STILL LIFE, by Louise Penny

Okay, this is a 5, and then some, and one of the reason I so enjoy doing these book reviews. Award-winning author Penny has introduced me to the fascinating people of tiny, bucolic Three Pines, Canada, just up  from the U.S. border, and to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Montreal Surete. I am in love! Not only is the plot intricate, but the characters are varied and beautifully drawn, their emotions revealed but not pinned to a board and sliced open, their relationships at times hilarious and at times heartbreaking, and always believable. Here's life as it really is, not as an author decides it should be. I put this first book down with such a sense of satisfaction, I picked up the second one at once. I'll write no more, but if you do not get this book - and its successor The Cruelest Month, you are missing one of the great reading treats of the year, maybe the decade, maybe even your life. Oh, if only I could write like this! Be aware that Penny's books have different titles in Canada. Go to her website for details www.louisepenny.com