Book Review – Still Life by Louise Penny

//“>Still Life, a must-read for lovers of murder mysteries sees the debut of Armand Gamache, the Québécois Chief Detective with the Sûreté du Québec. Gamache is passionate, intelligent, and human; One of the best detectives in crime fiction today.

A small quiet village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec is rattled by the murder of one of its own. It’s Armand Gamache’s job to uncover the dark secrets that lurk in the seemingly tranquil and picturesque village.

Louise Penny breaks the mould with Still Life book one of a 13-book series that is still going strong. Her characterization and setting description add to the beautiful and dark plot that takes the small town setting out of “cozy” and straight into “murder mystery”. Penny pens an intricate, many-faceted plot that leaves readers wanting more.

What I really liked about this book was the integration of French into the characters’ speech; I feel that it added realism to the story that not a lot of authors do. Another thing that I found interesting was how the author wove in the animosity between Francophone and Anglophone Canadians – not only in Quebec but in Canada in general. I found it both fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time.

One thing that I disliked about this otherwise lovely book was the constant changing of perspective. Many novels have different character point-of-views from chapter-to-chapter but Still Life seemed to change perspective from paragraph to paragraph which bogged down the story just a little. It probably would have been better had Ms. Penny introduced each character’s perspective in a new chapter.

Still Life is a delightful debut that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone looking for a new book. The way Louise Penny pulls the reader into her world is absolutely magical. Visiting the bistro, or old batty Ruth makes for an alluring and engaging read all around.


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