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I've enjoyed all of Louise Penny's mysteries. If you read all of them, at some point you might start to think (as I did) that she can't possibly continue to have THAT many murders in small town Quebec - but she does eventually expand her universe while still keeping characters we all love involved. Enjoy!


That mix of cozy, yet with an edge is exactly why I've enjoyed this series. I love the setting and Chief Inspector Gamache who is really a wonderful character. Unfortunately I was a bit annoyed with one of the later books (#6 I think) but I'm sure I'll return to it - it's been a while now :)


I was wondering about that since the second one, which I have and was just looking at, is also set in Three Pines. Since it is a small village I did wonder just how many crimes could be committed in one small place? So I am curious to keep reading and will get to it soon. I am glad, though, the settings do vary as I really was hoping to read about other places--maybe Montreal?, but then maybe Louise Penny wants to keep the small town feel?


Hmm--interesting! It will probably be a while before I get to later books in the series, though I am looking forward to the next book. I wonder if Agent Nichol ends up in the next book, too. I was first excited to see a woman detective, but then she ended up being a little annoying--her personality grates a little, but makes for an interesting mystery--the dynamics between detectives.


I totally loved this. The descriptions, the characters, the story.
My book has beautiful cover, I see that yours is not that convincing.
I liked the fact that it was a bit of a blend. A cozy but not really.
I didn't dare reading the next one but I remember Carl's reviews last year or so and he thought the books got even better or at least they stayed equally good.

Joan Kyler

I've read all but one of Louise Penny's books and none has disappointed me except The Beautiful Mystery, when she takes the mystery far from Three Pines. The police are the only previously known characters in that one. Like the rest of you, I wonder how many crimes she can manage in Three Pines, sort of like Murder, She Wrote or Midsomer Murders. Watch out for those tiny, crime-ridden villages! But I love Penny's books and can't wait for the next one.

Lorraine S.

Absolutely agree. Also a plus to read in order. The Beautiful Mystery was better the second time around. Even listened to one of my Gregorian chant CD's while reading. Also makes me want to visit Montreal and Quebec City.


Oh, this sounds good. It sort of reminds me of the Midsomer Murder TV show except moved to Canada.


I read one Louise Penney and enjoyed it, but I made the mistake of starting in the middle of the series, and this is clearly a set of books that build on one another. So I ought to go back to the beginning! I'm very glad to know she kicks off with a fine start. I really liked Inspector Gamache and thought he was a sweetie!


I'm so glad you've published a post about Louise Penny. I have Still Life on my Nook. I started reading it and within the first few chapters I felt it wasn't the series for me. However, since then, my husband and a number of my bookish friends read Penny's most recently published title, 2012 I believe, and they all thought it was FANTASTIC. None of them said that they felt the need to have read the earlier titles in the series to understand the 2012 book.

So, given your thoughts and your commenters, perhaps I should try again.



I went back and reread your review actually as I was writing mine as I knew you had liked it. I prefer the European colver illustration, too. Maybe it's the overly bright colors, but this one didn't quite capture the feeling of the story for me. I heard that Carl read them in one big gulp--I can see how easy that would be to do! I am very tempted to jump in on the next one, but I think I need to make some headway in the other books I have going first. Were you afriad the second wouldn't be as good as the first? That's always a fear with me!


I guess the Miss Marple books are the same--they are always set in small villages--just how much crime can there be? Enough (thankfull for us! :) ). I am wondering if Agent Nichol is a recurring character--she must be? She seems so prickly--I'm wondering how she develops--but I love Inspector Gamache!


Do you know I have never seen Midsomer Murder--and I think there are lots of those. I think I need to see if the public librar has them--especially as I have given up Netflix--and the library is free! :)


First books--first mysteries especially can be on the weak side, but I thought this one worked quite well. It has a nice atmosphere and she has me just hooked so now I have to find out what happens to the detectives--there are just teasers as to what their personal lives are like. I tend to try and start at the beginning with mysteries just for this fact--I don't want to step into the middle of a situation when all the various relationships have been developed and you feel like you've missed something that went on before. Am reading Janet Neel by the way--though I have (again) started with the first book and will make my way up to Death Among the Dons!


She does seem to have quite a devoted following. Maybe you should skip to the second book? Sometimes those first stories take a while to get going and often authors seem to hit their stride on a second or third book. It's good to hear that your husband and other friends have had good things to say about the later books. Something to look forward to!

Joan Kyler

I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag regarding Agent Nichols. She is an interesting character and I dislike her very much. I agree with Lorraine that it really helps to read them in order so you can understand the change in relationships between Gamache and his team and his family.

I remember that I didn't speed right through Still Life, but as I read on, I realized that I really liked the characters and wanted more. It might have been the mood I was in (I know you're a mood reader, too) or I might have been resisting getting involved with yet another writer new to me whose works I'd want to devour.

Speaking of devouring, have you read any Fred Vargas mysteries yet? Excellent, with very interesting and unusual characters.


I've decided that French authors have some of the quirkiest characters--I will be sharing a book I just finished tomorrow by a French author that was on the unusual side. And then there is Cara Black's books (though she is a US author with French settings) who has a dwarf as a main character (if I am remembering correctly). I do have a couple of Fred Vargas books on hand--and really must get to them sometime soon as I have heard many good things about them. And I do know what you mean by Still Life--I read a bit and then set it down for a while, but when I picked it back up I ended up speeding right through it. So maybe, too, as case of reading it at the right time and not forcing it. But then I wanted to start the second one immediately...must read/finish a few other books first. I started out really liking Agent Nichol, but then she has such a chip on her shoulder she was becoming a little unbearable, so I am very curious about her now!


I'm on the 5th book and have really enjoyed most of them so far. I found it difficult to get through the second book though.

If you're not sure about her, you may want to start with the 4th. It was good and I believe it can stand alone. She's worth the effort.

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