This book fulfills the Favorite Prompt from 2018 on the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge. That prompt was Audio Book. Honestly, I’ve read most of the books on the blog as audio. I love audio. Love is the theme for this blog post because I love reading. Anyway…
I’m a cozy mystery junkie. I love to read all the little mysteries and wallow in the fun, hobby info, and, usually, romantic elements. I also love a traditional mystery. I’ve been trying to finish up Agatha Christie for the past year. Every one of her books makes me happy on some level. I enjoy a police procedural with all the details, gritty forensics, and bold/broken heroes/heroines. In short, I love a mystery. I did not love this book.
I work at a library and I see Louise Penny books go out often. I’d heard so much hype about her books and especially Still Life, I assumed it would be the read of the year. Yeah, I assumed. I know what that makes me. It’s not that it’s a bad book. Not really. It’s okay. Right in the middle. I’d probably read another Penny if I needed a bland book about a detective with no quirky qualities. Like I said, cozies are my jam.
Even then, perhaps I’m comparing our beloved Gamache to Poirot or Cormoran Strike is unfair. But these are the detective that catch my focus, have particularities about them, and keep me interested in them as much as the story. Gamache seemed flat. He could read others well, but if that’s all, it’s not enough to keep me reading a series.
Also, I disliked the way he dealt with Nichol and thought the subplot with her was handled poorly. Yes, he let her rise or fall on her own. And when she fell, I was sorely disappointed he allowed it to happen. I don’t know if she shows up in other books to cause problems, but why waste a character with real and interesting flaws if she’s gone forever? Nichol reminds me of the sass-mouthed detective in the start of the Sherlock TV series, Sgt. Sally Donovan. I loved how she hated Sherlock and was having an affair with Anderson. She was the opposition and then she disappeared. Rather like Nichol.
As for the mystery itself, I liked the bit of history thrown into the story. But no big bells and whistles, no subtle clues, no high drama, no gross bloody corpses (thank you, Robert Galbrath). There wasn’t much to the book at all. I won’t spoil, because that would be so wrong to tell who done it. But it was kinda obvious even for me, who never seems to figure out who the killer is.
I won’t give up on our Penny. I gave Ruth Ware a few chances. (Hit or miss on those, let me tell ya) So Still Life was not my fav, but I’ll still give it 4 wooden arrows.