Gamache Series Open Discussion

Join us here in The Bistro for a discussion on the entire Gamache series. Feel free to ask or answer any questions about any of the books or the series as a whole.

Paul Hochman

Discussion on “Gamache Series Open Discussion

  1. Cathryne Spencer says:

    I just want to say that I ordered 2 Vive Gamache mugs a couple of months ago and I love them, the quality, the size, shape, and especially the three pine trees. They came right away and, enclosed, was a licorice pipe! It was such a nice surprise that I shared half with my husband. We agreed, delicious!

    • Joyce Lewis says:

      Where did you order the mugs?

      • patricia klein says:

        Hello Joyce, I am wondering where your purchased the mugs. Thanks! Pat

      • Dave says:

        This is my email order contact for the mugs.


        We have been inundated with orders for mugs since our favourite author posted that we sell them in her newsletter. We have unfortunately run out of stock of the mugs. We are expecting a new shipment of mugs to arrive on December 8th.

        The Three Pines cafe au lait mugs sell for $20. Shipping one mug to On adds $11 or $13 for two. You can view the products on our web page or by going to the following link:

        You can purchase online or give us a call at 450-242-2242.

        Thank you and Vive Gamache

        Lucy Hoblyn

        Livres Lac-Brome Inc.
        Brome Lake Books
        Tel: 450 242-2242
        Fax: 450 242-1368

      • Where did you get the mugs?

    • Roslyn Shaw says:

      From whom did you order the mugs……I must have a couple!

    • Tanya says:

      I have just recently stumbled upon these novels/author. I am anxious to read the first book, still life. I am an avid reader and glad to have found this forum.

      • Connie G. says:

        Don’t hesitate! Armand Gamache series is second to none. Even better than, or in addition to, reading this series is to LISTEN to the audio books. It will enhance your appreciation of all the characters. And you’ll get to know each of them intimately.

        • Connie S. says:

          I, too, listen to the audiobooks on my daily commute to school. I really miss Ralph Cosham, but will get used to the new reader. I do, however, cringe every time the new reader pronounces surete. I listened to a French dictionary and the correct pronunciation is like Ralph’s.

          • Julie Hunter says:

            I miss Ralph! Why not replace him with a Quebecois actor/voice talent? It seems an elegant solution. I find it extremely jarring to hear the voice of Gamache sound like he just walked out of Downtown Abby… which he did. It’s an insult to 3 Pines, and all of French speaking Canada.

          • Julie Hunter says:

            I miss Ralph! Why not replace him with a Quebecois actor/voice talent? It seems an elegant solution. I find it extremely jarring to hear the voice of Gamache sound like he just walked out of Downton Abby… which he did. It’s an insult to 3 Pines, and all of French speaking Canada.

          • Susan T Case says:

            Robert Bathurst valiantly took on the reading of the Inspector Gamache books following Ralph Cosham’s death. I was a great fan of Mr. Cosham, for this series and many other books, and was awfully sad to hear of his passing.

            Please open your mind to a different narrator. Mr. Bathurst is excellent, and carries on the legacy with honors. He was a cast member of Downton Abbey and quite an accomplished actor. He brings much to the continuing enjoyment of the Inspector Gamache novels.

        • Elaine Hurst says:

          Yes, yes, yes!!! Listen to them! I have done that with most of the books, and now am reading through the series.

          • Connie says:

            Ditto! Once Roger passed, I couldn’t imagine listening to “imposters” living the lives of my beloved Three Pines residents. And Ruth! No one can do Ruth better than Roger Cosham, ma he RIP.
            Now, I only read the new books. And I listen to the original narrator, Roger Cosham, religiously over and over. They are all in my audio library from I love these people! Ralph brought them to life beautifully. Each one has his or her own voice and nuances and attitudes. Thank you, Ralph.

        • Patricia Stevens says:


          • Susan says:

            Why did they replace Ralph as the reader?? I am not sure I will ever adapt to the new reader. I am now reading THE LONG WAY HOME and thank goodness Ralph is the narrator.

            It is so interesting to have Gamache and wife living there. Bravo to Penny for coming up with this book. I never want the series to end.

      • Connie says:

        When I first happened upon these books by Louise Penny it was the audio version of “How The Light Gets In”. My life has not been the same since.

