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Still Life

A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Chief Inspector Gamache Novel: Book #1
By Louise Penny
Narrated by Ralph Cosham / 9 hours 35 minutes

When it comes to murder, you have to see the forest for the trees.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter. Still Life introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces---and this series---with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.

Made into a 2013 TV movie (Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery), this story will move readers, listeners, and viewers alike.

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Still Life is a masterpiece of a traditional drawing room mystery, repainted in the autumnal colors of the Canadian countryside. Louise Penny is a storytelling artist.”

Julia Spencer-Fleming, Author of numerous mystery fiction novels

“A gem of a debut novel—clever, charming, with perceptively realized characters…and the enormously appealing Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. I can’t wait for the next installment.”

Deborah Crombie, Author of the Kincaid and James mystery series

“An excellent, subtle plot full of understanding of the deeper places in human nature, and many wise observations that will enrich the reader long after the pages are closed.”

Anne Perry, Author of numerous historical detective fiction novels

About the Author

Louise Penny is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.


“Besides being an engrossing detective story, Still Life is a psychological study of the lives of Penny's complex characters—their friendships, insecurities, loves, hates, and regrets—and people are not always what they seem. The book is expertly narrated by Ralph Cosham, who imbues the characters with depth and emotion.”

Library Journal

“Reflecting Gamache’s approach, the novel is one of conversations and reflections. We get to know the villagers and the detectives as people, not just as pieces of the puzzle…. For a crime story, Still Life is gentle in spirit. Penny does not employ shootouts, car chases, or profanity to add excitement. But gentle does not mean prim or saccharine. The novel does not extol the quaintness of small town life; even in a cozy village, people feel isolated and can be cruel to one another. Since, as Gamache observes, crime is ‘deeply human,’ Penny grounds the mystery in the private struggles of her characters and the many strange ways in which their lives intersect.”

Boston Globe

“Terrific. . . . Like a virtuoso, Penny plays a complex variation on the theme of the clue hidden in plain sight. Filled with unexpected insights, this winning traditional mystery sets a solid foundation for future entries in the series.”

Publishers Weekly

Related Reading

Reading the Beautiful Mysteries of Louise Penny
The Huffington Post

The Characters of Still Life

Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Series

Myrna could spend happy hours browsing bookcases. She felt if she could just get a good look at a person’s bookcase and their grocery cart, she’d pretty much know who they were. I've been treating you with courtesy and respect because that's the way I choose to treat everyone. But never, ever mistake kindness with weakness. Life is choice. All day, everyday. Who we talk to, where we sit, what we say, how we say it. And our lives become defined by our choices. It's as simple and as complex as that. And as powerful. So when I'm observing that's what I'm watching for. The choices people make. 'His theory is that life is loss,’ said Myrna after a moment. ‘Loss of parents, loss of loves, loss of jobs. So we have to find a higher meaning in our lives than these things and people. Otherwise we’ll lose ourselves.'
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