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Publisher's Summary

The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines - a place so free from crime it doesn't even have its own police force. But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets....

Coming soon: Book 2 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Dead Cold. Winter in Three Pines, and the sleepy village is carpeted in snow. It's a time of peace and goodwill - until a scream pierces the biting air. A spectator at the annual Boxing Day curling match has been fatally electrocuted. Despite the large crowd, there are no witnesses and - apparently - no clues.

©2005 Louise Penny (P)2006 Isis Publishing Ltd

What listeners say about Still Life

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Magnificent

Enthralled from the very first chapter. Am now a fan of Gamache. Book 2 awaits, I am so excited.

5 people found this helpful

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Quirky writing but keeps you thinking..

Took a bit to get into the story but once I did it was entertaining. A bit "off the wall" but I'm now looking forward to the second in the series.

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Different, quirky

The plot was a pleasant departure from the norm. Though it started well, slow but steady, I felt towards the end the story got away from the author and we were left with some long winded explanations in order for the reader to believe what was happening.

I’m not interested in book2.

2 people found this helpful

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Ok, has potential

Ok, has potential, going to give the other books a go. I did like the narrator

1 person found this helpful

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Travel

2020 no travel, no exploring and unearthing adventures- what to do...

Loved the descriptions, the scene setting, the smells and the sounds. Being transported to this tiny village in Canada. Storyline different and compelling unlike the English mysteries I am normally drawn too.

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Opinion

quite enjoyed it. narrator adequate. Not sure about reading any others by the same author.

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Enjoyable character-driven murder-mystery!

Jane Neal is thrilled that her first submitted artwork has been accepted by the local arts group in the small Québécois village of Three Pines. When her body is found in the woods, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of Sûreté are puzzled why anyone would harm such a sweet old lady. This highly character-driven murder-mystery introduces Gamache and some members of his team, but mostly focuses on the vast cast of villagers and the large and small problems any murder investigation uncovers. It’s worth getting to know these villagers since most of the 16 books in the series are based in Three Pines with Gamache and his regional team visiting as needed. The tone here is mostly gentile with the murder adding melancholic notes. Listening to the audiobook I struggled with the large cast, but enjoyed Gamache’s style and village life so I’ll definitely return to this series. Audio narrator Adam Sims does great justice to the English and French accents and the characters.

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First rate

A thoroughly enjoyable story with vivid and colourful characters who are well defined and totally likeable. I learnt things. The story covered areas unfamiliar and bought me along for the ride. Now I want to visit Canada.

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WOW… and this is book one !?!

Thoroughly enjoyable tale of inhabitants, intrigue’s, self interest’s ignorance, insights making up village life.
Definitely looking forward to book two, thanks Louise :-)

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Has all the elements I love in a book.

Great mystery right to the end. Excellent descriptions of the artwork central to the narrative.

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  • bg
  • 28-03-2016

Worried for nothing!

I love this series and author dearly. But I was afraid to buy these in audiobook format as I couldn't have stood listening to the French get all mangled up. Thankfully the narrator made me feel right at home. I am very impressed and glad to know I can safely continue to purchase this series!

4 people found this helpful

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  • DIANE
  • 04-06-2014

Love Louise Penny's writing

I read Still Life out of order. I had already read a number of books in the Inspector Gamache series and decided that it was a good idea to go back and start from the beginning. One of the disappointing things about this decision was hearing the rendition by Adam Sims. Had I not heard Ralph Cosham's masterful rendition in later books, I would not have had anything to compare this book to. But I have, and Mr. Cosham brings something special to Ms. Penny's books that Mr. Sims was not able to accomplish, despite a good performance overall. As usual, this was a twisted, convoluted story that left the reader wondering "who dun nit" until quite far into the story. I just love the characters... especially Ruth Zardo.
This is a fascinating group of people and I will keep reading until I have caught up. Can't wait to read the new book!!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-04-2021

Brilliant Story-Telling

Louise Penny is a brilliant story-teller. She has mastered the balance between character development and plot. In this first installment of the Gamache series, she sets up all of the characters (and the village of Three Pines) for the remainder of the series! She pulls no punches! The narrator is great as well!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-09-2020

Captivating Murder Mystery

This book is so well written. Captivating and entertaining. Amazing character knowledge which brought them to life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-09-2020

Warm British-style mystery

As mentioned by other reviewers, this is a fun, character-driven story in the vein of the British murder-mystery canon. Smart and a good listen, if you're into that sub-genre, which I am.

