Until this year, I’d never even heard of Louise Penny. After 8+ months of devoted listening to the What Should I Read Next? podcast, however, I feel like she is an old friend. If you read my post about finding book recommendations via podcast, you know how much I love the book discussions Anne Bogel has with her guests. So many of those guests have mentioned Louise Penny as one of their all-time favorite authors. With the publication of the most recent in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series last month, I figured it was past time to start reading the series myself.Still Life opens, like many mysteries, with a dead body. The murder takes place in the forests outside a small town in Quebec just before the local art festival. The murdered woman was an artist, as were many of her friends, which is at least one part of the title. For the most part, the reader figures things out along with Inspector Gamache. Even though the point of view occasionally shifts to the townspeople, those scenes are short and fairly cryptic. I’ve never been much of a mystery reader, but I really enjoyed following along and trying to figure out what happened. I’m proud to say that I solved the mystery about 2/3 of the way through the book…mostly. If I’d had to guess, I would have correctly identified the murderer, but there were enough loose details to leave me wondering about a few other suspects until the very end.
The book was not at all gruesome and there was very little crude language, which are the two problems I have with the otherwise fabulous Comoran Strike mysteries. All in all, I’d give Still Life a 3 1/2 if there were 1/2 ratings on Goodreads. I liked it enough to pick up the next in the series, but I haven’t gone so far as to crack the cover yet. I’ve heard that the series gets better as it progresses, so I’m interested to see if I agree with that claim.
This month’s book club pick is also a murder mystery, so I may turn into a novice detective yet. If it turns out I actually love the genre, what else should I read? Since I’ve read virtually no mysteries other than the type written by Kate Morton, you can bet just about any recommendation is a new one.