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book of the week - Still Life by Louise Penny, book 1 of 11
18 April 2018

Book of the Week – Still Life by Louise Penny

It was time to get my teeth into a series again, so when Still Life popped up somewhere (wish I could remember where!) I decided to give it a go. And I have several check points which make for a good choice as far as serials go. Good narrator? Yes, Adam Sims does well enough, traversing many variations of French accent, signifying speaking French, and various Canadian accents.  Peculiarly when Ganache talks English to the Canadians, he speaks in a ‘refined’ British accent – supposed to be Cambridge. And he gets it near enough that it’s fine. Some americans doing Brit accents drive me insane, (usually a version of 1950s movie character or Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins). Anyway it drew me in quite quickly so I continued with the check list.

Inspector Gamache is a Canadian copper and has several well drawn sidekicks, some of whom are clearly set up for interesting future conflict or drama. Check.

Strong female characters, check.

Realistic enough situation and premise, check.

Book One had a big murder mystery, so it’ll be interesting to see what the other 10 in the 11 book series are like. Hopefully it won’t be too Midsomer Murders…

The one thing that jarred several times was head-hopping. But as this is book one, published in 2005 but audiobook released in 2014, I’m hoping Louise Penny will evolve and grow out of that habit and it’s not enough to put me off so I’m going to give the next one a go too.

I do like Gamache and I really like the town – the place, the atmosphere Louise creates, and the interaction between the characters. I was drawn in once the rebellious deputy sub plot began, too – Nicole seems a bit petulant but if it goes somewhere over the next few books it’ll be good to see her develop.

The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines - a place so free from crime it doesn't even have its own police force. But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets....

4.6 out of 5 from me. – around about the mark for most of her books, which is pretty high.

Get Still Life on Amazon here – Kindle edition is only £2.99


Other News -


Other news


- plus Julie Cohen's date has changed - it is now November 28th. Here's the link to Julie Cohen's workshopto find out more about this amazing mentor's week at Retreats for You in Devon - do contact her direct or just email us for more info This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


- as far as our own retreats go, we have three other yoga weeks this year so far booked - July 2nd, August 13th, and October 22nd - how great to be able to stretch your stiff muscles before and after a full day's writing, be looked after with tasty home-cooked meals and wine at dinner, plus no chores, only me-time to get your work done! Go here to find out more about this date and others, but email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book or enquire, these weeks book up fast!!

-  looking ahead to Amanda Saint from Retreat West's third workshop with us in November, how about being part of a flash fiction workshop where your story ends up in a paperback? More info here. She's also running a scriptwriting retreat in June too.


best wishes






Beginners’ Guide And if you’re a complete beginner and want to self-publish, my basic guide can be found here - beginner's tips for self-publishing - a summary of info, sites and links to help you on your way. Including my guest blog on prestigious industry website,, which is also a fabulous resource for beginners. And advanced writers!  Go here to read more.


Also - launched  in 2018, Jericho press is the new name for Writers' Workshop - and their £30 a month subs will get you all sorts of free info about how to write a novel and how to self publish. More soon.


Archives Don’t forget to check out the other archives (to the left) for even more fabulous hints, tips, links and blogs.




My books - For the full list of my fiction and non fiction novels, novellas, short stories - info and links to buy them just go here. or see below.


As usual, here’s the round up of my own titles! I’d appreciate a review on Amazon (go here) andGoodreads (go here)! Enjoy! x


eBooks - all available on Amazon – paperback or eBook (kindle or kindle app or kindle on PC or Mac)


paperbacks – five fiction titles all available in paperback – via Amazon – see below.









HAWAIIAN TRILOGY (2013/4) – romantic fiction in either steamy or PG options!


Book 1 Hawaiian Escape Steamy or Hawaiian Escape PG, the prequel to Hawaiian Affair - is now available on Amazon in eBook or paperback in both PG original and steamy (just released last week!).


Book 2 Hawaiian Affair Steamy - now called Take a Chance on Me, with Choc Lit publisher available on Amazon. Paperback coming to shops Dec 2015! yay!


Book 3 Hawaiian Retreat - Helen's Story - Just click this link to see steamy version. Paperback also available


DIARY OF A WANNABE SHOPPING CHANNEL PRESENTER – a stand alone story – Bridget Jones meets Alan Partridge meets Eddie Murphy in ‘Holy Man’ –click here to buy Ebook on amazon, and click here to buy paperback.






‘When Dreams Return’ (2014) – spooky romantic short story – when Chelle’s pal Sara gets her to conjure up her ideal man with a full moon magic spell, she gets more than she bargained for… also appears in Hocus Pocus anthology.


The Valentine’s Surprise (2010) is a short story proving it’s never too late to find your Sir Galahad!


And Work in Progress, a compendium in paperback of Dairy of a Wannabe plus the two short stories in one volume.


Also – for Hallowe’en – an anthology of short spooky stories by 13 authors including many new shorts and my When Dreams Return in paperback! Hocus Pocus ’14 – ebook or paperback.


'Battle of the Exes', written for Valentine's Day 2015, features in 'Roses are Red' anthology of six short stories on Amazon ebook and paperback too.




Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the ‘When’ Diet - is my semi-autobiographical weight loss book – updated for 2014 to include the latest thinking about nutrition. Learn how to eat like slim people do.


Go here to get Till the Fat Lady Slims 3.0 – Tips and Tale to Inspire on amazon


Go here to get its predecessor (read 2.0 first) Till the Fat Lady Slims 2.0 – the When diet on amazon

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