Here we have a delightful convergence of events: Ms. Was wrote a review about a mystery series she loves a few weeks ago and the first book of that same series was on sale on Audible at nearly the same time. There are few easier reading decisions than this one – Yes!
First in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series is Still Life. Inspector Gamache is part of the Surêté du Québec. He and his team of investigators find themselves called to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. The death is that of Jane Neal, retired teacher in the tiny community of Three Pines, found dead in the woods.
Gamache and his team run through the investigation of Jane’s death, running down all the possible explanations of it – could it have been an accident? Could it have been caused by a hunter? Who would possible want this septuagenarian dead and why? In unraveling the reasons why we are introduced to a cast of characters I’m going to enjoy spending more time with (I double checked that some of them appear in other works). Three Pines is populated by artists and those that have found larger towns and cities not to be to their liking: Peter and Clara Morrow, Gabri Dubeau and his partner Olivier Brulé, Ruth Zardo, Myrna Landers… and the list goes on.
The other group of characters is the police: Gamache, who commands his forces with integrity and quiet courage, is the type of investigator you would wish for if you found yourself in the need of a homicide detective. His right hand man, Jean Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste are perhaps more prototypical police officers, but show the effect of their time under such a good leader. We see with Yvette Nichol the type of police work that doesn’t work for Gamache and we come to know him all the better. And we hope that she too will have some of the same self-knowledge we see in the variety of characters who populate this world.
I am happy to report that I did not identify the identity of the murderer, but the various possibilities make sense, and the final denouement makes sense as well. What I also really enjoyed is that there is still plenty of book left after the resolution of the murder, we are invited to see a glimpse into the world of Three Pines after such an event. I look forward to returning to the world of Armand Gamache soon.