    • Julie says:

      Somehow, the comments early on here are jumbled up and not in any order, really, at all. Anyone who would like to make a comment and have those of us still in the Bistro see it and talk with you about the books, please just go to the bottom of the page and write in the blank there – it SHOULD then track to the bottom of page 81, where we’ll all see it. There are a few of us who are hanging around in the Bistro every day, amusing ourselves with talk of other books, other things, writing stories, etc. – we’d love to have you drop in and bring up talk of any of the books (or any other thing, really). So, rather than reply to a person or a specific post, just go to the bottom of the page and reply there – and we should see it right at the end. C’mon in… the water’s fine.

      • Chandra says:

        Is there a search feature for specific topics?
        I’m so thrilled to have found ‘The Nature of the Feast’,
        as this gift to readers answered multiple questions at once.
        Kind regards,

    • JB says:

      The mugs make much excellent soup bowls!

  2. Millie says:

    Hi Cathryne, just posted a note on thoughts regarding Jean Guy on the previous thread when I saw Paul’s comment that the Bistro was open. Love the photo – a chair by the fireplace. How perfect. Big hug of thank you, Paul!

    OK, I’ll have to order some mugs. One, I love mugs and two I want to know what a licorice pipe is! ;-)

    Cathryne, should we continue the discussion here? I found your and Linda’s lasts comments thought provoking and would like to follow them through a bit more.

    • Julie says:

      I’m loving it! Thank you, Paul – this is perfect! Linda, and Cathryne – I’d like to continue whatever conversations here – I’ve somehow gotten lost on the last threads – I see there are more comments by the number listed, but I can’t seem to find the new ones. Must be that “high state of confusion”!

      • Barbara H. Johnson says:

        It had gotten hard to find the new comments. I found myself searching for one I had read but didn’t have time to comment on till later. Took several searches to find it. This site is great.

    • Lucy Ladham-Dyment says:

      Licorise pipes. Black licorice pipe with red candy beads, ones used to decorate cookies, glued into the bowl of the pipe.

      • I loved black licorice pipes when I was pregnant-an absolute craving.
        One day my husband purchased an entire box of the black things and it was heaven-better even if they are stale.

  3. Julie says:

    Cathryne – thanks for the “review” on the coffee mugs – I often wonder about such things. I just watched “Still Life” on Acorn TV – and I see why Louise was not as pleased as she’d hoped. She has never come out and said she didn’t like what they did, but she has hinted at it by saying she finally felt that she had to “distance herself” from the production. I would think it would be very, very hard to see your creation taken up by others and dressed up a little differently. I’ve been watching “Outlander”, and I know that Diana Gabaldon had a lot of input into the series, and it shows – while it’s not the book, word for word, the feel is just right, and the casting is sublime!

    I know a lot of people thought Nathanial Hawthorne would be their ideal choice for Gamache, and he was great, but pretty much the whole rest of the movie was mis-cast. I know a movie can’t possibly match what I have in my minds’ eye, but I feel like the producers just completely ignored the descriptions of people, and subsequently, the “feel” was all wrong. Of course, there were things that had to be toned down (Ruth’s language, and a lot of Gabri and Olivier’s dialog), all together – it was kind of unsettling. Like the story had been usurped and put someplace other than three pines…. such a shame. I really wanted to like it.

    I very seldom see a movie before I read a book because I feel like the movie is never as good as the book, and so can act just as a “spoiler”, but even so – lots of times, I’ve enjoyed both the book and the movie. I wish this was one of those times, but it’s not.

    • Karen Gast says:

      I’m so often disappointed in the movies made from books I like that I’m not sure I’d even want to view this. For instance, why tone down Ruth’s language? I guess they could “bleep” it out as they do on The Daily Show, but that’s Ruth, that’s the character. Sigh …

      • Barbara Green says:

        Karen, I had made up my mind early on that I would probably not watch the movies. This series is so full of characters I’ve come to know and love. Louise Penny’s descriptive language could not begin to be captured on the screen without scrambling my own perceptions and ideas. Ruth’s language is part of who she is. Gamache’s strength is as much a part of what defines him as is his gentle tenderness, not only to his loved ones but to people he comes to know throughout each book.
        There is so much “feeling” and mystery I’d like to just keep it on the printed page and in my mind.

    • sharon says:

      I did see the movie and I think it was a mistake. I would rather it would be a series, like Midsomer Murders which I have enjoyed for years.

