Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

by Louise Penny | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0312948557 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 8/29/2014
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, August 29, 2014
I recently read The Brutal Telling and enjoyed it very much, so when I came across this fair-condition copy of the first book in the series at the Book Cellar, I nabbed it.

I don't know if I'd have enjoyed this quite as much if I hadn't already become emotionally attached to so many of the main characters through The Brutal Telling, but I certainly appreciated seeing how the characters were introduced, including the way Gamache first came to Three Pines. [Given that the place is often described in-story as not on any map and very hard to find, an awful lot of people wind up stopping by {wry grin}.] I also found that some of the village characters, especially artists Peter and Clara Morrow, seem to be key players in this book as well as later ones; in fact, at times I wondered whether this might not be the "Clara Morrow" series almost as much as the "Inspector Gamache" series. Art, artists, and art critics are certainly key aspects of this plot, and so far have turned up in all the other books I've read in this series.

The book includes the now-familiar elements: many lovely descriptions of the Three Pines area, of the delicious foods served in Olivier's bistro, and of the mix of quirky characters, long-standing friendships, and occasional feuds. Oh, and it also introduces the troubled Agent Nichol, new to Gamache's team; we get to see her insecurities and, eventually, her disturbing inability to comprehend other people, and some even more distressing personality traits. (Gamache's second-in-command, the tightly-wound Jean Guy, worries that she's another example of Gamache's tendency to try and rescue the outsiders in the force - of whom Jean Guy was one himself.)

The mystery concerns the death-by-hunting-arrow of a woman who'd just had her first artwork accepted for a gallery showing. Was it an accident (and if so, why didn't the shooter step forward?) or murder (and if so, who could want this seemingly harmless woman dead?). There's a nasty relative, a small group of disruptive teens, and any number of hunters who may have been in the area... how to untangle this?

This book also introduces the "old Hadley house", which has unhappy memories for some characters even now, but which in later books grows to have a thoroughly evil reputation. (Despite all the ominous foreboding, I have to admit that the scenes of Clara trapped in that house - and the near-slapstick arrival of her would-be rescuers - were a mix of "awesome" and "hilarious".)

There are poignant looks at the trauma of the sudden loss of a friend, and the cost of secrets. Some people come out of the story in better shape than they went in (including young Philippe), while others may bear the scars for some time.

[There's a 2013 TV-movie based on this book.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Drum Hill Laundry, 1264 Westford St in Lowell, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Released 4 yrs ago (9/10/2014 UTC) at Drum Hill Laundry, 1264 Westford St in Lowell, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book on a bench in front of the laundromat at around 5; hope the finder enjoys it!

*** Released as part of the 2014 Movie release challenge. ***

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