Still Life, Louise Penny

B & N link
1st book in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series. I picked this up from a "You May Also Like" list on Amazon for Julia Spencer-Fleming: the setting is small town, rural, this time across the border in Canada, but otherwise I'm still puzzled. Spencer-Fleming reads to me like police procedural, whereas Louise Penny I thought is pretty clearly in the "cozy" category. This is not a book you want to read while on a diet: the main characters and investigators eat a lot of freshly baked chocolate croissants.

The energy is also completely different. Gamache is a "slow and steady" investigator, sitting on a park bench, eating his croissant and patiently watching the locals, like a cat sizing up mice. It was unclear which direction the investigation was going; there was an accidental quality to the discoveries, although I suspect that's often true in real life, but I prefer Archer Mayor or Spencer-Fleming's mysteries, where there are distinct pushes as the investigators pursue specific theories or leads.

Penny writes poetically and there are two big surprises I enjoyed but won't give away; my favorite element in the book was the use of painting.