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. Eliana Stock says:

    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.

  2. reva greenspan says:

    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.

  3. Wendy Kirk says:

    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!

  4. Ramsey Burton Doran says:

    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.

  5. Kristin Murphy says:

    Like everything you write, these postcards are a real treat! Thank you!

  6. Linda E says:

    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.

  7. Rhea Feldman says:

    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!

  8. Robyn E Genau says:

    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.

  9. Nora Palmer says:

    I definitely want to have a summer place in 3Pines but not the Winters!

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