2014: 38. Still Life

"Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday."

Still Life,  Louise Penny

This mystery is the first in the Inspector Armand Gamache series.  They are set in Quebec, and I will say that the best part about this book was the locale.  It felt real and different - especially the way it captures the differences and sometimes conflicts between the French Canadians and the anglais.  Quebec is sort of a bizarro place in my experience, so I liked that.*

The actual writing? Well, it's definitely a mystery - not a novel with a mystery in it - with all that implies.  It's pretty clunky and a little cheesy, and I think the novel is a little overstuffed with characters and plot.  And the actual solution to the murder was a little out of left-field.  I mean, it works, but the scene was barely set for it.  And yet - there is something there.  Something in the characterizations or what have you that a) made me read it right through and b) made me inclined to read more Penny.  This was, after all, her first - I think that they could definitely improve.  

So, if you like mysteries and are willing to put up with a little mystery trope cheesiness, or if you are interested in the Quebecois lifestyle, I would recommend this.  Otherwise, let me read a few more and decide whether it's worth your time.

Also, on a total non-sequiter, this cover is SO MUCH COOLER than the one I had. Now, granted, I got my copy for free from the free book table at work, but mine looks like Maeve Binchy, and this looks like Ruth Rendell. Grrr.

*Now granted, my experience is that my anglais grandfather and half French-Canadian grandmother emigrated to the U.S. in the 1960's because my English speaking grandpa couldn't get ahead, and my dad has grown up here since was 14, yet still remains 1) somewhat loyal to Canada and 2) virulently opposed to the Montreal Canadiens, so take that for what it's worth.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017