Bury Your Dead, Part 2

Introduction for Part 2

Hi, this is Joe taking over for Annette on part 2 of this recap. I consider myself a reader and have been ever since I can remember. Over the years there have been many books I have loved and consider a favorite. Surprisingly though, I am not the type of reader who will reread a book. There are so many books I want to read that I have a hard time justifying going back to one I’ve already read even, if it was a favorite of mine. Bury Your Dead I can make an exception for because it still won’t let go of my emotions after all this time.

Recap (from Chapter 12 to the End)

Murder at the Lit and His:

While going through Renaud’s diaries, Gamache finds the date of the Lit and His board meeting with nothing else. He also sees a notation for the following week—SC at 1pm. The journal is blank after that. Looking back he finds a mention of the Lit and His a week before the board meeting and above it, four names Renaud planned to meet there—a Chin, a JD, S. Patrick, and F. O’Mara with the number 18-something. There is a S. Patrick in the phone book.

A visit to Sean Patrick’s house turns up nothing of interest, as does asking the Lit and His board. Gamache does notice some strange numbers in the book Mr. Blake is reading that look like two numbers Renaud had put in his diary: 9-8499 & 9-8572. It turns out they are catalog numbers the Lit and His used years ago. Not a very efficient system and the best they can do is narrow the references down to two possible years. The first year is 1939 and does not seem promising. The next. from 1899, refers to a lot donated by Madame Claude Marchand of Montreal. Gamache later discovers that Marchand was a housekeeper in 1899 for a Charles Paschal Télesphore Chiniquy who had died that year.

From Émile., we learn that Chiniquy was a priest who preached against the dangers of alcohol in Québec back in the 1860s or 1870s.

Gamache heads to search the local bookstores while Émile. does more research on Chiniquy. Gamache finds a store that sold Renaud some boxes of books it had purchased from the Lit and His the previous summer. Émile. discovers that Chiniquy was good friends with a James Douglas, who was one of the founders of the Lit and His. James was a doctor who started a mental hospital in Québec after being forced to leave the United States for robbing the wrong grave for dissection purposes. Also, it is revealed that the books that were sold by the Lit and His included the collection donated by Mrs. Claude Marchand back in 1899.

Gamache gets the idea to go back to Sean Patrick’s house and ask if he can check the back of a photo he noticed on his first visit. The photo is of Patrick’s great-grandfather, who shared his name, and a group of laborers in front of a large hole. The back of the photo reveals the names Sean Patrick and Francis O’Mara with the date 1869. Gamache also learns Patrick bought his home in 1870 in an unusual location for an Irish laborer to be able to afford.

Now we know the four names mentioned in Renaud’s diary. Gamache first meets with the Chief Archeologist, Serge Croix, to ask him to look into what digging work was going on at the time of the photograph. and then with Langlois to find that Renaud had left some boxes of books with his ex-wife. Gamache immediately visits Madame Renaud and discovers that two of the books are missing. The two they are searching for.

Serge Croix sends Gamache an email telling him that in the summer of 1869 there were three big digs—one at the Citadelle, one at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, and one to dig a basement under the local restaurant The Old Homestead. Visiting the restaurant, Gamache recognizes the site of the photo he found at Sean Patrick’s house.

Gamache then spends a few hours at the Lit and His examining their books. When he leaves he has two books hidden in his satchel.

At the meeting of the Société Champlain, Gamache tells a story about what happened in the summer of 1869. The two books missing from Renaud’s collection are the two books Gamache found at the Lit and His: one of Chiniquy’s diaries and Champlain’s bible! The bible shows that Champlain was a Huguenot, which is why he was not buried in the Catholic cemetery. Also, from the diary we learn that Patrick and O’Mara found Champlain’s coffin under the Old Homestead and brought it to the Lit and His. After the meeting, Gamache asks Émile. why he lied about the time the meeting started and why he didn’t tell him the SC appointment in Renaud’s diary was for a meeting at the Société Champlain. Émile.apologizes for lying and says they rejected meeting with Renaud, who told them he had discovered important information and was willing to bury it if they accepted him into the group.