    • Julia Bishop says:

      Nathaniel Hawthorne? You mean Parker! He is a lovely actor and probably just about OK for Gamache but, as you say, the rest were horribly miscast. At least the story was almost correct. I’ve watched adaptions of books by P D James and Rosamund Pilcher where the only connection with the original was the name of the characters. The adaptors had the sauce to tell me that they had improved on the story! Why, then, buy it in the first place? Never mind, we can now look forward to “The Beast”. Here, in England, my copy is already on order.

      • Penelope Schmitt says:

        Funny, I just stumbled onto Still Life on Netflix the other night, and thought Parker was the WORST casting mistake of all. The others — well, I could live with the choices even if they weren’t the people I’d have ‘seen.’ Gamache to my mind looks a bit like pictures of Einstein when he was in his 40s–mustached, a little rumpled, but absolutely a gentleman and a scholar with a kindly, wise, and thoughtful face. Jean-Guy, a younger Kevin Spacey. Others? They look like neighbors and friends I know. The Gabri of this production was only a tiny bit plump, while his partner looked cadaverous. Of course turning the books into a movie 90 minutes long means a lot of plot pruning, and that doesn’t work well either.

    • judi says:

      it was Nathaniel Parker who played Gamache

    • Anne R. says:

      I prefer to read the books, I can visualize the people and the videos just lead to disappointment. We probably see the backgrounds and personalities differently, so it is nice not to have to accept another’s view.

    • Sharon Bouchard says:

      I also do not watch a movie before reading a book that I really like. In my case, it’s not like….but love….I really love the Three Pines Mysteries. I was very curious about how the movie “Still Life” might be carried out… I actually bought the DVD (and still own it) and my husband & I watched it together. It was indeed a disappointment because it was definitely not done the way I would have liked….especially the ending. :( I wish I could have been the casting director because most of the characters do not match the visualizations in my mind. I’m sorry my husband was introduced to a Louise Penny story in this manner (he is not an avid reader like myself). I can see how it must have been so hard for Louise to see what they were doing to her story and I am so sorry for her. However, this is what happens when you sell rights to your story. I certainly hope there will never be another movie made from any of her other books. — Finally, when I’m really into a book I can visualize every character just the way I want them to be. It’s so disappointing when they do not match my images. This happened many years ago when the first “Godfather” movie was made. Al Pacino was wonderful in these movies but he was not at all how I had pictured Michael Corleone while I was reading the book. — I cherish all my Armand Gamache/Three Pines mysteries….keep them coming, Louise. :)

    • Eugenia Burkes says:

      If you’re also a fan of Michael Connelly, I hope you have seen the excellent job of bringing his Bosch series to TV. It’s on Amazon, so nothing had to be toned down, and Connelly was actively involved. I’ve never seen such perfect casting. They have really brought the books to life.

      • Christa Velbel says:

        Eugenia, I completely agree about ‘Bosch’! It’s a winner of a screen adaptation. I have read a number of Connoly’s books only after discovering the character through the TV series. The author is an executive producer of the show, so he’s done a great job of maintaining creative control and realizing his vision. He was recently a guest host on TCM, picking crime story films all day and discussing his choices between films with the lovely and talented Ben Mankiewicz. MC has a real knack for connecting character and story and performer. The series has a great visual sensibility and wonderful soundtrack as well. Not many authors get this much say in bringing their work to the screen; he’s made the most of the opportunity.

    • Connie G. says:

      I didn’t know about this series being produced for film! I would be afraid to watch it and have all my wonderful personal images and knowledge, and VOICES, of the beloved Three Pines characters and residents “tampered with”. I say, “voices” because I’ve only ever listened to the series! The narrator, Ralph Cosham, hits a homerun on each and every Book and character. I highly recommend listening to this series–once, twice, etc., now and in the years to come. Im so happy I have all my friends with me. I purchased them all through They are mine forever.

    • Elaine Hurst says:

      I was excited to see the “Still Life” movie, and then so disappointed when I did. The characters were not at all as they “should” have been. Maybe someone will redo it and do it “right”.

  4. Cathryne Spencer says:

    Julie, page 3, 7th down, Linda’s post starts a discussion about Massey keeping one painting of Norman’s in his studio.
    Yes, fine with me to continue here.

