Still Life (Penny)

Book Reviews
Like her neighbors in the picturesque Canadian village of Three Pines, the dear old thing had hidden depths, courtesy of an author whose deceptively simple style masks the complex patterns of a well-devised plot—rather like the subtle designs of Jane’s "primitive" pictures. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, who is as bemused as we are by life in Three Pines, has the wit and insight to look well beyond its idyllic surface.
Marilyn Stasio - New York Times


It’s hard to decide what provides the most pleasure in this enjoyable book: Gamache, a shrewd and kindly man constantly surprised by homicide; the village, which sounds at first like an ideal place to escape from civilization; or the clever and carefully constructed plot.
Chicago Tribune


(Starred review.) Canadian Penny's terrific first novel, which was the runner-up for the CWA's Debut Dagger Award in 2004, introduces Armand Gamache of the Sorete du Quebec. When the body of Jane Neal, a middle-aged artist, is found near a woodland trail used by deer hunters outside the village of Three Pines, it appears she's the victim of a hunting accident. Summoned to the scene, Gamache, an appealingly competent senior homicide investigator, soon determines that the woman was most likely murdered. Like a virtuoso, Penny plays a complex variation on the theme of the clue hidden in plain sight. She deftly uses the bilingual, bicultural aspect of Quebecois life as well as arcane aspects of archery and art to deepen her narrative. Memorable characters include Jane; Jane's shallow niece, Yolande; and a delightful gay couple, Olivier and Gabri. Filled with unexpected insights, this winning traditional mystery sets a solid foundation for future entries in the series.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) This is a real gem of a book that slowly draws the reader into a beautifully told, lyrically written story of love, life, friendship, and tragedy. And it's a pretty darn good mystery too. This belongs in the same league with such other outstanding Canadian mysteries as Eric Wright's Charlie Salter series. —Emily Melton
Booklist


Cerebral, wise and compassionate, Gamache is destined for stardom. Don’t miss this stellar debut.
Kirkus Reviews

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