Back at the Lit and His, we find Inspector Langlois and Serge Croix in the basement. Gamache wants them to search again for the coffin and when Croix sees Champlain’s bible he agrees. A coffin is found buried near the stairs. The coffin is opened and…it contains the skeleton of a woman.

That evening Gamache and Henri head out for their nightly walk. Even in a blizzard they walk on until they are at The Plains of Abraham, where they find they are not the only ones out on this frigid late evening. Entering a stone turret to get out of the storm, Gamache finds the mystery guest is the young Presbyterian minister, Tom Hancock, whom he identifies as Renaud’s killer. Tom doesn’t deny it and says he had to because he was the only one who could. Also, that he came out in the storm to take his own life to end things. Gamache refuses to let that happen and finally Tom agrees to go with him to be arrested.

Hermit’s Murder Revisited:

Beauvoir returns to the B&B after learning from Olivier that the Hermit’s name was not really Jakob. He decides to take Clara into his confidence and tell her the real reason he is back in Three Pines. Time for Beauvoir to question the original suspects, starting with Old Mundin and The Wife.

During an exercise class Clara and Myrna are debating if they should murder their instructor Pina. Elizabeth Gilbert and The Wife both agree that they should and need to do it now! After the class Clara tries to steer the conversation to help Beauvoir and asks Hanna if she could kill anyone. She is not sure, but both Dominique and The Wife say if they had to they could.

After hearing about this conversation, Beauvoir calls Gamache and says he needs his help about the murder of the Hermit. He has narrowed it down to five suspects—Havoc Parra and his father Roar, Vincent Gilbert and his son Marc, or Old Mundin. They all had opportunity, but what motive? Beauvoir suggests that maybe the murder had nothing to do with the treasure. Beauvoir ends the phone call by asking if the Chief could look into Carole Gilbert and Old Mundin’s backgrounds since they both came from Quebec City.

Gamache asks Elizabeth MacWhirter if she knew Carole Gilbert. It turns out there were in the same bridge club, but didn’t socialize otherwise. Elizabeth did add that Carole was very patient, very calm, and a great strategist. Also, her maiden name was Woloshyn. which was an old Québec family. She knew the Mundins as well and told Gamache the father committed suicide by walking out on the thin ice of the river.

Beauvoir begins to speculate that the treasure was not the reason for the murder, but was what brought the murderer to Three Pines. Beauvoir says if the treasures are not the key, then the words “woo” and “Charlotte” must be. Each of the suspects, except one, would have taken at least part of the treasure because they needed the money. Vincent Gilbert was the only one who had enough money and didn’t care about the treasure. Which is when the murderer stands up and reveals himself to be…Old Mundin.

Old Mundin, whose real name is Patrick, tells us he saw a walking stick of his father’s in the the Temps Perdu antique store. He knew then his father had been murdered because he never would have parted with any of his treasures. When he learned the seller had been Olivier he moved to Three Pines. It did not take long to realize that Olivier was not his father’s murderer, but his father’s treasures kept appearing for sale. Years later after marrying Michelle, The Wife, Old saw Olivier go off into the woods after locking up one Saturday night. He decided to follow him the next time he did this and discovered the cabin. When he looked in the window he recognized all the treasures from his father’s secret collection.

First, Patrick wanted to torment the Hermit with a spider web and wood carving of the word woo. When that didn’t seem to have any effect, Patrick took a menorah and hit the Hermit over the head, killing him. He left the body, figuring Olivier would find it and keep quiet because he still wanted the treasures. Upon further questioning we find out who the Hermit really was: he was Patrick’s father who faked his own death years ago and moved himself and his treasures to Three Pines!

We end with Gamache and Beauvoir delivering Olivier back to Three Pines a free man.

The Stakeout:

The burden is too much and Beauvoir has to tell someone his story and chooses Ruth, the one person he feels won’t judge him or care.