    • Julie says:

      Ah – yes – thank you, Cathryne. I didn’t give this much thought as I read it (either time), but now, you are making me think, Linda! I halfway imagine that he hoped that people would think it was his, but of course, it HAD to be eating him up inside to see it every day. I would think it would fester and drive him even further into madness. You’d think it would be so painful that he would get rid of it. Someone said, but I can’t remember who – or even if it was part of a discussion here, or in the book – that maybe he couldn’t because he had to acknowledge that it was great art. He might have wanted to throw it away, but just couldn’t bring himself to. I don’t know if I think that. I do think he recognized how great it was, but whether he had enough sensitivity to not be able to destroy something beautiful, I somehow don’t think so…

  5. pat says:

    Where can I buy the vive Gamache mugs? My brother-in-law and I are both Louise Penny readers and I want one for him for a Christmas gift. And one for me because…

  6. Lynne says:

    I am posting in response to Linda’s remarks on the Reading Group Guide page about Ruth’s poem in relation to both Peter and Jean-Guy. When Ruth explained that she had written it for Peter, I remembered immediately about her having given it to Jean-Guy. As always with Louise’s writing, it made me feel more than I think I have writing ability to express–I’m not nearly as articulate as some of the posters on this forum–but I’m going to try. I think that perhaps the similarities between Peter and Jean-Guy don’t so much point to the future, but are drawing attention to the fact both of them began very closed off from their hearts and have been on a journey to reconnect with their emotional selves(Jean-Guy almost from the beginning of the series, but Peter only since Clara told him to leave). I think their two journeys also connect to the ideas of fate/luck/chance/self-determination embodied in the story about Samara. Though they started at a similar place, Jean-Guy and Peter ended up in very different circumstances. Jean-Guy is facing a happy future(though of course there will be struggles and setbacks, because life is like that) and Peter is dead. Is it just luck? Both of them had encounters with violent criminals, but Jean-Guy lived. Jean-Guy also survived his addictions when many others don’t. Or maybe it’s the differences between them. It always seemed to me that Jean-Guy had switched off his emotions because he couldn’t deal with the ugliness he saw in his work if he had to feel it, but that Peter was emotionally stunted because of his cold and unloving family. Jean-Guy kept reaching for emotional connections,though hestitantly–to Gamache, to Ruth, to Annie–almost despite himself. But Peter would probably have gone on just as he was if Clara hadn’t gotten fed up. Also, though the poem was about Peter, he probably didn’t know it that it was. In order to properly put the poem together, Jean-Guy had to really engage with it and absorb the message that love can heal the damage inflicted by senseless cruelty. Even though I’ve gone on at great length, I’m not sure I’ve said what I intended, but I hope this makes some sense.

    • Linda Maday says:

      You expressed it beautifully!

      When Gamache stated that Peter was on a quest to rediscover his heart Ruth said he was on a quest to discover his heart. A person could not rediscover something they had never once found.

      Ruth has always had an affinity for Jean Guy and has seemed like a watch person over his heart and soul through several books. It was she who placed her most cherished Rosa in Jean Guy’s arms and reminded him of that Deity that could also heal.

      Both Jean Guy and Peter are eventually healed, each made their way down treacherous roads. Jean Guy was forced to shoot the one person he most cared for, and Peter gave his life for the one he most loved.

      For those who don’t recall the poem in question:
      I just sit where I am put, composed
      Of stone and wishful thinking:
      that deity who kills for pleasure
      Will also heal
      That in the midst of your nightmare,
      The final one, a kind lion
      Will come with bandages in her mouth
      And the soft body of a woman
      And lick you clean of fever,
      And pick your soul up gently
      By the nape of the neck
      And caress you into darkness
      And paradise.

      Though not printed in its entirety in TLWH, it was this poem that showed, to me, the miracle of Ruth. For Jean Guy it was a warning. For Peter It was as though she knew the end from the beginning.

      Peter found his heart just before he was stabbed in the heart. In the midst of his final nightmare Clara picked him up gently and caressed him into darkness and paradise.

      • Millie says:

        Thanks Linda, more clarity. Didn’t see your comment till after I posted mine. So many paths to understanding what Louise makes us feel…

      • Gigi says:

        Thank you Linda for sharing that wonderful poem, I enjoyed it again today when I was reading your comment. Gigi

    • Millie says:

      Lynne, makes perfect sense and very well said. Great job! (And please don’t doubt your ability to be articulate – you just proved you are! :-)) It was what I was starting to think too, but you highlighted so much more than I ever would have thought of. I was noticing other things as I reread the last few chapters of TBT. It’s the only LP book I’ve read only once – it hurt too much to see Olivier become an ‘outsider’ – ‘beyond the pale’…

      I loved how you said these books make us “feel” so much. Very true for me. So I decided to reread the last few chapters…

      I had completely forgotten that Clara had painted herself. Thérèse Brunel says “The Fall. My God, you’ve painted the Fall. That moment. She’s not even aware of it, is she? Not really, but she sees something, a hint of the horror to come. The Fall from Grace.” Then asks Clara what she is afraid of: “I’m afraid of not recognizing Paradise.”

