Still Life

Still Life

Audiobook CD - 2006
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Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of investigators are called into 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 its a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that JaneNeal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter
Publisher: Ashland, OR : Blackstone Audio, 2006.
ISBN: 9780786171422
0786171421
Branch Call Number: AUDIOBK CD M PENNY L
Characteristics: 8 audio discs (approximately 9 hr., 30 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Cosham, Ralph

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s
susanchyn
Jun 17, 2017

The Origin Myth of Gamache and the habitants de Three Pines.

Worth reading, not so much for its inherent quality, as for the workings of an author in search of characters and settings, all of which later emerge in their full glory.

The writing in this first tale is uneven in quality—at times, heavy handed and even (oh no!) pretentious as we are hammered with W.H. Auden and Matthew 10:36. The characters, over-written (especially, Agent Nichol). Although I must say that Ruth emerges from the womb in great form! Her poetry, her perverse and often very funny snarkiness.

A reader can learn a lot about archery and bow hunting and “primitive,” naïve Canadian folk art.

a
arjuna
May 15, 2015

This book is set in Loyalist anglophone Eastern Townships. Its a good start to a good series which I am going through a second time in order.
I cannot believe some of the readers mistakes. It is distracting to hear him call toques, tokes. In a later book Rocket Richard is pronounced like King Richard. It would have been better to have an anglophone quebec reader.

b
becker
Nov 16, 2014

For me, a comfort read is listening to one of the Inspector Gamche books narrated by Ralph Cosham. Although this particular title wasn't one of my favourites in the series, it was still so nice to spend time in Three Pines, Quebec. Like visiting old friends.

librarylizzard Sep 15, 2014

I recently listened to a later book in this series and wanted to start from the beginning. The story is set in the picturesque Quebec village of Three Pines, and many of the villagers reappear in later books. Penny's mysteries are fresh, exciting and full of twists. The reader is able to follow along and do their own detective work, though it's never too easy to unravel every nuance of the case. She has hooked me and I can't wait to read more!

l
LauraSteinert
Jul 14, 2014

Once you start reading Louise Penny, you must read the entire series.

I love Gamache and Beauvoir. They can break your heart--and nearly break each others' in the books to come. The more you come to know Ruth, the more you love her--hard to imagine, but it is true. Clara eventually stops lying to herself, and life and death touch each person in the village at different times. We get to know each of the villagers a little more in each book, and the lives of Gamache's people slowly unfold--and get infinitely more complicated.

Once you have completed this series, an excellent change of scene with the same moving interpersonal and internal struggles, set in South Africa in the 1950's is by Malla Nunn.

j
jocasey
Feb 21, 2014

I think this author was finding her voice in this book, the first in a series, but I really found myself liking the village characters and Inspector Gamache a lot. I really liked the blunt dialog between the friends - it made me laugh. I think that Penny has promise and so does Gamache. I have no idea about the cultural niceties because I have no knowledge/experience with those between the French and English in Quebec, but I thought it was mostly believable. The one thing I remember was thinking that it was a little unbelievable that the "bad guy" hid his evilness from his closest friends for so long... but they always say "he was such a nice man" don't they? Also, once I got past the somewhat monotone quality of the narrator, I began to really enjoy his rather quiet style - looking forward to the next book!

r
rene1951
Nov 15, 2013

I lived 6 years in rural quebec, about 80 kilometers from here. this town does not feel right: Not enougth , implied, French. Local used book store as a wide assortment of English language English mysteries,: no mention, 95% probality,. that they are translations. In a population of 3-5000, there was 2 persons fluent enough; 40 years ago to read a novel in the original English, the other being the English teacher at the local high school. Now there might be a few more because of the Internet and the social media, mostly very basic .

f
FVReader
Sep 01, 2013

I really enjoyed getting to know Chief Inspector Gamache, his crew and the people of Three Pines. This is the first of a series that, I'm guessing, is going to be very character-driven (something I really enjoy). I'm looking forward to continuing with the series.
Throughout this book, the reader is kept guessing. At some point throughout the book, the murderer could be almost anyone. There are red herrings galore, warm & loveable characters, problems & hurts below the surface. There's friendship, loyalty, honesty as well. The people of Three Pines are warm and flawed.

b
billmacrotarian
Feb 10, 2013

Still Life is the first in the Armand Gamache mystery series set in the fictional village of Three Pines in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Inspector Gamache is called from Montreal on Thanksgiving to investigate an apparent hunting accident. Gamache is reminiscent of P.D. James’ Adam Dalgleish or Elizabeth George’s Thomas Lynley in that he is courteous because he chooses to be but don’t take it as a sign of weakness. For Gamache it’s a slow move from accident to murder but it does move. Penny spends considerable time developing some of the characters although not enough to reveal the murderer before it’s time. The results are uneven but it’s a good start to a series that has gained in popularity since Still Life’s release.

g
GailRoger
May 23, 2012

I think I'd have given this four stars if I'd read the book instead of listening to it. Not that I have anything against Ralph Cosham as a narrator -- he's been haunting me for the past six months, showing up as the reader of Watership Down and The Woman in Black.

The thing is, those are both British books, and Still Life is a Canadian novel set in a small town outside of Montreal. There are no shortage of English accents in Canada; I grew up surrounded by them, but there are no such accents in Still Life; the characters are all anglophone and francophone Quebeckers. Come to think of it, I had similar problems with a collection of Alice Munro's short stories read by an American reader. Canadians do pronounce words differently, no matter what non-Canadians think.

Cosham's accent wraps itself awkwardly around the colloquialisms in both languages (his bio says he speaks French, but evidently not Quebecois French), and robs some of the funnier bits of their humour. Please understand, he's won awards for book narration and deservedly so, but he is ill-suited for this book. Would you enjoy a British audiobook read by an American, French, or Spanish reader? Wouldn't you find it distracting?

In spite of these reservations, I quite liked the style and plot of this mystery, even though I'm not an unreserved fan of the genre, and look forward to reading more of Louise Penny's books. Reading them, not listening to them. (Sorry, Mr Cosham; I'm sure I'll enjoy your renditions of other British works, just as I have in the past.)

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PimaLib_SamR Mar 07, 2016

...life is choice. All day, every day. 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.

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