Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review: Still Life by Louise Penny

✰✰✰✰ Three Pines is a quaint little town south of Montreal where no one ever locks their doors at night. Well, no one does, that is, until retired school teacher Jane Neal is found dead in the woods on Thanksgiving Sunday. At first it looks like a hunting accident gone wrong, but upon closer inspection there is more to her death than at first appears.

The case falls under the jurisdiction of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, who arrives with his team to investigate the suspicious death. As he digs deeper into Jane Neal's death, the secrets of this sleepy little town begin to unravel much to the dismay of the villagers. The twists and turns of this complicated mystery keep everyone guessing right up until the surprising ending.

Still Life is the first in a series of mysteries featuring Three Pines and Inspector Gamache. I received it as a gift from my Secret Santa at LibraryThing, and I'm glad that I did. I'll definitely have to pick up the rest of the series.

The Bottom Line: Still Life is written in the tradition of an Agatha Christie mystery. While it does have a slow start, it succeeds in drawing you in until you can't put it down. It's easy to see why Still Life made a splash at the CWA Debut Dagger in 2004. Not only is it a fabulous mystery with its layer upon layer of clues and symbols, but it's also a literary treat. The quirky characters are lots of fun too. Highly recommended for mystery buffs.

Details: Still Life by Louise Penny. Paperback published by St. Martin's Paperbacks in 2007. 336 p. ISBN: 978-0-312-94855-9

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