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.
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.
Discussion on “The Bistro”
Julie Hunter, and the person who insisrs that Gamache is not Quebecois — he is a francophone but he learned English at Cambridge as a student, so speaks beautifully correct English
Just finished reading “A World of Curiosities,” and am at the end of binge reading the Gamache books. I know I’m coming late to the party… my brother in law told me about this series just this past November, and then I found out all my friends have been reading these books for years and no one told me! I have absolutely loved these books not just for the mysteries, but for the wisdom, love, and depth of character I have found here. Wow….thank you, Louise, for writing such heartfelt books……
As I am new to the world of Three Pines–A World of Curiosities was my first Penny book–I am trying to get familiar with the people and their stories. My library doesn’t have all the books so, when I set out to learn more, I had to sort of start in the middle with How The Light Gets In. While I’m enjoying the reading, I am confused by some of the backstories. For example, Armand and John-Guy appear to be the same ages in all the books, despite several years having passed between them. And, in The Nature of the Beast I found John Fleming, the villain in the latest book, but he was “in his seventies,” which is much older than in A World of Curiosities. So, should I just read each book as a stand-alone, enjoying the story and liking the people rather than trying to make all the books connect?
Enjoy the books first off. I started a year or so ago with “How the Light Gets In” as before her collaboration with Hillary Clinton in “State of Terror” I had not heard of Louise Penny, but ‘fell in love’ with her wonderful characters and her writing. I’ve since caught up with the series, which took awhile. Enjoy the people as they are as in the previous books there are always references to previous stories. Since you found “The Bistro” this lovely site, you can catch-up too.
Thanks Marilyn! I do, indeed, love the characters and I am glad I found the Bistro! Also, there are summaries of all the books I can’t find in the library on the website, so I can at least get some basic information. But as I read the books, I struggle with things like the ages of people never changing, even though years pass, and the backstories of some recurring characters changing from one book to another. This may be because I’m more accustomed to reading traditional police procedurals where the details are critical to the story. It seems like for the Three Pines stories, I should just let this kind of thing go, not over think it, and focus on the relationships. Would that be your thought?
Hi Leah. Can understand the ‘difficulty’ after dealing with precise details. Your last sentence give you a good answer. Don’t over think ^ enjoy your time in Three Pines. It’s a lovely place where time can just meld. Plus, Louise always gives a bit history in her stories too. Hope this helps 🙂
You can ask your library to get the books on inter library loan. Many libraries have them and will loan them to your library.
Nothing’s been deleted.
I would start again from the first book Still Life and go from there. That way you get to watch the characters grow and the relationships emerge. The relationship between Gamache and Beauvoir starts out slowly as Beauvoir was not in a good position when Gamache rescued him,so to speak,from the job he was detailed to.
If you cannot find the books in order at your library, you may want to download an
e-book app from your library. I was able to get each book in order, using Libby, and it truly helped with the development of both characters and subplots.
I was so looking forward to seeing the Gamache series come to life and agree it was a bit dark. For me, the music only added to that- much too dark. Also missed the center of the village. The Bistro was off by itself. The balance of the camaraderie and children playing in the snow was missed. I am also rereading the books – they are where l go when l need an escape. I’d like to think l could live there above my quilting and handwork shop. Though l would be in Myrna’s book store or the Bistro and never get anything else done.
I first read Bury Your Dead, because it was set in Quebec City, the home of my heart. Took 2 weeks to approach the last two chapters as I had no wish to part with beloved friends, I had found that book in a thrift shop that I prowled daily for possible treasures, such is life in a town without a book store. Partway into the book as Gamache and Henri wandered the Plains in the early hours of the morning with a tennis ball for company, I found myself searching internet sites for other books by Louise Penny. Her books, her characterisations, her settings, are addictive and I had to have them.
A brilliant grandfather raised me to appreciate books. He taught me to read by the time I was three and I am ever in his debt. His intent was to save my grandmother’s nerves (I swear that I watched where I put my feet so as to stay off of them, but reading was the best solution; dolls and picture books being of no interest to this scattergrace).By five I was reading Kipling and Shute, would that Penny had been writing then!
As they were playing their frantic game of tennis on the snow swept field I used to wander I found a sire where I could order nine of their creator’s books, except that I already had the one. I placed my order then and there and read on. Who needed sleep?
As dawn approached so did the end of the book but it would be at least 2 weeks until the new books arrived. I placed a bookmark, leashed the dog and went for a walk, perchance to daydream about a new friend and his dog. Never imagining the wonders to come.