The frustration of not being able to trace the phone call from Morin grows, and Gamache goes against orders and secretly passes a note to Beauvoir to enlist the aid of Agent Nichol, who has been placed in Communications by Gamache to learn how to listen. She agrees, but needs Gamache to pause in talking so she can listen for ambient sounds in the background.

When the one clear word they hear is La Grande, Gamache pleads with Francoeur to at least put a few people on it and alert the security at the huge hydroelectric dam.

For the first time in their conversation, Gamache hears the fear in Morin’s voice. He asks Morin if he is afraid. Everything stops in the office as the agents all stare at Gamache and listen to Morin trying to be brave. When he finally admits that he is, Gamache tells him he will find him in time, and asks Morin if he trusts him. Morin says he does. When asked if he thinks Gamache would lie to him, Morin says “No sir, never.” Each time Morin’s voice has more confidence. Gamache then tells Morin, “I will find you in time,” and asks, “Do you believe me?” When Morin says he does, Gamache tells him to never, ever forget that.

While meeting with the Société Champlain, Gamache feels his phone buzzing over and over again. When he finally checks it, he sees he has 27 missed calls and Beauvoir is on the line now. Beauvoir breaks the news that a video has been released online. We learn that Beauvoir and Nichol were able to figure out where the factory was located from the background noise and they expected to find three kidnappers there. Gamache handpicked six agents to cover the chance there were more. There were: There were more than they could possibly have anticipated. After the phone call, Gamache has some phone calls to make: first to his wife, then to the officers who survived and the families of those who didn’t.

Beauvoir heads over to Ruth’s house again, where they sit and watch the video together. Back in Quebec City, Gamache and Émile.do the same. What follows is heartbreaking. Into the breach they went, determined to save one of their own. only to find themselves outnumbered. First Beauvoir went down with a gunshot wound… then Gamache. By the end there were three dead Surete officers and four wounded. Eight kidnappers were killed, one critically injured, and one captured. The plot to blow up the La Grande dam was stopped but at a price no one knew would be so high. Not just for the loss of life.

Gamache still blames himself as he tells Tom Hancock his story. When Tom asks if he knew how the video got out, Gamache says no. When asked if he had his suspicions, Gamache remembers the rage on Francoeur’s face when Gamache told him to send help to the dam. If Gamache was wrong he would resign, but if he was right and Francoeur did nothing, he would bring him up on charges. Gamache sees another face as well: one that saw everything, that heard everything, that remembered everything.

After dropping off Olivier at the Bistro in Three Pines, Gamache goes for a solitary walk outside. He sees the image of Morin’s dead body, found too late to save him. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me” is all he can say. This time there is no answer back.

Favorite Quote

There were a number of ones to choose from, but the one that has stuck with me was when Beauvoir was about to meet with the residents of Three Pines at the Bistro to reveal the murderer:

“Like the rest of Three Pines, and its residents, it took what was coming and remained standing.”

A simple thought that has so many meanings. We can look at this as a city, a family, or a person. Life can be challenging and it is how we deal with its ups and downs that define us. Thanks to the Gamache series it is comforting for the reader to know that no matter what is going on in our hectic lives we can always come back to Three Pines, sit in the Bistro by the fire, and feel at home.

Discussion Questions

1. While talking about Renaud, Émile comments that his lack of any friends is the price of greatness. When Gamache comments that he thought Émile. and the Champlain Society considered Renaud a kook, Émile. says “Aren’t most great people? True? Is this one of the costs of greatness?

2. Gamache is struck for the first time by how interesting the English expression to “know something by heart” is. “To commit something to memory was to know it by heart. Memories were kept in the heart, not the head. At least, that’s where the English kept their memories.” Are your great memories – tell us! – stored both in your heart and head?

3. Mr. Blake comments on how the British Museum has many treasures taken from graves and says it was a good thing; otherwise they would be looted or destroyed. Gamache thinks that one civilization’s courageous action was another’s violation. Such was history and hubris. Is it good to have these treasures in museums? Should they be returned to the countries they came from?

4. General Montcalm was originally buried after his injuries and the French loss at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The nuns had buried him there because they were afraid of English reprisals. Later he was dug up and his skull and a leg bone were reburied in a crypt in the chapel. Then recently he was reburied in a mass soldiers’ grave that contained the bodies of all the men who died in that one terrible hour. French and English together for eternity. Long enough to make peace. Should they have been buried together?

5. Croix tells a quote from Horace to Gamache who then finished it. Croix says “It is sweet and right to die for your country. Magnificent.” Gamache doesn’t agree and says “It’s an old and dangerous lie. It might be necessary, but it is never sweet and rarely right. It’s a tragedy.” Who is right? Is there a right answer?

6. Were you surprised to learn that Old Mundin was the real murderer of The Hermit? Whom did you suspect?

Joseph JonesAs the other half of the Jones team, Joseph is a Public Services Assistant at the Brooklyn Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library. He is a member of the library's Reconnect With Reading Action Group and also maintains his branch Twitter account. An unapologetic genre fan, you can also find Joe on his personal Twitter account discussing books, gaming, sports and his search for the perfect craft beer.

Discussion on “Bury Your Dead, Part 2

  1. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Hi Joe, Good questions. I’ll take # 6 first. I was very surprise to learn that Mundin had killed the Hermit, although, I had never believed that Olivier was the murderer. If he had been proven to be the murder by the reinvestigation, I would have continued to love and read the series but just “rewritten” that part in my mind.

  2. Linda Maday says:

    I was not surprised that “Old” Mundin killed the hermit. I was disappointed it was Mundin, but had always wondered about him being called “Old”. Such an odd coincidence.

    • Julie says:

      Linda – I’m not understanding the coincidence? Because the younger Mundin was called “Old” while the older had no name? I was very surprised it was Old – though I had no idea who else it might have been. I knew for sure it wasn’t Olivier – knew it “in my bones”, but didn’t know who it might be. There were a few red herrings in there about the collectors of the sculptures the hermit did, and I thought it might be some one of them.

      • Nancy Miller says:

        I think it’s the hermit’s continual use of the term “old son” that reveals the relationship in the end.

      • Linda Maday says:

        The hermit kept calling Olivier “Old Son” which term is as unusual as “Old Mundin” and thus seemed to me to be related.

        • Julie says:

          Okay…I’ve known a few people who’ve used that expression, and, indeed, we see Gamache say it to Beauvoir a few times, so it didn’t quite strike me that way. To be fair, I don’t think it passed anyone’s lips until The Brutal Telling.

  3. Meg R says:

    Just quick check to see if Part II was up yet for “Bury Your Dead”. Many errands this morning, but am so excited that I wanted to share. Just finished an absolutely incredible book that just won’t leave me alone! Images and characters stick with reader and won’t let go! Know many of the Louise Penny fan club are enamored with her fascination about “how the light gets in” in its various forms. Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See” will just amaze and astound you if you’re one of the Penny-light fans too! Will check back here later today. Seriously though, check out Doerr’s book! I don’t often make book recommendations to others, but this one is truly exceptional!

  4. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    #3 This is a question I have often thought about. I have enjoyed and learned from exhibits in many museums. For many years the fact that items came from other countries,never came to mind. Our local museum had many Native American artifacts and I never questioned the correctness. When the move to return artifacts, especially Human remains, to the Native American Tribes, I attended a symposium where a Native American speaker asked how we would feel if someone dug up (his words) an ancestor of ours. Our museum had no human remains or known grave items but his words caused me to support the removal of Native American human remains from display and return to the correct Tribe.
    The British Museum is a very special place we can visit on line when we return from England. I agree that the items were kept safe from destruction and those removed from the ground were done so under the archeological protocols of the time. However, looted still seems the appropriate word in many instances. I do think Items should be returned if requested by the country from where they were taken. If they will be kept safe. That would prohibit the return to some countries at this time. The precious artifacts should not be lost to the world. It is truly a thorny issue. Reading over this, I hope I don’t sound like an American saying we know what is best. But the Artifacts must be put first.

    • Julie says:

      I have been struck by this question often in my life – I think the first time I heard about it, was in hearing of the “Elgin marbles”. How they came to be called that was always a source of wonder to me. These are the marble friezes that were on the Parthenon, though they became known by the name of the man who stole them. I know there has been debate that the Greek government would not have preserved them as they ought to be – but I find this argument so subjective. Who is to say how things “ought to be”? Certainly not Lord Elgin, who used his influence as British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire to deface the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis! And how fitting that the British government decided that since they were already here, they should take them over and “preserve” them for the rest of us to see. I have been to see them – would far rather have seen them in place. I know the argument is that they wouldn’t be there any longer, but I think that would have been because someone other than Lord Elgin would have looted them, and they’d be in some other country’s museum, or a private collection. However I look at these things – whether it’s Egyptian mummies (which is simply grave-robbing) or other artifacts, I’m afraid I look at these practices as similar to zoos, which is I think, one of the most inhumane things that we people do. Why should such things or creatures be displayed for our amusement? And why are the countries of origin’s requests that such things be returned not honored? Who are we to judge who is “worthy” to have their own historic documents and artifacts?

  5. Lizzy says:

    #6. First, thanks Joe. I so agree with your view about re-reading books! However, I am really enjoying re-reading Louise!

    I was surprised by Old. I did come to the conclusion that the hermit was his dad. How heartbreaking for Old to find out! I was sick over that.

  6. Lizzy says:

    #5. It is sweet and right to die for your country. I agree. It is never sweet. That’s some kind of poetic, romantic idea. It might be right at times, such as if your country was under attack and it must be defended. It can be heroic. But I don’t believe sweet.

    • Ruth says:

      I agree with you on this. Gamache calling it a tragedy makes a lot of sense to me because I see war as tragedy. Sometimes it is necessary to fight if your country is attacked but that doesn’t diminish the tragedy of the loss of life and destruction of the land and property. There is nothing poetic or romantic about war as far as I see.

      • Wendy says:

        Do I remember correctly that Gamache’s father advocated against war and was called a coward? The Inspector arms himself and kills to protect, but it takes a toll on him.

  7. Lizzy says:

    Is it good to have these treasures in museums? Should they be returned to the countries they came from?

    Tricky. So many variables. I think human remains should not be a part of a display. But artifacts and such is a way to keep history alive and real. To see where people have come from, their way of life and traditions. It is fascinating and can be sobering.

    • Linda Maday says:

      I think the ethics of having treasures in museums depends on how they were obtained. If they were looted or taken as an act of war, then I believe they should be returned. If they were obtained through legitimate means, then no.

      There has been so much cultural exchange and mixing through the ages, having access to cultural items from other areas can help people identify and relate to their roots, or become more familiar with their neighbors and friends.

      I don’t believe human remains should be displayed.

      I do believe that in some instances the laws regarding archeological items has gotten rather extreme. Graves should be sacrosanct, but found items that weren’t connected to graves or burials should fall under more lenient laws regarding ownership or display.

  8. Lizzy says:

    True? Is this one of the costs of greatness? I don’t think so. One can look at famous, great men through history and find that they weren’t all kooks . Many had a following if not friends. Off the top of my head I think of Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison. Some of our presidents were great men with friends.

  9. Sharon Gilligan says:

    I also rarely reread a book, and debated with myself about rereading this one. I found that I was able to be less involved with the plot and more involved with the emotions and language. I love Louise Penny’s characters who are so human, have flaws and even the flawed have goodness. The tension between the two cultures, the tension in individuals, between individuals is so well described that it seems to reference my own life. My favorite line: I was wrong. I’m sorry. I don’t know. I need help. Why are those words so hard to spit out at times?

  10. Sharon Norris says:

    I have a question for discussion. Gamache doesn’t allow the female detective who helped locate the factory to go on the raid, although she was ready and expected to go. She showed her ability with a gun in a previous book. Why didn’t Gamache let her go? Her lack of tact wouldn’t be relevant. Was it because she’s a female? What do you think will be the result?

