Still Life, the story that follows Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is set in the sleepy town of Three Pines, Quebec, Canada. From Canada myself and having grown up 10 minutes from a part of Quebec I am quite familiar with the small towns the province has to offer. The setting was close to my heart and the mention of Montreal especially, the city where I went to university, was a fun treat.
The discovery of a dead body in the woods over Thanksgiving weekend brings Chief Inspector Gamache to Three Pines to investigate the close knit community where one resident is a killer.
The story, although hailed as a mystery/detective novel, is actually a great look at small town life and its inhabitants as well as the psyche of individuals molded by their experiences. The title is appropriate in many a context.
I’ll admit it took me a bit to really get into this read. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it from the first because I did. The writing is gentle and smooth and pulls you in. I’m actually not sure why it took me so long to pick up this book in full. I kept reading a few pages here and there and every time I picked it up I enjoyed it! But then I would get distracted by another read and put Still Life aside. When I finally did pick it up in earnest last week I read through it really quickly. The characters are intriguing and Gamache a nice change in pace. He’s a dedicated and intelligent detective, kind and compassionate and very intelligent. His character was what made this book so interesting to read.
As the story continued and the descriptions of the town kept on, I became more and more invested in the story of Three Pines and its residents. Their lives were still and quiet on the surface and yet full of dust and secrets when the layers were pulled back. The setting itself was charming and idyllic and yet it was marred by this murder that no one could quiet get their heads around.
Still Life was really well described and reminded me of home. I definitely intend to pick up the next in the series. Not your typical detective novel, but really well written with compelling characters.