Monday, May 19, 2014

Still Life By Louise Penny - Book Review

           This is the debut novel by Louise Penny. The story takes place in Canada and the sleuth is Armand Gamache. My question would be if Gamache would take his place with other great detectives like Poirot and Gideon Fell. 

            In the book, a 76 year old woman named Jane Neal was murdered when she was shot with an arrow. Was it an accident or murder? If it was an accident, then how come no one is coming forward. If it was murder, then it’s up to Gamache to decide who committed the murder. 

            It was tough for me to get out of the gate with this novel. In one of the earlier scenes, you found some kids in ski masks throwing feces at people. Maybe it was done to point to one of them as a suspect in the murder but I could have done without that. 

             I’m not sure that I should have had expectations that Gamache was going to be the next Poirot in this novel. Much of time, he’s arguing with one of his colleagues and eventually fires them. During the case, he makes a mistake and he seems devastated by it. Not that Poirot would have done that but I think he would have handled it differently. 

             Of course, my comparison may seem unfair on the surface and maybe Louise Penny would not want me to make a comparison. As a detective, Gamache doesn’t seem that brilliant and the story is hard to follow because the point of view changes in the story. 

              I had hoped that the tension of finding who killed a woman with an arrow would move the story along but that wasn’t happening. Of course, much of the story was questioning suspects and finding the murderer in between personality clashes that Gamache was having with his colleague which wasn’t much of a subplot. 

               I am a big fan of Agatha Christie and I had hoped that I would see a story like that here. That may seem unfair but in the end, I would like to try other novels by Louse Penny but I can’t give this one more than two stars. 

Ron Hummer

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