Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

“Here in Quebec. Finally started writing. I think I’ll call it STILL LIFE. What do you think? Struggling a bit with fear but inspired by the fall colours. ”


Three Pines wasn’t on any tourist map, being too far off any main or even secondary road. Like Narnia, it was generally found unexpectedly and with a degree of surprise that such an elderly village should have been hiding in this valley all along. Anyone fortunate enough to find it once usually found their way back. And Thanksgiving, in early October, was the perfect time. The weather was usually crisp and clear, the summer scents of old garden roses and phlox were replaced by musky autumn leaves, woodsmoke and roast turkey.

Three huge pine trees faced [Gamache] at the far end of the green. Between him and them was a pond, a bunch of sweater-clad children circling it, hunting for frogs, he supposed. The village green sat, not surprisingly, in the center of the village, a road called The Commons circling it with homes, except behind him, which seemed to be the commercial district. It was a very short commercial. It consisted, as far as Gamache could see, of a depanneur whose Pepsi sign read ‘Beliveau’. Beside that was a boulangerie, the Bistro and a bookstore. Four roads led off The Commons, like the spokes of a wheel, or the directions of a compass.

As he sat quietly and let the village happen around him he was impressed by how beautiful it was, these old homes facing the green, with their mature perennial gardens and trees. By how natural everything looked, undesigned. And the pall of grief that settled on this little community was worn with dignity and sadness and a certain familiarity. This village was old, and you don’t get to be old without knowing grief. And loss.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life”

I saved the last book in the series for when I would be home and recuperating from surgery. I finished with it the second day. And then started rereading them in order.

Just finished this heartfelt beautifully written book, a detective story but so much more…lots of psychological depth concerning the vivid characters along with a light touch gently added here and there. A most unusual crime novel…loved it! It’s my second Armand Gamache— after reading “Glass Houses” thought I better start from square one. Thank you, Louise Penny!

These would be so lovely as a set of bookmarks! I’m new to the series, having just ordered and received all 13. I’m excited for the adventures on which I am about to embark.

Oh, joy! Louise Penny is coming to an author event in Nashville on November 30, and I have decided to read all her books in order (I just completed Still Life). Previously, I have listened to them all in order (which is a treat I save for special times), but I’ve learned that I can pick up things I’ve missed in listening. That being said, the two narrators of the books have been amazing and have definitely given life to her characters. If Armand Gamache or Ruth Zardo were in line behind me at a store and I heard them speak to someone, I would immediately recognize either of them. I feel so lucky to have her stories in my life.

After this first book I was hooked and have read every book since. I fell in love with the village and all the interesting people in it. I identified deeply, being an Anglophone living in Québec City, but originally from Toronto. I love postcards!

I wish it was a real place that I could visit. The peace and quite and friendly environment is somethng we all could enjoy and relish. what a lovely postcard.

I remember when Still Life was published. I was working at a Walden Books store in Asheville, NC shelving books in the mystery section. I read the summary on the back and decided to read it. Little did I know it would be the beginning of a great relationship with the villagers of Three Pines.

A couple of months ago I felt a great need to escape the insanity of politics in everyday America and to return my roots in rural Nova Scotia. Since that wasn’t possible I luckily discovered your books and been losing myself in them ever since. You are truly a word painter! I feel right at home curled up in front a fireplace in Three Pines… except for all the murders, that is.

I always like to hear, and see in my mind’s eye Three Pines. I have lived in small villages, each one unique and yet similar. I’ll enjoy the pist catds

After reading all your books in English, I am now reading them ‘en francais’!!!!! On Book 4….Unfortunately, I remember the killer….but that’s okay: I enjoy your books SO much!!! In English AND ‘en francais’!!!!!!

The postcards are a great idea! I own all your ebooks, some more than once as I bought 3 or maybe 4 before deciding to go with the 12 box set. I read the 13 books as quickly as possible but the postcard makes me want to go back and do a slow read of them. That’s pretty amazing because when others are driving through the Tim Horton’s takeout line for a morning coffee, I’m at home checking out the daily ebook offerings.

Dear Three Pines,
I agree no one can grow old and not know grief and lost, but I would hope also while we grow old we know love and joy. While we can reflect back on our past the future is right there wearing a sweater not to far away. See them they are the ones screaming in delight at catching frogs and letting them go or trying to sneak them down their friends shirt. Oh what the frogs must think. Please take my hand and laugh with me at children our future at play and lets go see what they are fixing at the bistro tonight but first let us stop off at the bookstore and adopt a book… perhaps a mystery for you and one with poems for me. Sincerely with Love Andrew

When my heart is hurting and the turmoil here in the US is overwhelming me, I take a Louise Penny book from the shelf and transport myself to Three Pines. It eases the pain. I read each book many times over. Thank you Louise for crafting such beautiful prose.

Also a late-comer, but completely hooked. I’m invested not only in the characters, but in the village, which is as much a character in the novels as the two- and four-legged. And while I agree Three Pines can be a state of mind, I love thinking about it in all its physical glory, which is much like we see on this postcard. I’m in the middle of Glass Houses and am dreading the finish. This series is the closest I’ve gotten to addiction, and I’m afraid I will be lost until November. I’m am sure, however, the re-reads will have much to teach me.

I’m a late-comer to these books, but like millions, I absolutely love them and want to live in Three Pines and count Inspector Gamache as my friend! The stories unfold beautifully and the writing is so deeply wonderful! Has Louise Penny ever been to Portland, OR on a tour? We’d love that!

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