Although this review is for Still Life, this is really a review of the whole series of Chief Inspector Gamache novels by Louise Penney but we may as well start at the beginning.
In this novel, the body of an elderly lady, Jane Neal, is found in the woods beside her home in the small village of Three Pines, south of Montreal. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team of investigators are called in, to the consternation of the locals who are convinced that the death of such a beloved resident could only be an accident.
And so we are introduced to a cast of characters who recur in all of the following novels. I must admit that I was expecting a somewhat cosy mystery and that was more or less what I got. However, something about this town and the characters who live in it stayed with me and after the second novel, A Fatal Grace, I was completely hooked. I make no bones about the fact that I want to live in Three Pines. I put on a stone while reading this series because the descriptions of food are amazing and I felt that eating croissants and drinking chocolat chaud was probably as near as I was ever going to get to Quebec. The novels increase in complexity and ambition as the series continues and are as dark and compelling as any I have read. Definitely recommended.
You can reserve a copy of Still Life from South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.