Postcards from Three Pines: Still Life

Still Life Postcard
“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

  1. Kate Fitzsimmons says:

    I will be visiting Montreal and the Eastern Townships in mid- September, the better to imagine the setting of Three Pines and Louise’s novels. So excited to be there and so excited about the upcoming book. I think that I, too, will reread Glass Houses just to be ready for the threads to be picked up in the new book.

  2. Mary McCrimmon says:

    No better place to escape to, Three Pines. [Sigh]

  3. Christine B. says:

    Three Pines IS a real place, if only in the minds of Louise Penny and all her avid readers. It isn’t that much of a leap to imagine a replica built somewhere in the townships, populated by Quebecois actors playing the parts of the locals. Quebec Tourism could make tbis a viable project with, of course, Penny hetself as Creative Consultant. ;)

  4. Mary Deshaies says:

    A perfect postcard for Three Pines. I just re-read Still Life for a book club pick and it made me want to read them all again. Can’t wait for November 27!

  5. John Bessette says:

    The description here does remind me vividly about my old home town, somewhat bigger than Three Pines, but basking in the same scenery & some similar people. Malone New York, across the Quebec/New York State border and to the west. Makes me wonder whether Inspector Gamache would have been involved in the hunt for the two convicts who escaped (real world!) from Dannemora State Prison in June 2015. And what might have happened if they had crossed into Quebec, evading US & Canadian border gendarmes…

  6. Patricia Valoon says:

    She is my very favorite mystery writer and I have read all her books.! In addition to that she is a wonderful person. I had the privilege of driving her from a mystery writers conference in Washingto .DC to Pittsburgh,Pa and from there to Bradford, Pa. I picked up her first book just by accident in Nova Scotia and have been reading all her books ever since and tellling all my friends about her ever since. Have pre-ordered her next book and you can too…on Amazon of course.

  7. Marjorie Hollis says:

    Thank you so much, Louise. This is so refreshing on a hot, humid day with a heat advisory here in Maryland. Like many other commenters have said, this inspires me to start at the beginning of the series and read all of them again. Luckily I own all of them!

  8. Sharon says:

    Loved all of your books and the description of Three Pines is so vivid, I have felt myself lost in the town, in a good way. Your books have been wonderful company on many well- spent evenings. Thank you, please keep writing.

  9. Lee Greene says:

    Louise, you have a wonderful gift: The ability to capture our imagination. Please continue to share with us.

  10. Love your writing and love the postcards. I want more and more!

  11. Patricia Hopkins says:

    I have already read each of the the books at least three times and still find something new each time I read any one of them. Particularly enjoy Louise Penny’s attention to detail.

  12. Ann Elliott says:

    What a great reminder of Three Pines! My daughter and I hope to visit the area this mid September. We have read all the books and have most of them.

  13. Carol says:

    Sounds heavenly to me. Would like to spend time there just taking it all in.

  14. Anneke Waalwijk says:

    When Louise describes the village, I am overcome with a feeling of homesickness, even though it is fictional and my home is not even in Quebec. She is a true artist!

  15. Richard Brasie says:

    Dear Steph and Friends,

    Three Pines while Quebec in the Fall is so very much like my Massachusetts village abounding in Colonial, original forests, stone walls gathered from the farm fields and abounding in deer, turkey and rabbits. Blessed lovely, Dick Brasie, Westwood, MA

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