|Louise Penny is the author of a series of mysteries featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec. Generally characterized as "cozies," the books won an unprecedented string of Agatha Awards, garnering the prestigious prize in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Penny was born in Toronto, and a journalism career later took her all over Canada, including stints in Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Quebec City. Upon retiring from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), she eyed the stacks of traditional mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey on her bookshelves and hit upon the idea of writing such a book herself. The result was STILL LIFE (2006), set in the bucolic Quebec village of Three Pines. "The chances of getting published were tiny so the writing of the book needed to be fulfilling enough on its own. So I decided to create a community I would choose to live in, with people I would choose as friends," she explained to one interviewer. "I wanted it to be . . . a venerable old village with stone homes and a village green, that had survived disasters, and wars, loss and sorrow, and still turned its face to the sun." STILL LIFE quickly garnered Penny a slew of international prizes, including the New Blood Dagger (from the British Crime Writers Association), the Arthur Ellis Award (from the Crime Writers of Canada), and the Dilys Award (from the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association). Her subsequent books--all of which feature the quietly competent and morally upright Gamache-have enjoyed similar acclaim, and she is frequently cited by critics as a worthy successor to the late Christie.