    • Lizzy says:

      Sharon, I was wondering that. Maybe he felt she was too inexperienced for what they were about to do?

    • Linda Maday says:

      I believed that he wanted her to continue to help with the communications. It can’t have been because she was a woman as Lacoste was at the factory.

      • Cathryne Spencer says:

        I think it was also because he still doesn’t trust her judgement. Put a gun in Yvette Nicole’s hand? The thought scares me to death.

        • Julie says:

          Me, too, Cathryne – I think that Nichol has proven herself very intelligent, but without good judgment. I think, until she can be absolutely trusted to follow orders without question, then she has no place in such a raid. Split-second decisions were required by Gamache, and he needed a team he absolutely knew would do as he asked without second-guessing him. Nichol doesn’t do that. Will she ever learn this?

          • Michele says:

            Also, Nicole doesn’t understand the concept of working in a group. There has to be an element of trust in this kind of situation between the members. Nicole wasn’t trusted and she hadn’t tried to win that trust, either. He was right to leave her behind.

          • Meg R says:

            Sharon, Lizzy, Linda, Cathyrne, Julie, Michele: I agree with all of you about Nichol, but I think Michele has maybe discovered the core of why Yvette was not included in the rescue team. She hasn’t yet learned that she has to rely on others and they on her. She’s contributed to discovering where Paul Morin was situated – but by operating solely down in her basement cubicle – away from everyone else. She hasn’t managed to make it to the light of the squad room and of team players. She loves being unique and providing something that she sees as others incapable of doing. Not exactly someone you’d want to protect your back. Seem to recall that we will see a little more of her to come, but don’t recall if she manages to ever grow out of her adolescent self-absorption phase.

          • Nancy N. says:

            I catch myself getting impatient for fast resolutions. This author takes her time in character development, and Agent Nichole is a tough nut. She’s still under her father’s thumb, so it’s not just her on the job. Her father can insert himself into any situation wherever she is, tagging along blindly on her cell phone. It’s another delightful complication to the story.

          • Nancy N. says:

            I find the blooming relationship between Jean-Guy and Ruth a grace note in the series, so reassuring about them both. We don’t know anything about Jean-Guy’s childhood, other than the briefest hints. He has found a father in Gamache, and now maybe a mother in Ruth. When he confides in her, as he is leaving, he sees the flannel blanket nest she has prepared for her duck daughter. “Ready. Just in case.” That is my favorite quote in this book. I feel like I received a gift when I discovered the world of Three Pines.

          • Wendy says:

            I wonder if the Inspector could not risk another young officer that he mentors.

  11. Lizzy says:

    Are your great memories – tell us! – stored both in your heart and head?

    I believe they are in our hearts when they are not just great, but good. I think some memories can be great, but bad. They are in our heart like a scar. Most my great memories involve family which in turn involves love. So it’s all intertwined in the heart that way. But then I think of people who have dementia and can’t recognize their loved ones. Where are their memories? It’s so sad.

    • Julie says:

      That’s a haunting thought, Lizzy – where are the memories of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia? My memories are definitely etched in my heart – even those pieces of poetry I learned in school “by heart”. I am so often struck by the thought that we are made up of our memories. These wonderful parts of our lives (and sometimes, not-so-wonderful parts) are seen through a filter, and it’s how we interpret them that makes us who we are. I definitely think our “selves” are in our hearts (or our souls, depending on your point of view) and so yes, our memories are definitely preserved in our hearts.

