/5, mystery, 312 pages, pub. 2005

Book 1 in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series.

I made a small 2013 reading list based on other blogger’s best-of lists and whether I had the book or not (here). Still Life was on Staci’s 2012 list and I can see why.  I am really anxious to get my hands on the next one on the series. Thanks for the recommendation, Staci! I’m guessing this will end up one of my favorites of the year too.

Is this is a cozy mystery? Yes, but it’s one with that thing that makes it extra special.  To me, that means it never turns into classic caricatures following the same whodunit script.  The characters were real, even if some still have their secrets.  That can only be a good thing as the series continues.

Chief Inspector Gamache is a well-respected detected up in the Montreal area.  He is caring, thoughtful, patient, insightful, a bit of a rebel, a teacher and he gets the job done.  This was not his first case, he’s been around the block a few times and I loved that it felt like I was meeting a fully developed character, not just the bare bones version that sometimes happens in the first book of a new series.

The people of Three Pines are a varied collection of characters and I was fully invested in Jane  even though she died on the first page because of the way her friends saw her.  They loved her and that made me love her. I’m actually sad that she won’t be around for the next book!

It did take me a little while to get used to the writing style.  My eyes often had to drift back or forward to figure out who was talking, but once I got it I was hooked and I couldn’t put it down until I knew who had killed Jane.  And there were no shortage of suspects, even to the very end.

Highly recommend to every mystery lover.

This was from my own library.

September 5, 2013 - Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | ,


  1. I don’t think I’ve heard a bad thing about Penny’s writing. I have a couple of her books around here and need to make the time to read one.

    Comment by BermudaOnion | September 6, 2013 | Reply

  2. I’ve heard such good things about this series! It is just so daunting to start a new one. But it is on my someday list. I just started Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffrey series and I am so addicted to it. It is so much fun to explore new characters.

    Comment by sandynawrot | September 6, 2013 | Reply

  3. Glad you enjoyed it. This series is one of my favorites and it just keeps getting better from that first one.

    Comment by Carol | September 6, 2013 | Reply

  4. I really like Louise Penny’s writing. Did you know that her new novel is set to debut at #1 on the NYT list on Sept 15th? I’m so thrilled for her.

    Comment by Beth Hoffman | September 6, 2013 | Reply

  5. I enjoyed your review. This sounds like a wonderful book.

    Comment by Pat @ Posting For Now | September 7, 2013 | Reply

  6. I read this one years ago now, but I still haven’t made it to the next book(s) yet, alas!

    Comment by Word Lily | September 7, 2013 | Reply

  7. I am dying to get ahold of her new book, and I want to read this one too.

    Comment by harvee | September 7, 2013 | Reply

  8. I need to read Penny. This sounds like a great place to start!

    Comment by lakesidemusing | September 7, 2013 | Reply

  9. Oh this one does sound like a great read and what a fantastic idea to put together a top bloggers recommended list! thanks for sharing!

    Comment by thenovellife1 | September 7, 2013 | Reply

  10. Yay! I’m glad you thought this was a success! This series will probably bring you many hours of enjoyment (not like the other one I just commented on!). Unlike me, most people LOVE this series. I can count on a good read and really enjoy it, but I don’t love it. My lowest rating was a 2.5/5 (only one out of 8 or 9) and the rest have been 3.5/5 and above.

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | September 15, 2013 | Reply

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