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. Linda Beals says:

    I just love the series, and I love that you are telling us about your inspiration for each book. Now that my friends and I have visited the inspiration for the crime -riddled village of Three Pines (a 60th Birthday celebration for one of my friends), I am going to reread the series. Thank you for writing these stories.

  2. Vera Rowland says:

    A friend recommended I read Glass Houses. I was hooked! I went to the library and started reading all of them. I can hardly wait for next one in November. I love reading about Gamache and Three Pines. Want to live there!

  3. Emma says:

    Looks like the little lake near the Trappist monastery, I took almost the same picture last year

  4. Carol Dalglish says:

    Are the postcards for sale? I would like to have all of them!

  5. Carolyn says:

    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!

  6. Jane Shaul says:

    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.

  7. Dianna Young says:

    I LOVE these Three Pines mysteries! Great writing, Louise Penny!

  8. Susan Walsh says:

    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.

  9. Please put me on the postcard list! Would so enjoy hearing from you, one of my favorite writers!

  10. Andrew Brown says:

    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

  11. Ruth Demitroff says:

    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.

  12. Elisa W says:

    I fell in love with Ms. Penny’s writing and Three Pines. Wish I could live there.

  13. Helene Fortier says:

    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’!!!!!!

  14. Vance Ginther says:

    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

  15. 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.

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