If you got here because I commented and you were directed to this blog, it is because Blogger will not show both blogs. So you can get to my Pat's Posts, by clicking this miscellany, the first blog while this is just about books.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Still Life by Louise Penny

Finished this book, 312 pages  in a few nights as I battle off a coughing hacking cold that descended upon me.  An excellent read, published in 2005, proving yet again that there are many wonderful books, mysteries , not necessarily just current best sellers.  I am grateful to my friend who found it and sent it to me.  I will be passing it along now to another friend.  So many of the  great characters continue with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Detective Beauvoir of the Surete du Quebec solving a murder back in the fictional village of Three Pines, outside of Montreal. The suspense and writing are every bit as intriguing as the first Louise Penny I read, in 2017,"The Brutal Feeling" and posted my review here finally January, 2018.  Louise Penny knows how to keep the mystery a secret up until the end as with the other book, I never correctly guessed  "who done it?" until she reveals it  near the end of the book, page 291 and with an almost dire outcome avoided by the detectives.  

It was a return to the familiar with many of the same characters in Three Pines, Gabri, Olivier, Ruth the eccentric,  Myrna, Clara and Peter and with new additions, Ben, Yolande, Timmer and  Nicole, a detective trainee whom Armande sends packing. This book I learned that Myrna is a black woman, something I had not gotten reading the other.  Fortunately the book stands on its own and one need not read any of these in sequence or from the beginning.   

Back cover
This tale focuses on the death of Jane Neal, an elderly village lady, at first it is assumed to be accidental but quickly turns to murder by bow and arrow, yet.  Page 1 begins"  Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday.  It was pretty much a surprise all round.  Miss Neal's was not a natural death, unless you're of the belief everything happens as its supposed to.  If so, for her seventy six years Jane Neal had been walking toward this final moment when death met her in the brilliant maple woods on the verge of the village of Three Pines.  She'd fallen spread-eagled, as though making angels in the bright and brittle leaves."    Descriptive writing, and the scene is set.  

Pg 20, Clara and Ben are talking,  "Oscar Wilde said that conscience and cowardice are the same thing.  What stops us from doing horrible things isn't our conscience but the fear of getting caught."  

Pg 24, "Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table," Jane said almost under her breath.  

Looking back now after finishing this I can see just how the author  draws the reader in, with clues that do not seem more than part of the conversation.  I did not get this until I began writing, yet they wqere quotes I had identified as ones I would include here.  

Pg. 47 Gamache is reflecting, , "And the pall of grief that settled on this little community was worn with dignity and sadness and a certain familiarity.  This village was old and you don't get to be old without knowing grief.  And loss.."  

Pg. 140, Myrna is discussing choices, faults, quoting Shakespeare , "The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings.....  "The vast majority of troubled people don't get it, the fault is here but so is the solution.  That's the grace." 

Pg. 279, Gamache is marveling "at the people who chose to live in this area.  Was Margaret Atwood a garbage collector perhaps?.......No one was who they seemed.  Everyone was more And one person in this room was very much more."  

Pg 303, "This is what comes of trust and friendship, loyalty and love, thought Peter.  You get screwed.  Betrayed.  You get wounded so deeply you can barely breathe and sometimes it kills you.  ......."

A 5 ***** read thoroughly enjoyed and savored it.   

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