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  • Melissa Rose
  • 27-08-2020

It was alright

After being recommended many, many times, I finally got around to reading Still Life by Louise Penny.

I have mixed feelings.

First, in terms of the negatives, I found that this book tended to be quite dry in its narrative; causing me to lose interest in the plot at times - needless to say, I had to press rewind on the audiobook more than a few times.

Additionally, I found that the author didn't make it much of a challenge to guess who the killer was, which was a bit disappointing.

As for the characters, I adored Inspector Gamache, as a detective, he seemed to be kind and fair - but was capable of sternness when needed.

Agent Nichol was a total and utter cow that drove me up the wall.

Finally, as a side note, I must add that I did learn a lot about bows, arrows, and hunting from this book, which was cool, it is always fun to finish a book feeling like you gained some new knowledge.

Overall, while Still Life failed to capture my entire interest, I found it a decent enough novel to give the series another chance.

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  • T. Trefan
  • 28-07-2020

the dullest detective story I've ever heard

i can't finish this. I've only 4 hours left and the story is so dry. the characters are flat and uninteresting. The mystery is only slightly interesting but the whole story is told in such a plodding and boring fashion i just can't be bothered to find out what happened.

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  • Susan Moore
  • 25-07-2017

Better the second time around.

I read this book first and then decided to listen to audio version several years later. While I actually enjoyed the story more the second time around, I did not enjoy the performance. I found the english/french versions of Gamache very distracting, irritating and unnecessary. I know Penny indicates that he speaks like a British royal in english, but I found the switch too jarring.

The story is wonderful. Penny has great storytelling ability. If you enjoy cozy mysteries then this series does not disappoint.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tammy Sheedy
  • 21-12-2015

Realistic and brilliant

Beautiful story of Life, and friendship. Very well written, narrator was brilliant. Slow beginning but then was sucked in, transfixed till the last word.

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  • angi4262
  • 27-08-2015

Loved it

So glad to find the beginning of a great series. I'll be looking up more!

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. L. G.
  • 11-07-2015

Great story spoiled by the narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This is the first in a wonderful series of books which I would recommend wholeheartedly to anyone. The village of Three Pines is a character in itself, the villagers who live there are 3 dimensional, engaging and flawed - being believably human. Despite the village setting, however, this is not a 'cosy' crime series. It is much darker and more profound than that.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Obviously Gamache, so fascinating! Ruth Zardo is also compelling. What I love about the characters is their wholeness - no-one is completely good or nice, no-one is completely awful or spiteful. Penny's characters are fully grown, complex adults and during the course of the series one becomes very attached to them.

What didn’t you like about Adam Sims’s performance?

Sadly, Adam Sims does not appear to have read the books before narrating them and therefore has no understanding of the characters. He makes the most basic mistake in giving Inspector Gamache a French accent for the first couple of chapters, then as he reads another character describing Gamache's British accent he changes it accordingly. This only lasts for a couple of chapters, however, before he's back to a French accent again. Most disappointing. His lack of knowledge of the characters really spoils things for me, rather than portray any complexity he makes most of them sound merely bad tempered.

Did Still Life inspire you to do anything?

I was inspired to read the rest of the series!

Any additional comments?

For £15 I expect a professional recording wherein mistakes are rectified rather than just ignored. When the book clearly describes the main character's British accent and the reader has given him a French accent surely someone in the recording studio could say "Oops, better do the first two chapters again."?

36 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine T
  • 08-02-2020

Adam Sims is a joy to listen to.

This is the second Louise Penny novel I've listened to and I have loved both of them. Adam Sims brings the characters to life and is a fabulously talented narrator.

Other people have commented on Sims switching between French Canadian and British accents when he is narrating for Inspector Gamache. THIS IS NOT A FLAW OF THE NARRATOR. If you read (or listened) closely, Inspector Gamache learned to speak English in England and therefore, when he speaks to English speaking characters in "English" he does so with a British accent. When he is speaking to French characters and therefore speaking "French" he is speaking with a French-Canadian accent.
I loved this aspect of the novel. It's a stroke of brilliance. Thank you Louise Penny for bringing such depth to your characters. Thank you to Adam Sims for bringing them to life.

