Sunday, September 25, 2011

Still Life: Who dun it?

I came across some Criminal Justice students last week who had to find a book, fiction or non-fiction, and relate it to Criminal Justice. I recommended, to one student, a book club selection from April 2006, Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd, about real life murders that took place in Valdosta, Georgia.  Another student chose The Hollow by Agatha Christie.   She said Hercule Poirot is on the periphery in this story.

If I were doing the assignment, Still Life by Louise Penny, the book I am reading now would be a good choice.  I'd write about the setting of the mystery, Three Pines in the French speaking area of Quebec, and write about the main characters, Jane Neal the deceased,  her best friend Clara Morrow, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. I would write about investigative strategy as the Inspector explains it to his protege, Yvette Nichol.  He says listening to the villagers, to the suspects to the gossip, to one's instincts and to one's colleagues are keys. He pointed out three of four things that would lead to wisdom if said sincerely: "I don't know. I need help. I'm sorry."  He forgot the fourth but to add humor to the story, the writer makes Nichol literally thinks it's, "I forget".  I am looking forward to hearing what the fourth element really is. I would give examples of Gamache practicing these three or four elements if I were in the CJ class.

I am on page 156.  So far the investigation is leaning towards Jane Neal's death being a murder made to look like a hunting accident. Timmer Hadley, a hateful, needy, manipulative woman,  who died just a few months before Jane, supposedly died of kidney cancer but her name comes up so often I am beginning to think this was also a murder. I'll read on and find out but I won't tell, just in case you want to read this book too.  Interestingly, Timmer's son is the one that found Jane.

Personally, I think Jane's murder has something to do with her art work.  She did her art while Timmer was dying and everyone was at the Fair. Despite her stick figure drawings people recognized themselves in the drawing.  Is there someone who should have been at the fair and wasn't? When I find out, I am still not telling. . 

No comments: