What town is Three Pines based on?

By Adam Lock
Published: December 4, 2022 (Last updated: March 27, 2024)
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What town is Three Pines based on? This article discusses the origins of the series and the main setting featured in Three Pines.

The Prime Video murder mystery series Three Pines debuted on the ever-popular streaming platform on Friday, December 2nd, 2022, with a two-part opening installment titled “Whiteout.” The series stars Alfred Molina (Spider-Man: No Way Home) as the endearing Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, who is tasked with investigating the many murders occurring in the sleepy village of Three Pines. This new detective drama has already gotten off to a great start, with viewers interested to find out all about the origins of the series and if the seemingly idyllic town of Three Pines actually exists.

What is the inspiration for Three Pines?

Three Pines is a TV adaptation of the much-loved series of mystery novels by Canadian author Louise Penny that center on the aforementioned Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. There are currently eighteen books in the series. The first of the series, Still Life, was released all the way back in 2005 and the latest, A World of Curiosities, came out as recently as 2022.

Fans of the series have eagerly anticipated a live-action adaptation of the novels for some time now, although the initial reactions have been quite mixed from the books’ die-hard fan base. There was a TV movie called Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery released in 2013 as well, but that particular project will have likely passed many of the fans by and was itself initially poorly received.

What town is Three Pines based on?

Most of the novels and their subsequent adaptations revolve around the unsuspecting village of Three Pines, found in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. But is this place actually based on a real-life town? The short answer is yes. Louise Penny found inspiration for the mystery novels in her own hometown of Knowlton. The fictitious Three Pines is loosely based on this township in Quebec, which is located close to the city of Montreal.

An online tour of Knowlton reveals a nearby Abbey, a bistro, and a cozy, little bookshop, which fans of the franchise will be all too familiar with. There’s even a Three Pines tour in Knowlton that journeys to these famous venues, with each location representing a different chapter from the novels.

Is there a real Three Pines in Quebec?

The picturesque village of Three Pines is evidently based on the original author’s hometown of Knowlton, but is there a real Three Pines hidden away in the Canadian province of Quebec? Unfortunately, there is no village called Three Pines to be found anywhere in the country of Canada. Louise Penny’s actual hometown of Knowlton can be seen as the unofficial Three Pines though. A quick Google search reveals that Canada contains a construction company, lodge, and B&B sharing the same name, but no specific village or town.

Where does Louise Penny live now?

Three Pines author Louise Penny is a highly successful novelist who has been honored with a membership into the Order of Canada and the Order of Quebec. She also launched an award for aspiring authors who specify in the mystery genre.

Louise Penny has become quite the inspiration in her home nation and can be found still living in her hometown of Knowlton, which is about 100 km from Montreal, Quebec. It’s quite heartening to hear that the writer has decided to continue living in her hometown, the one that inspired her novels in the first place, and then helped to shine a light on this beautiful area of Canada, giving a world stage to this unique heritage.

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