Still Life by Louise Penny
Series: #1 in the Inspector Armand Gamache series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2005
Read by: Ralph Cosham
Source: Library

I’ve had this series on my radar for a while now, but when I discovered it was available on CD from my library, decided that I’d try the audio version. I was very glad I did and plan to continue the series in this format.

Three Pines is a small sleepy village outside of Montreal. On an early October Sunday morning (the day before Thanksgiving in Canada), a local woman is found dead in the woods. Inspector Armand Gamache is called in from Montreal to investigate. While at first, Jane Neal’s death appears to be a tragic hunting accident, it’s soon clear that this investigation is going to be more complex. There are many characters introduced. A mix of interesting locals in Three Pines with intertwined histories and relationships make the suspect pool a large one. Inspector Gamache and his able (and in one case, not so able) team make for an interesting group of investigators.

Since the series continues in Three Pines, I’m presuming that many of the villagers, as well as some of the investigators will be recurring characters. Nevertheless, I was kept guessing as to the outcome of the investigation. I thought this was a well done and entertaining mystery. It’s not exactly a cozy since there are actual police investigating the crime, but the location in the village and Inspector Gamache’s personality and approach make me want to classify this as a ‘gentle mystery’. Not bloody and gory, but more character story than fast paced action.

I’m looking forward to continuing with this series and will likely continue with the audio format. Inspector Gamache is a great character who has his flaws, but also has a dedication to his job and to teaching the next generation of investigators. His patience and frustration with a young investigator on the case made for an interesting side element to the primary mystery.

This is the first book I’ve listened to that’s read by Ralph Cosham. I liked his reading a lot. He’s got a perfect voice for Inspector Gamache and does the rest of the story and characters very well.

It was pure coincidence that while in the process listening to this story taking place on and around Thanksgiving Day in Canada that I spent this past weekend in Victoria, BC enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with friends.

Rating 4/5