Recipe - Book 7: A Trick of the Light


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“People don’t change,” said Beauvoir, squashing his burger and watching the juices ooze out.

Chief Justice Pineault and Suzanne had left, walking over to the B and B. And now, finally, Inspector Beauvoir could discuss murder, in peace.

“You think not?” asked Gamache. On his plate were grilled garlic shrimp and quinoa-mango salad. The barbeque was working overtime for the hungry lunch crowd, producing char-grilled steaks and burgers, shrimp, and salmon.

“They might seem to,” said Beauvoir, picking his burger up, “but if you were a nasty piece of work growing up, you’ll be an asshole as an adult and you’ll die pissed off.

He took a bite. Where once this burger, with bacon and mushrooms, caramelized onions, and melting blue cheese, would have sent him into raptures, now it left him feeling slightly queasy. Still, he forced himself to eat, to appease Gamache . . . .

Across the table Chief Inspector Gamache took a forkful of grilled garlic shrimp and the quinoa-mango salad with genuine enjoyment . . . .

This was Beauvoir’s favorite part of an investigation. Not the food, though in Three Pines that was never a hardship. He could remember other cases, in other places, when he and the Chief had gone days with barely anything to eat, or shared cold canned peas and Spam. Even that, he had to admit, had been fun. In retrospect.

But this little village produced bodies and gourmet meals in equal proportion.

A Trick of the Light

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 pound (450 g) medium shrimp (about 24 per pound/half kilo), shelled and deveined
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or a blend of 1 tablespoon each olive and sesame oil)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup (128 g) quinoa
  • 1¼ cups (300 ml) cold water
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or scallions
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or olive oil
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pit removed, and flesh cut into ¾ x ¼-inch (2 x .5-cm) matchsticks
  • ¼ cup (23 g) toasted sliced almonds *
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


  • Toss the shrimp, minced garlic, olive oil, (or olive oil sesame oil blend, if using) together in a bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss again. The shrimp may be marinated up to several hours before cooking. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water for at least 3 minutes. Drain. Bring the 1¼ cups water and a large pinch of sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the quinoa and return to a boil. Stir once thoroughly, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover the pan and cook for 18 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, stir the lime juice, cilantro or scallions, and the 2 tablespoons of sesame or olive oil together in a serving bowl. Add the mango and let stand, tossing once or twice while the shrimp cook.
  • When the quinoa is cooked, remove it from the heat and uncover it. Fluff a few times with a fork.
  • Thread 3 shrimp onto each of 8 short (5- to 6-inch/13- to 15-cm) skewers. Preheat a grill pan or large heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal for either type of pan) over medium-high heat. Lay the shrimp into the hot pan and cook, turning once, until they are cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir the still-warm quinoa into the dressed mango and toss well. Add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Pile some of the salad in the center of four salad plates. Scatter the almonds over the salad, and arrange the shrimp skewers around the salad. Pass extra lime wedges if you like.

* To toast sliced almonds: Preheat an oven to 350°F (177°C). Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and bake, stirring around once, until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

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