Review Room

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Audiobook Review : Still life by Louise Penny

Written By: amodini - Jun• 14•17

Title : Still Life
Series : Inspector Gamache (Book 1)
Author : Louise Penny
Narrators : Ralph Cosham
Genre : Mystery
Publisher : Blackstone Audio
Listening Length : 9 hours 37 minutes
Rating : 4.5/5
Narrator Rating : 4.5/5

In the small village of Three Pines, Montreal, a woman has been found dead, shot by an arrow. Jane Neal, a painter of uncertain regard, was on the brink of showing her first painting at the village art show. Her friends mourn the accident, but Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete de Quebec thinks it willful murder.

I’m always floored by authors who do their descriptions and characters well. And I’m floored now. Penny has a way with words. Her characters are nicely fleshed out, seem real and consistent. Inspector Gamache is a wonderful hero. He isn’t as quirky or as flamboyant as Agatha Christie’s Poirot, but he does have his own quiet thoughtful ways, and is remarkably keen and perceptive. He is also just and firm, and fair-minded, which makes him a very easy protagonist to like. I feel like I know him well. In my mind’s eye I could almost picture him, or the actor that would play him were this book to turn into a film.

The mystery is also well-crafted, and logical. Penny sets a nice pace, springing surprises and introducing doubt and red herrings along the way. The end when it came, seemed a reasonable denouement, although I couldn’t have seen it coming. I was completely engrossed.

Narrator Cosham is remarkable. His audio performance exhibits a restraint and dignity of manner, qualities I imagine Gamache would possess. His narration helped me picture the village and its inhabitants better – and what better compliment for a narrator than that?

It is a relief after wading through much-hyped books which promise but do not deliver, to find a book as good as this one. Its been a while since I enjoyed a mystery this much. And it gets better – this is the first of a series of books, presumably all just as excellent. I’m literally rubbing my hands with glee in anticipation of all the glorious Inspector Gamache mysteries I have in store for me.

Needless to say, this book is highly recommended.

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