I added Still Life to my library queue after hearing another Cannonballer mention it I think in the CBR Facebook thread. This is one of the best parts of the CBR, I find so many great books I would never have found on my own.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is a man who has found his place in the world. He is one of the best CIs on the force, but he is past the time when promotions and big commendations are coming along, partially because he is not afraid to step on toes if he thinks brass aren’t handling things correctly. This doesn’t really bother him, though, he likes where he is, and his squad, and they get the job done. It also gives him the opportunity to mentor young investigators, such as Agent Yvette Nichol, assigned to her first murder case under Gamarche when the call comes in that Miss Jane Neal was found dead in the woods outside the town of Three Pines. Miss Neal was killed in a hunting accident, at first glance, but as the pieces come together the accident starts looking less and less accidental. So, who wanted to kill a kind hearted, retired schoolteacher?
This is a fun mystery, and the town of Three Pines is populated by a combination of locals born and raised in the small town and folks who moved there to get away from City Life. There are an appropriate number of quirky characters and possible suspects to move things along. It sort of has the feel of a BBC small town murder series, like Midsomer Murders: Quebec Edition. I don’t mean that as a dig, it’s a very fun read and the mystery is interesting and well thought out.
I really enjoy the character of CI Gamache, I look forward to reading more books in the series. The only thing that wasn’t great as far as I was concerned was the subplot surrounding his mentorship of Agent Nichols. It felt a little too extra, and even though the way it played out was really very realistic, it did leave me with a bit of a WTF? feeling. It’s not too much of the story, though, so it didn’t really take away from the things I did like about it.