This book and the rest of Louise Penny's books should go straight on your wish list.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anne
  • 15-04-2014

Enjoyable

Would you listen to Still Life again? Why?

Yes. I like the setting, characters & philosophical musings.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

The investigator in this series isn't a troubled man. He loves his wife and his colleagues and doesn't have too many issues with authority. Canada is beautifully evoked through landscape & characters. These are gentle, thoughtful books.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 18-10-2014

Keep with it - it's worth it!

I had to start this book 3 times as at first I just couldn't get into it. On one final try before I asked for a refund I understood the good reviews that I'd read. The characters really do have character, the story had enough twists and turns to keep me interested a and the narrator was really good. Will now be moving on to the second bookin the series.

8 people found this helpful

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  • L
  • 28-05-2015

Good story

I really enjoyed this book. The story is fun, the characters are quirky and the Inspector kind of reminded me of a Canadian Poirot. The narrator did a fantastic job and really bought the story and characters alive. Worth a listen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Cawley
  • 17-01-2015

Delightful

A sneaky peek into the life of French Canadians and the English who live in Québec. A who dunnit with a difference, a Chief Inspector with a difference and an insight into people that was surprising and welcome. I look forward to listening to the series as read by Adam Sims , who is a talented voice actor.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 01-02-2017

Brigadoon with Dead Bodies

Any additional comments?

Perhaps the best way to indicate what I thought of this book is to say that immediately after I finished it, I ordered the next book in the series.In some ways it's old fashioned: set in an Elysian village, the contemporary Canadian equivalent of St Mary Mead, so beloved of Miss Marple fans. When we were children, perhaps we yearned for ponies, or to be prima ballerinas or cowboys or astronauts: as adults, we long to live in villages like Three Pines, where bistro owners leap from their beds at dawn to dart from their kitchens and proffer freshly-baked croissants and flasks of cafe au lait; where there are archery clubs, and where famous artists and poets live; where people recite Auden at the dinner table and no-one thinks it odd; where you have to google a word before you realize that someone was swearing. The mist clears every hundred years or so, and there is Three Pines.In other respects, it's most definitely of our era. In its analysis of what moves people to act as they do in particular, it reflects contemporary psychology. Why do teenagers sometimes act like cave trolls, brutalizing the people who treat them most kindly and with the most tolerance? Why do some people gracefully accept the most appalling affronts whilst others seem unable to forgive the smallest rebuff? Even the use of the word "girl" as opposed to "woman" was subjected at one point to a surprisingly subtle analysis, which I'm still a little unsure about. Not many crime thrillers have the ability to drop passages into your head and leave them there to hatch/fester.Most importantly, it's a good yarn. After you've been led up plausible dead ends a couple of times, you realize that the author is an expert in laying a false trail and you settle back to enjoy the story.As other reviewers have commented, the narrator switches accents for the main character with hilarious results. At some points he is as English as Lord Peter Wimsey: at others, though I'm not entirely sure how a French Canadian accent differs from a French accent, he can definitely no longer be pictured in tweeds striding across a grouse moor. Once I had got used to this odd phenomenon, it became truly funny, and I found myself laughing out loud every time it happened. At first though, I was baffled, wondering if a) there were two different policemen or b) the one police officer adopted different accents according to whom he was with. A lot of us do that, don't we?

5 people found this helpful

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  • KBG
  • 05-01-2021

Spoiled by the narrator

Decent detective story but the narrator spoiled it for me. He made most characters sound bad tempered and switched character’s accent sometimes even mid paragraph. Disappointing

2 people found this helpful

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  • kilshanny cottage
  • 18-10-2020

Wow! What a ride!

I was recommended Louise Penny by my wife and sister and now I am completely hooked. From only a few pages in, I found myself accusing just about everyone of murder. The town of Three Pines would be a wonderful place to live.... until I got murdered of course. Enjoy!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Julia
  • 03-06-2021

I would like to recommend this book because:

I really liked the readers voice and interpretation of the characters from this book. He worked the material well I thought.
The story was good but I felt that the journey, of just about 2 weeks, was a little unrealistic. However it was still an entertaining listen and observation of lives.
I enjoyed the poetry references too.

1 person found this helpful

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