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America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
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Sandhill Cranes by Lynn M. Stone
School-Tripped by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
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Some Enchanted Éclair by Bailey Cates and Amy Rubinate
Still Life by Louise Penny
Tempest in a Teapot by Amanda Cooper
Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail
Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany

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Still Life: 09/01/20

Still Life

Still Life by Louise Penny is the start of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series, also known as the Three Pines mystery series. Later titles differ across editions and it appears to have first been published in the UK even though the author is Canadian and the series is set in Quebec.

On the morning of Thanksgiving Sunday, Jane Neal is found dead in the forest. CI Gamache and his team are called in from Montreal to investigate. Was it murder or a tragic hunting accident?

Jane was an artist and had just gotten her first painting into the local members' show. Her painting, "Fair Day" is both unsettling and something special that no one can quite put a finger on.

With the older DCI, the older cast of characters, the surviving best friend, and a previous, recent death I was reminded of The Killings at Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham (1987). What's thankfully different here is there are no sexual hangups, no fetishizing, no kink shaming.

Maybe because I read a ton of mysteries (around 60 a year), I found the solution rather straightforward. Despite the easy solution, I still enjoyed the set up of the series. I am intrigued enough by the main characters and the small town and the politics to keep reading.

One annoyance, though, is there were a few copy editing inconsistencies and one typo. Canadian English spelling is nearly identical to British English. However, I saw attempts to Americanize, namely the u dropped from words like colour and neighbourhood. But words where an s would be used instead of a z were left alone. Then the word centre was spelled both ways. I'm hoping future editions I find in this series are more consistent.

The second book in the volume is Dead Cold (2006) aka A Fatal Grace (2007).

Four stars

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Wednesday, September 02, 2020 at 12:11:45

Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

This series seems to be very popular, I’d like to try it sometime.

Comment #2: Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 21:14:00


I enjoyed the start of it. I have the second book which I'll be starting soon.

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