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Still Life

Chief Inspector Gamache Book 1
Written by: Louise Penny
Narrated by: Adam Sims
Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines - a place so free from crime it doesn't even have its own police force. But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets....

Coming soon: Book 2 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Dead Cold. Winter in Three Pines, and the sleepy village is carpeted in snow. It's a time of peace and goodwill - until a scream pierces the biting air. A spectator at the annual Boxing Day curling match has been fatally electrocuted. Despite the large crowd, there are no witnesses and - apparently - no clues.

©2005 Louise Penny (P)2006 Isis Publishing Ltd

What listeners say about Still Life

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful start to a well written series

Great writing, good performance, ocassional odd pace skip. An excellent beginning to an intriguing series that builds anticipation and depth.

4 people found this helpful

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Warm and Cozy Mystery

This was my first time reading this series and I loved it. Narration was well done and it was easy to listen to. I am now intrigued by Inspector Gamache and will be listening to book 2.

3 people found this helpful

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Terrible narration

I have listened to many of the books and loved them all. I thought I would start again at the first book but I cannot listen to this narrator. I will try to return this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Sign me up for more Gamache!

This is my first Louise Penny experience, and won't be the last! I'm looking forward to catching up with Gamache in Book 2.

2 people found this helpful

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Still life

A great introduction to Inspector Ganesh and 3 Pines. Having read the latest on the series first it was great to meet the characters early in their careers. Enjoyable as a stand-alone, it’s like a retreat with a friend to learn what had moulded them before you met them.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent Mystery

I found myself completely absorbed in this Mystery. It was well written, well performed and the ending was made up of many surprises. This was my first Louise Penny Novel and how pleased I am to have read it. I am looking forward to reading the rest. I especially enjoy the audio version.

1 person found this helpful

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An enjoyable experience.

A great way to spend a Saturday, Sunday. Enjoyed the narrator's French and English accents.

1 person found this helpful

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The accent mistakes were frustrating!

It took me awhile into the first chapter to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. Love that it’s set in Canada, which is where I’m from. The narrator was really good with the exception of the accent of the main character Chief Inspector Gamache. At times, he had a French accent, which was done well, but at other times, he had a British accent. It was confusing and quite disappointing. It honestly made the audio book much less enjoyable for me. I’ll be hesitant to listen to another book from the same narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Memories of home!

Growing up in the Eastern Townships, it was fun to revisit things like the Tour des Arts in this book. It felt like coming home. I really enjoyed the story, but I want to know more about Gamache. The reading was pretty good, but sometimes an accent/voice would falter or a French name was mispronounced (not just anglicized), and it pulled me out of the story somewhat. Overall, very enjoyable though, and I’ll definitely read more.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Performance ruined it for me

He was great with the voices except the British accent for Gamache. Why? It ruined it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • bg
  • 2016-03-28

Worried for nothing!

I love this series and author dearly. But I was afraid to buy these in audiobook format as I couldn't have stood listening to the French get all mangled up. Thankfully the narrator made me feel right at home. I am very impressed and glad to know I can safely continue to purchase this series!

4 people found this helpful

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  • DIANE
  • 2014-06-04

Love Louise Penny's writing

I read Still Life out of order. I had already read a number of books in the Inspector Gamache series and decided that it was a good idea to go back and start from the beginning. One of the disappointing things about this decision was hearing the rendition by Adam Sims. Had I not heard Ralph Cosham's masterful rendition in later books, I would not have had anything to compare this book to. But I have, and Mr. Cosham brings something special to Ms. Penny's books that Mr. Sims was not able to accomplish, despite a good performance overall. As usual, this was a twisted, convoluted story that left the reader wondering "who dun nit" until quite far into the story. I just love the characters... especially Ruth Zardo.
This is a fascinating group of people and I will keep reading until I have caught up. Can't wait to read the new book!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-09-08

Captivating Murder Mystery

This book is so well written. Captivating and entertaining. Amazing character knowledge which brought them to life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-09-03

Warm British-style mystery

As mentioned by other reviewers, this is a fun, character-driven story in the vein of the British murder-mystery canon. Smart and a good listen, if you're into that sub-genre, which I am.

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  • Melissa Rose
  • 2020-08-27

It was alright

After being recommended many, many times, I finally got around to reading Still Life by Louise Penny.

I have mixed feelings.

First, in terms of the negatives, I found that this book tended to be quite dry in its narrative; causing me to lose interest in the plot at times - needless to say, I had to press rewind on the audiobook more than a few times.

Additionally, I found that the author didn't make it much of a challenge to guess who the killer was, which was a bit disappointing.

As for the characters, I adored Inspector Gamache, as a detective, he seemed to be kind and fair - but was capable of sternness when needed.

Agent Nichol was a total and utter cow that drove me up the wall.

Finally, as a side note, I must add that I did learn a lot about bows, arrows, and hunting from this book, which was cool, it is always fun to finish a book feeling like you gained some new knowledge.

Overall, while Still Life failed to capture my entire interest, I found it a decent enough novel to give the series another chance.

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  • T. Trefan
  • 2020-07-28

the dullest detective story I've ever heard

i can't finish this. I've only 4 hours left and the story is so dry. the characters are flat and uninteresting. The mystery is only slightly interesting but the whole story is told in such a plodding and boring fashion i just can't be bothered to find out what happened.

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  • Susan Moore
  • 2017-07-25

Better the second time around.

I read this book first and then decided to listen to audio version several years later. While I actually enjoyed the story more the second time around, I did not enjoy the performance. I found the english/french versions of Gamache very distracting, irritating and unnecessary. I know Penny indicates that he speaks like a British royal in english, but I found the switch too jarring.

The story is wonderful. Penny has great storytelling ability. If you enjoy cozy mysteries then this series does not disappoint.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tammy Sheedy
  • 2015-12-21

Realistic and brilliant

Beautiful story of Life, and friendship. Very well written, narrator was brilliant. Slow beginning but then was sucked in, transfixed till the last word.

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  • angi4262
  • 2015-08-27

Loved it

So glad to find the beginning of a great series. I'll be looking up more!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lyn
  • 2015-06-15

Easy Listening

Outcome not as obvious as you expect, Intrigued me enough to listen to the 2nd book and now I am hooked on the series

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  • Pierre Gauthier
  • 2017-10-01

Pathetic!

This novel is apparently the first of a series set in rural Québec.

Sadly, it is totally devoid of interest:

• the characters are shallow and stereotypical: a rebellious teen-ager, a chubby, cheerful, gay restaurant owner, a foul-mouthed perpetually angry poet, etc.
• the plot is at once predictable and ridiculous: a lost will, a job suspension for thinking outside the box, a finale in a snake pit (which turns out to be an illusion), etc.
• an irritating obsession with food, complete with lengthy descriptions of … muffins;
• a poor knowledge of Québec culture despite its use for providing colour and originality; much is made for instance of Thanksgiving dinner which is by no means a local tradition;
• multiple basic errors in the use of French, which could have easily been avoided by hiring a francophone proof-reader.

The audio version compounds the aggravation with a narrator who does not adequately know French (pronouncing for instance “Société des alcools” to rhyme with fool) and who gives the main character a Québec accent whereas we are told very early on that he studied in the UK and speaks an impeccable British English.

Overall, there is no justification for recommending this work to anyone.