  12. Karen I Ford says:

    I, too, never believed that Olivier could have been the murderer, but I questioned why he did not fight harder to prove he was innocent. Is it the difference between the law in Quebec, based on Napoleonic law, vs English common law??? It was always Gabri who bombarded Gamache with his insistence that Olivier was innocent!
    I was surprised that “Old Mundin” murdered the Hermit, his own father. What a strange twist in this book.
    It was interesting that JG chooses to bond with Ruth and to tell her the story. Ruth claims to have no mothering instincts, yet that is exactly what we see her doing with JG.
    The most difficult part was learning of the betrayal by the Francoeur and the stakeout that ended so horribly for Gamache and his men.
    As an old history teacher, the plot regarding Champlain was fascinating and has caused me to look more closely at his story. What we teach, in the class time allotted, barely skims the reality the time and place.
    There is no easy answer with regard to museums and the information that is available for us to view and study. It is one thing to have articles given to a museum by a family or as a “spoils of war” but historically is important to see the artifacts as they were and used. I am very lucky as my children and grandchildren are as interested in visiting museums and art galleries as I am, a love that was passed on to me and my siblings by our father.
    there were so many stories encapsulated in this book. I love how Louise is able to weave so many story lines and not lose the reader. With each book, the layers of personalities are unfolding — it makes you hunger for the next installment.
    Gamache is the most vulnerable in this book. We see him very broken at this point and questioning his decisions. Yet, for him to heal, he needs to find himself and he does this by reaching outside is experience and use his skills as an investigator in a different way.
    As always, there are so many questions that need answers — that is why we keep coming back to read her books.

    • Julie says:

      Karen, I, too, was dismayed to see that Olivier didn’t work harder to prove his innocence. I think that Quebec civil law is different, but criminal law is the same in Quebec as the rest of Canada. But it may be that he had no real understanding one way or another of how the law works. He may have held the naive thought that since he was innocent, he couldn’t possibly be convicted. In hindsight, I’m sure he realized that if he’d told the truth from the beginning (and not moved the body – nope, I won’t let that go, hahaha), he’d have been believed and Gamache and his team could have proven him innocent. The best illustration of how you ought to let Gamache decide what’s important, is the innocuous-seeming lie that the hermit was Czech, and his name was Jakob. This stopped a whole line of questioning that ultimately was what proved his innocence.

      • PEGGY BURDICK says:

        Olivier is incapable of defending himself because then he’d have to reveal secrets, lies, failings, and inclinations that he’s kept hidden his whole life. The more of a defense he’d mount, the more he’d have to open himself up — that exposure would be like a thousand cuts. He did some despicable things that, if he was my spouse/partner, I would have great difficulty ever trusting him again. But as a village friend and partner to heroic/loving (more than I could ever be) Gabri, I’d take him back in an instant.

        Olivier and Nicole have very annoying personalities that repel and attract simultaneously. I just want to slap them — and then hold them tightly so they don’t continue to hurt themselves and others.

        • Julie says:

          Peggy – I know that this is what Olivier is doing, but instead of protecting his secrets, they still all came out – every one of them – and the thousand cuts became like 10,000 because at each point in the investigation, he would say that NOW he’s telling them the truth. When that, again, was proved not to be the case, it was far worse than if he’d told everything in the first place. This was not Olivier’s first rodeo – he’d seen several homicide investigations in the past, and he should have known that it would all come out in the end. If he’d forgotten that, Gamache reminded him of it several times.

          Especially, once he was truly faced with jail (which would have been pretty brutal for Olivier, I’m guessing), why didn’t he, finally, tell everything? Why was there one last lie to find out after he’d been convicted of this crime? I know that this is pointless to ask – Olivier will never really be able to explain it, but still, I’m frustrated with him, because I like him so much!

          I do think his anger with Gamache is his nature – blame anyone other than himself – and it rings very true to me. I just wish he could have been more open. Of course, then, there wouldn’t have been a book, hahahaha.

          • Yemi says:

            I like most found Olivier’s behavior in this case baffling, and very frustrating. I also did not like the fact that Gamache felt guilty,I could understand him feeling bad for putting a friend in jail, but so called friend did everything to put himself there. Olivier’s indignation just burns my nerves, every time it comes up. I want to scream at him, you owe Gamache an apology, he is the one that was let down by you.

    • Judy S. says:

      Karen, I’m confused- how did Francoeur betray Gamache in this book? His is one thread I lose track of, and I would love to get it straight. Thanks!