      That’s right before Jean Guy pieces the entire poem together. He’s already recognized that Annie is Paradise for him, not Enid. I totally agree with you that Jean Guy took a very long way home but made it out on the other side of his nightmare.

      There’s another mention of ‘living everyone’s nightmare’ in TLWH, but I’m tired and don’t recall exactly where… Tomorrow?

      • Lynne says:

        Thank you to Millie and Linda and anyone else for your kind comments about my post. I think I will probably be joining in more since the discussion has become more general; sometimes before my thoughts didn’t fit within the boundaries of the discussion questions, and I didn’t want to derail things. It would be nice if there was some 3 Pines fan out there who had the skill to build an actual discussion forum with separate threads for various topics. It would be easier to follow things that way.

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Millie, Annie was Jean-Guy’s “kind lion” – she has been thought of as a lion from when she was very young. It was key that when Jean-Guy returned to consciousness, it was Annie who was holding his hand, not Enid. In fact, if it had been Enid, he said he wouldn’t have bothered to return.

    • Anna says:

      Lynne you are perfectly articulate. Seems we all have such self doubt as another commonality of Three Piners. The mere act of composing the post is often how the thoughts start to pull together.

      I doubt I make much sense at the moment, I am having trouble finding my words, but I wanted to say hi and thank you Paul for flinging open the doors.

      • Cathryne Spencer says:

        Anna, you expressed what I’ve been thinking , “The mere act of composing the post is often how the thoughts start to pull together.” Also, someone else’s response often takes me where I needed to go next.
        Sorry this is a hard time for you. I got up to have a cup of camomile tea and graham crackers. I went out and rifled through the car until I found the box of graham crackers that I KNEW I bought today! Hug your dear 13 year old daughter who is not at the easiest age to be and remember that both you and your mom are likely to be surprised by joy sometimes in the next days and weeks. My best thoughts are with you.

        • Anna says:

          Thank you Barbara. I giggled at the image of you rummaging in the car, perhaps muttering as I would “I know they are here somewhere, unless aliens have a taste for Graham Crackers!” We know what they are but can’t get them here so making s’mores is tricky!

          Hugged the not so little girl a lot yesterday as she went on the train for a four day school adventure. Missing her buckets.

          Mum not settling but they will move her to the dementia unit today or tomorrow.

          We have been surprised by Joy at odd times. The kindness of different nursing staff, meeting other sweet residents, and the amazing thing is that a spot even opened in the dementia unit in a timely way and we were offered it. If I take a glass half full approach, these are all good things but it’s still emotionally very challenging.

          It is so lovely to come here and just be me for a while. I was getting a little panicky as last week drew to a close wondering what would happen but I did trust Paul, thank you.

          • Anna says:

            Sorry Cathryne, I meant you. Will post to Barbara bow and try not to call her Cathryne!!

          • Anna says:

            Now! Not bow! Eh gads Lynne, please don’t ever question your ability to be articulate, obviously it hasn’t stopped me posting……

          • Millie says:

            ANNA, you made me laugh! And LYNNE, ‘derail-a-topic’ could be my middle name! Didn’t stop me either! I even thanked Paul once for so graciously allowing me to be so “off topic”. His reply was that there was no ‘off topic’ among friends. :-)

            I think a lot of us are ‘Surprised by Joy’ of having this little community to go to.

            If I may offer a suggestion… Some comments go unnoticed because of the need to scroll back. If everyone just added their comment to the bottom and referenced the person, or comment then everyone could go to where they left off reading and no one would ‘run out’ of where to comment. Just an idea. Any thoughts on this approach?

      • Millie says:

        Made my heart smile to see you stop by the Bistro, Anna. :-) I read once, “I don’t know what I’m thinking until I write it down and read it.” I don’t remember who said it but it rang true for me – probably why I ramble on so much. I can relate to what you said; just trying to pull my thoughts together. And that’s getting harder. The doctors have started me on physical therapy to me sure I maintain muscle strength in other areas. I feel like ET – Ouch. I wake up often at night thinking, well THIS position hurts. :-/ But I’m trying to write every day – if only a few dozen words. They are a dog’s breakfast but it’s something. Hope you are writing too. We can do this!

        And hope you’re mom is adjusting to her place now and you’re getting a bit more rest. Big hug!

        • Barbara H. Johnson says:

          Hi, Millie. I hope the aches and pains lessen. Physical Therapy can be such a “Pain”.
          In a posting on the previous site you mentioned studying a type of meditation. Two ideas: Your interests seem very varied which makes for an interesting person. When I read about “confusion”, I had a laugh. Now I know I’m not just confused but in a high state of consciousness. Always enjoy your thoughts.

          • Millie says:

            Barbara, I laughed at your “interesting person” comment. My husband uses the word “interesting” when he is trying to being polite and doesn’t want to come right out and say he doesn’t like something. lololol :-)

        • Anna says:

          Oh dear Millie, I am glad you are having therapy but the pain is not nice. Make sure you have some regular pain relief and that you are kind to yourself in other ways as this part of the process can be tiring, even though it is progress.

          Good girl for writing, I was so pleased to hear that. I hadn’t done any for a week…..couldn’t think of anything but Mum, but I gave my brother the first part of the book. He has encouraged me to go back and look at what I had done so I started editing a bit last night. Actually the break has been good to see things more clearly. Hearing you are writing has further inspired me to keep trying. Thanks Millie.

          My husband is reading TLWH now. Funny though but he doesn’t analyse like we do, just reads. I am going to re read again so I can be more useful in discussion.

      • Barbara H. Johnson says:

        Good Morning, Anna. I hope today will be a good one for you and your family. Posting really does help me to sort out what I think. I am amazed at the insights of others. I truly think I am learning to read with more care. I often read fiction and nonfiction with a certain goal in mind and pass over other components. It is like one reads when researching a very narrow idea. I look forward to reading with “new eyes”.

        • Anna says:

          It’s funny Barbara but I often read, not for a specific goal at all but find common threads between one area of reading and another. I am a synthesizer, I look for connections.

          Thank you for kind thoughts as always. So nice to check in and find so many well wishers. I can’t say how lovely that is, just to be able to be somewhere kind.

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      Hi, Lynne. Sometimes after I comment, I reread it and wonder if I said what I wanted to say. You’ve probably noticed that we sometimes add clarifications in another post. I agree that Jean Guy had turned his emotions off to be able to endure all he saw. Poor Peter had not developed emotionally because of his mother.
      Glad you joined in. Look forward to your future posts.

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Hi everyone, I’m very happy to see you all at The Bistro and I’m tickled to death to find we can order “Vive Gamache” mugs! Thanks, Julie, for telling us where to get them.

        I was thinking about Jean-Guy and his emotional difficulties, and realizing that we actually know very little about his own background. There have been hints that his young days were not particularly happy ones, so maybe his family stunted his emotional growth in their particular way, just as Peter’s family had stunted his. Something in his background had left him so angry that he became impossible to work with, which is why he was stuck down in the evidence room when Gamache found him. He has changed a lot in TLWH, I find. He seems much more gentle and kind. Loving Annie and being loved back, no doubt is a big factor in that change.

    • Karen Gast says:

      Well, the part about Peter just going on being Peter made sense to me. :-)

    • Karen Gast says:

      Lynne, I’m not certain my reply to you is where it belongs. I hope you find it!

  7. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Paul, Thank you, Thank You. Not only do we have this site to continue our discussions, but the welcoming picture to remind us Three Piners of the Bistro. Who would have thought of all the reread turned into. Again, deepest thanks to you. Also Thanks to LP and her awesome talent. Without her none of this world of Three Pines would exist.

    • Paul Hochman says:

      Thanks for being here, Barbara.

    • Sylvia H. says:

      My thanks also to Paul and to Louise. Who could have imagined that this group would take such joy in discussing her books that we’ve become “Three Piners” and didn’t want to let it go. I think having “The Bistro” is perfect, not only to discuss the books, but to keep in touch with each other. People in this little community have shared a lot of personal things about their lives. It’s wonderful that they have felt themselves in such a safe place with such caring friends. If I were an author and my books generated such a response, I would be totally amazed! Although we don’t see Louise, we certainly care for her too.

  8. Cathryne Spencer says:

    I have been rereading posts from the beginning of the discussion and I am amazed, so perceptive and beautifully expressed. I hope some readers who were initially disappointed in TLWH have or will read those posts. Sometimes when I resist a change, shifting my perspective by one small notch makes everything fall into place.
    Meg, a phrase you used has been making me smile since I read it, “shiny drugstore books.” I can’t walk past shiny drugstore/grocery store/airport books without being pulled aside. Perfect description!

  9. Cathryne Spencer says:

    The beginning of the discussion about The Long Way Home.

    • Anna says:

      “Sometimes when I resist a change, shifting my perspective by one small notch makes everything fall into place.”

      Brilliant Cathryne…that is to be my motto or mantra! So well said.

      • Millie says:

        Cathryne & Anna, I like Gamache’s “The mind is its own place. We can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.” It IS all about perspective, isn’t it? And that thought led to this one, Gamache talking to Nichol: “Life is choice.” It amazes me the number of different nuances that each person brings to the discussion of even the same scene. Our life experiences predisposition us to view the same thing in a particular way. That’s the beauty of this group. We get to see other perspectives. None is right or wrong. Just different. All expand our mind.

        • Anna says:

          Millie, those two quotes have totally stuck with me since I read them. Life is choice and our interpretation is crucial to how we face each day.

          I am not sure if you see your pain as a healing process, it can be hard to think that because pain messes with our heads, but it is. I am trying to see the good each day but it doesn’t stop the other thoughts.

          We have been keen to elevate Peter positively in this book and focus on his growth and goodness

    • Cathryne Spencer says:

      Oops, it was “…drugstore shiny cover book”!

      • Millie says:

        Cathryne, one of my sister-in-law’s says I have ‘Shiny Book Syndrome’. A book in my hands / or earphones for the audio and the outside world ceases to exist. I’m in 7th heaven. The genre doesn’t matter as long as I find the topic of interest, or fall in love with an author’s writing style. Words are a form of magic for me. Metaphors, analogies… they make my neurons fire with joy. Only certain pieces of music do that for me. But the right combination of words… every time. :-)

        • Sylvia H. says:

          Millie, that’s why I love the poetry in these books!! But some music does it for me too. I particularly love the music of Bach.

  10. Millie says:

    Anna, I sure do look at the ‘Pain’ as a part of healing. And it IS getting old, but there’s progress. Though I must say I giggled at Barbara’s ‘therapy can be such a PAIN’! Yep!

    There’s a saying in Spanish that roughly translates to: ‘there isn’t one ‘bad’ thing that doesn’t come to us for a good reason.’ I must say now ‘I was wrong’. Didn’t break ribs, fracture is the correct term and it makes a huge difference. I don’t care what language, when I’m hurting ‘Medical Speak’ is just noise. And ribs are OK now.

    Now for the ‘good’ that came of this… X-Rays showed one hip was higher than the other. For the twelve years we’ve lived here I walked a lot clockwise around the pool thinking I was getting good exercise. Well, pool deck is tilted down away from pool. At the same angle as my current hips!

    I had gotten to where I couldn’t understand why simple things were leaving me in such pain. Now I know. So I figure it took 12 years to get this way, it’s going to take more than a few days to reverse the ‘damage’. And I’m working hard at it. Thru tears sometimes. There! Now, you blessed souls are updated on my physical state. But let’s change the subject for a while cause I know you care but soon I won’t just derail the topic, it’ll be a full train wreck! ;-)

    I started to love TLWH from the beginning because Gamache had to do his ‘physio’ too. It did strike me odd tho that he has no more trouble walking once out of Three Pines…

    And I was really surprised that Jean Guy was going to AA meetings! I thought he was only addicted to the pills…

    I must admit my jaw droped when I would read that the inspectors were having a beer at lunch while ‘on duty’. Is this OK in Canada or just the world of Three Pines?

    • Anna says:

      I do. Escaping to where kindness exists is one of my favourite things about these books. But also the universal themes. The idea of loved ones disappearing is a bit too close to home though.

      Millie, you will have to walk counterclockwise around the pool for a while! Kidding stick to the physical therapy.

      My first LP was Bury Your Dead. What drew me in was the blurb on the back. Who could resist a shivering city and crackling cold ancient walls and the promise of an old library. But what totally locked me in was the first page. In a couple of paragraphs there was action and intrigue and Gamache whose compassion and care was writ large from the first moment. I wanted to follow him into danger and see what would develop. What a talent to hook the reader from the first lines.

      I think I had an advantage starting my journey to Three Pines in the middle as the characters were already more solidly evolved, the story was at an action moment. I went straight back and started at the beginning and I don’t think I suffered at all from that entry point. I heard LP talk about this in one of the videos as someone asked what would be a good starting book other than the first. I think this one was.

