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. Judy Dimmick says:

    So glad for the reminder of Powell’s Books (I lived near in Portland but now will contact from OK). First book I’ll ask for is “The Long Way Home” as I fell in love with it through their website at Baie-St.-Paul 3 of my ancestors founded! LOVED “THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY”!–Thanks

  2. Shirley McKeon says:

    Love the books❣️❣️❣️

  3. Barbara Adams says:

    Love the characters esp.Ruth and her duck. Seems so idyllic except for the high crime rate :) So looking forward to the new release.

  4. Libby Murphy says:

    I was hooked at “Jane Neal had also been late, but in a whole other sense, a few days earlier “

  5. Sue Barrett says:

    You know, Louise Penny, you are very, very good at what you do.

  6. Donna Weeks says:

    I had the great pleasure to visit Knowlton & local environs last summer and had a spectacular time absorbing the local beauty, culture and kind, generous people. Three Pines is alive and well in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

  7. Beth Van Vorst Gray says:

    I’ve been through the whole series twice; awaiting the next. I love reading the comments of others; some of which echo my own thinking and others that don’t. Lucky is the person who has found their own “Three Pines,” populated with people, who like all of us, are flawed in some way, but also like all of us, perfect in other ways. I often feel that I am there while reading one of Penny’s books, and it is a comfortable place to be. I don’t see it as a place to hide from the world, but a place where one can expose all the flaws along with the beauty within without judgment. Not many places like that around these days!

  8. Joyce Dugan says:

    My husband and I think Three Pines is like Brigadoon.
    And we have grown to love all the characters more with each new mystery. I happened on the series quite by accident and have recommended it to many many readers who become fans upon reading Still Life. Everyone is so human, and no one is TOO beautiful!!
    I can’t wait for the next installment. The Inspector and Madame Gamache are my role models!

  9. Maryann McClellan says:

    When I first found the story of Three Pines I fell in love with the town, the people, the idea, I have read them all and got my Library to buy them all, we now have a group that reads all the books, and have been since the beginning. Louise, thanks for these books, continue on and may we be taken to Three Pines every year…..

  10. Alice says:

    At difficult times, the places I live in books I love, the people who wait for me to come home there, have been my saving grace. It’s not on any map, but we find our way back when we need it most. So grateful!

  11. Ardella Webb says:

    From the very first book – love the place & characters! Thank you!

  12. Ardella Webb says:

    Requested each copy from library as it came out& started purchasing my own copies – then reread, share with daughters. Several paperback copies of Still Life so give to my reading friends to spark interest.
    Each character is unique – each story has thought to ponder & reread .

  13. Jean Day says:

    This is the one that got me hooked. I’ve read/savoured every one and am anxiously awaiting Kingdom of the Blind. I have every book in hardcover and will eventually re-read them all. I lose myself in Three Pines.

  14. Ann says:

    Thank you Ms. Penny for making life a little bit easier by giving us Three Pines to go to when we need some time away from all the madness in this world. For giving us all friends like Gamache, Reine Marie, Clara, Myrna, Ruth and Rosa. God bless you for your special talent.

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