Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the first Chief Inspector Gamache novel. It is set in Quebec, Canada. I enjoyed that the French vs. English dynamic was included, but it was not over the top or a major part of the novel.
The mystery is the hunt for who killed Jane Neal, an older woman and life time resident of the village Three Pines. She is murdered the day after one of her paintings is accepted in a local art exhibit. You sort of know that the painting is why, but you don’t find out why that is until the very end. There are a few red herrings from the attack on a gay couple at the beginning of the book to Jane’s niece to the mystery of her oddly decorated house. In the end, it all comes together nicely.
I liked Gamache and Jean Guy Beauvoir and the other members of his team as well the residents of Three Pines. You come to know Three Pines. I’m not sure I really got to know Gamache, but this was the first book. The only thing that really puzzled me was the role of Agent Nichol, basically an intern on her first case as an Inspector with Gamache’s team. He’s apparently the go-to guy for training. She starts out likeable and then in the end she’s persona non-grata. It appeared she understood nothing of what Gamache was trying to tell her and it was hard for me to believe that she was that dense. I wasn’t sure of her character’s purpose as she really didn’t add anything to story unless it was to show that Gamache didn’t always excel.
Overall, the mystery was well done as were the characters; a better than average cozy mystery. I will most likely read other books in the series.
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