A few years ago, my Mom urged me to read Louise Penny’s Beautiful Mystery. (You can read my review here–scroll way down to find it). I loved it, but it was in the middle of a series. I had to wait a while to forget some of the personal story so I could enjoy the first book. Last week on my commute I listened to Still Life, book one of the Inspector Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec series. I love it even more now.
In the first book, Armand Gamache and his faithful sidekick Jean-Guy, are sent to investigate a murder in the small town of Three Pines. An eccentric old lady, beloved by the town is dead after finally submitting a painting to the arts competition. Teenagers hurl duck dropings at a business owned by a gay couple. A surely young agent with a chip on her shoulder gets in Gamache’s way. Soon nearly everyone is a suspect in the murder.
After only this book, let alone the one I listened to out-of-series-order, for several reasons. I feel the atmosphere. The characters are well “drawn” and believable–even the minor ones. Gamache is a man I could adore in real life–he grumbles, he has a dry sense of humor, but he’s also honorable and a professional. I could have had the conversation with a man that he had with his wife as he was leaving for the investigation. Then there’s the crimes and the investigation–in neither book did I predict the ending. That, to me, is what makes a great mystery. That poetry from W.H. Auden gets includes is just extra.
Like William Monk and Precious Ramotswe, Armand Gamache is a big favorite of mine. I’m happily awaiting book 2 from the library. My commute is just for binge-listening to book series! Still Life by Louise Penny.
What did you read last week? Leave me a comment or a link to your review.