      • Sharon Norris says:

        He tried his best to keep Gamache away from sending people to check the dam in the first place. He wanted to keep them following the hunt for whoever killed one agent and kidnapped another. Except for Gamache’s secret weapon in the Communications room, this would have been impossible in the time, Gamache would have been a failure at saving his man, and the dam would have been destroyed flooding the area. Leading to who knows what consequences. Even if Gamache found the.hostage, it was a trap which might well have killed . Who was behind it all we don’t know at this point.

  13. Linda Maday says:


    My husband and I take our registered therapy pets to visit assisted care facilities where we have many friends with dementia or Alzheimers. Though they often don’t recognize their loved ones, we are often touched by the beautiful memories that they share with us.

    They talk about their favorite pets. They share stories of when they were children and talk about their parents and siblings. We’ve come to understand that they must be sharing those memories they “knew by heart,” those ones so precious that they are accessed by different, deeper emotions. Their families often despair at not being recognized, but often if they would just visit the land their loved one currently resides in, instead of trying to drag them back to the here and now, they would learn so much about what was held deeply in their loved ones heart.

    We were so excited a few weeks ago when we visited with our little Shih Tzus. After many, many, many visits where we introduced ourselves each time, we had a different experience. When we entered the building of one of the Alzheimer’s units, several of the residents turned around and waved and cheered. “It’s our puppy people!” They exclaimed over and over, waving and smiling. We knew then that for the first time they had remembered us with their hearts.

    • Cathryne Spencer says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! Your information is incredibly important. We can make a profound difference in someone’s life even if they don’t recognize us from visit to visit. I think most people, including me, don’t have nearly enough understanding of dementia.

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Thank you for what you and your dogs do. I have seen people respond to therapy dogs when they would not interact with people. There is just something so wonderful that happens between dogs and people. Your statement that “if they would just visit the land their loved ones currently reside in” explains why patients sometimes respond to people other than their family. Family needs to go to where they are because they can not come to them.

    • Nancy N. says:

      I had a similar experience with my sister-in-law. I found myself practically testing her memory. Then, appalled at myself, I let her direct the conversation. She talked about many things I was happy to hear, hadn’t known before, and to be with this warm and funny woman was quite a treat for me. We learn from everyone.

      • Julie says:

        I want to thank you, too, for bringing your dogs to patients, Linda. I’ve never needed this service, but expect I will once day, and it’s wonderful to think there are people like you who devote your very precious time and energy to others. Not to mention that the dogs do “what comes naturally”and bring so much joy!

    • Ruth says:

      This is so insightful and touching. I will never think of those with memory loss in the same way again.

    • Judy S. says:

      Linda, thanks so much for sharing this story – and for what you do. My dad is in a dementia unit, and we have had to learn to let him guide the course of our visits. We have come to see parts of his heart that he never shared before, which helps to allay some of the pain of feeling that we have lost him…

  14. Julie says:


    I think a great many people with big ideas are considered kooks until such time as history proves they were right! I think this as sure as I think the world is flat and no “Magellan-come-lately” is going to prove otherwise! ;-p

  15. Julie says:


    I think it is fitting that they be buried together – they died together, at the moment of the creation of a new country. No matter which side they were on, they were coming together in a destiny that was very important to many people for a long time. And to be buried together near the site of the actual battle is important, too, I think. If we are to learn anything from history, we seem to need to learn from visual cues. Having so much history all around in Quebec City has, I think, helped to preserve the sense that history is important, not just to see where we’ve been, but also to see where we’re going (to continue the rowboat analogy).


    Hmmmm – the people in the battle on the Plain of Abraham were English and French – neither was Canadian. The true Canadian people were forgotten in this fight. (I’m feeling particularly philosophical today – I may have much more sang-froid tomorrow!) So first of all, these people died in fighting for something that really wasn’t going to mean that much to their own country one way or the other. England would still be England and France would still be France after the battle, no matter how it turned out. So in this way, I think it was neither sweet nor right. There are times when I think it is right to die for your country, though it is hard to find such circumstances in the wars people are waging today. Like Lizzy, I think it is never sweet. Think how much sweeter it would be if every soldier out there came home today!

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