      Don’t know why I wanted to mention that now but I was thinking about how fast I was drawn in to the world of LP and the importance of first pages when attracting readers. This was one of the most engaging I have seen and it was the character as much as the story that caught my attention.

      • Anna says:

        This should have been after Millie’s next post or it makes little sense.

        • Millie says:

          That has happened to me too. Some of my posts don’t “stick” to where I think they will and it sounds like I’m singing, “What do you do with a drunken sailor?”

          My entry point was “The Beautiful Mystery”. The descriptions of light, rainbows, when darkness was expected… Jean Guy’s humor… just captivated me. Actually it was in Audio version and it begins with Gregorian Chants. I love them. Took me back – oh never mind, long story – sheepish grin… The ending was so sad to me. I had to read the series from the beginning. Yet knowing what was to come only heightened my appreciation of the books.

          I wish I had been able to participate in all the rereads… I love how “The Bistro” is “the Garden of Three Pines Speculation”. :-D

    • Barbara H. Johnson says:

      I was surprised to read that Jean Guy went AA too. I have read that people addicted to drugs were not really welcome in AA and Narcotics Anonymous was organized for them. The addictions differ even though there are commonalities.

  11. Millie says:

    Lynne, I found the reference to ‘nightmares’ I was looking for. Chapter 31, starts at the bottom of page 277. Ruth speaking on the phone to Gamache about Peter:
    She sounded as tho she was telling a ghost story. A horrible, haunting tale, of the things she herself most feared. Not that a monster would appear, but that what she loved would disappear.
    Peter Morrow was living her nightmare. All their nightmares.

    That made me pause, and cry a bit when I first read it. Not for Peter, or even Ruth (tho I hope she remains in Three Pines for a long time!!!) but for myself, for my family, for everyone. Don’t we all, at some point(s) in our lives, fear that what (who) we love will disappear? And it’s not just as we get ‘elderly’ – love the idea of avoiding the ‘o’ word. ;-)

    This is a perfect example of why, I think, Ms Penny’s books are best sellers: she touches upon universal topics. I sometimes wonder if readers are enjoying including, in their reading list, escaping to a place where kindness exists.

  12. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    I was captivated by the books from the beginning. I read a review of Still Life and couldn’t wait to read it. Mystery and Quebec ….What else could I want ? Tourism ads had alerted me to the beauty and uniqueness of the City and Provence years before. I have been to Canada a few times and love it and the people. The cities are so clean …. at least where I have been. No litter, which is a pet peeve of mine as my rants to the newspaper and calls to local government offices will attest. My trips have always been to Ontario as all the tours that originate in this area have somewhere in Ontario as the destination.
    Reading the wonderful descriptions of Quebec make me feel I am there .

    • Cathryne Spencer says:

      Barbara and Millie, re Jean-Guy attending AA meetings, there’s a very good post from Lynne about that in the TLWH discussion, chapters 31-41, p. 4, ninth post up from bottom. Sounds like a treasure clue!

      • Barbara H. Johnson says:

        Cathryne, Thanks for the info. I just went back and read the posting. I don’t even remember reading it before. Must have skipped it……probably along with others.
        I was repeating the location of the post aloud too myself when my husband asked what game. I was playing. LOL

  13. Millie says:

    Thank you Cathryne, I missed that posting. I should go back and read them all. I’m sure I missed others. And I think you’re both right. Maybe Brian and the judge can help Gamache come to terms with his own parents’ death? Chartrand is certainly too young. Someone 10 years older than Gamache…

  14. Julie says:

    Lynne – I think you expressed yourself beautifully – far more eloquently than I ever do! I love that the poem was written for Peter, and that it also helped Jean Guy so much.

    Linda, I got shivers reading the poem in its entirety. Clara DID, indeed, pick Peter up and guide him into paradise – home… So moving. I don’t know why I didn’t realize it was the same poem while reading the book – I loved the whole sequence of Jean Guy trying not to read the little scraps of paper, and finally, of him struggling to put them in order (who knows WHAT those crazy Anglos might think is the right order?) As I recall, there was a lion there, as well – Annie… All so connected. And so beautiful!

    • Sylvia H. says:

      Yes, I thought about Annie and how “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” put her to sleep in her infancy, as Armand drove his little lion around in the car.

  15. Julie says:

    Millie – I like the idea of knowing for sure that the latest comments are at the end. I, for one, applaud this approach!

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