Still Life by Louise Penny read by Ralph Cosham

Even little old Canadian villages have murders, and artists. Jane Neal lived and painted in a big house and kept both her canvases and her home private. Except for the kitchen. To it she invited her circle of friends and fellow-artists, poor and English speaking. They and their language migrate to Three Pines to continue the war between French and English sensibilities.

The death of Jane Neal re-invokes these French and English factions, in a series of tense encounters between Police Inspector Gamache and the local folks: the usual suspects.

The plot is crisp and economical, but the descriptions are sweet, pastoral, even poignant. We want to know who murdered Jane because we like her more and more as we reconnoitre her life.

Every day for Lucy’s entire dog life Jane had sliced a banana for breakfast and had miraculously dropped one of the perfect disks to the floor where it sat for an instant before being gobbled up….Every morning Lucy’s prayers were answered, confirming her belief that God was old and clumsy and smelled like roses… and lived in the kitchen.