Having read all but the latest book of the Gamache series, I could hardly contain my excitement when the series appeared on Amazon. The series did not disappoint! Although many seem disappointed that the depth of character development isn’t in the series, that is always the case when putting any novel on film. However, watching with my husband, who had not read the series, I realized the complexity of the plot came through well. His reaction was, “You did a great job in your selection! This plot is complex and really holds my interest.” I can’t wait for more to come so the depth of characters can come through just as Gamache’s deep love for his wife comes through at the end of the series.
A World of Curiosities disappointed me. I love the Three Pines novels, and I really looked forward to this one. However:
The plot was so elaborate that it strained credulity. At the same time, I had little trouble solving both mysteries presented.
Harriet as a character was also hard to believe. Her loyalties were too easily swayed. The same was true for me for Fiona.
Maybe my major disappointment was that the story featured the type of villain I least like. I’ll say no more for those who have not read it yet.
I hope Penny writes another Three Pines novel. I sorely missed visiting the little village I’ve come to love.
I was also disappointed in “The World of Curiosities” and the implausible plotting. Included in that implausibility is that she used the exact same method of escape from the exact same prison for Arnot in “How the Light Gets In.” It was a little more reasonable then because the Surete leadership that was masterminding the plot. I still enjoy the individual characters and the positive relationships they represent. I do struggle with the fact that Gamache has been in his mid-50s and Jean-Guy in his mid-30s since the series began, forcing the LP to more or less erase early backstories. That said, it is still fun to drop in on Three Pines and its quirky people.
I too was soooo disappointed in this last book. There were so many inconsistencies. Fiona has been a part of their life for the last 10 years and this is the first time she is mentioned??? Then there is the comparison that Fiona and Annie are close in age and they aren’t. Now everyone can understand Billy? Glad to see I am not the only one who thought this. If I have to hear one more time how BIG Myrna is I am going to scream. We have always known this, but if you are going to go woke on a number of subjects which this book does then knock it off on the heavy set people. Not sure why we had to incorporate the story of the massacre at École Polytechnique de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec. It didn’t really add anything but her opinion on gun control to the story. I felt that Harriet was a total flake of a character and was not necessary at all. And last but not least is the idea that the monster could escape a heavily guarded prison and live in Three Pines and no one know it is just ridiculous. I hope she can get her act together for the next novel. I love this series, but if I have to have stuff crammed down my throat then I will have to give it up.
I am 3/4 of the way through World of Curiosities and have a couple of questions. One, when did Armand begin to understand Billy Williams? Everyone else knew what he was saying, but in this book, Armand speaks with Billy often and understands him perfectly. Second question, I thought I remembered in The Madness of Crowds that Jerome (Theresa’s husband) was suffering from dementia. In this book, he seems perfectly fine. What did I miss?
You may be thinking of the Chancellor’s husband, in the Madness of Crowds.I also noticed that Armand understood Billy perfectly, with no explanation as to how that happened, but I’m glad it did!
I am a fan of Three Pines! Episodes one and two had me concerned, but three and four? Thoroughly enjoyed. Is there a lot that is different than the books? Of course. But I am willing to separate the two and be able to enjoy both! While there are some things that just seem wrong in the series (a flat level road into Three Pines?! just to name one thing right off that felt wrong. Lol!) grace is given because our Ms Penny isn’t writing the script. I also think Alfred Molina as Gamache is perfect! I’m excited to see how he develops as well.
I, too, was concerned over episodes one and two, but I was hooked after that.
One must have a willing suspension of disbelief when watching; it’s not worthwhile to compare the books with the series as there are many differences. But the setting is close enough, especially the Hadley house and the Bistro. The least successful bit of casting may be Myrna–she is not much like Penny’s character. I like that Isabel is played by an indigenous woman.
The addition of a second layer of plot, that of the missing indigenous women and of the children who attended St. Anthony’s, adds interest and depth.
I did find Gamache’s lack of an accent disconcerting at first, particularly when he is with Beauvoir, but I’m used to it now. He captures Gamache’s tendency for quiet deliberation and his big heart. The use of symbols, such as birds (bluejays), is effective and adds to the sometimes eerie tone.
I hope they renew the series.
I have read all of the Inspector Gamach books, some of them twice, and I finished “ A World of Curiosities” last night. I absolutely loved it. Possibly my favorite. This town and these. characters have become as familiar and comfortable as old friends. That being said I watched the first two episodes of Three Pines with great anticipation. I’m sorry to say I was very disappointed. I just could not relate at all to the characters as I have come to know them. Jean-Guy seems too old, Clara too young and too put together, and sadly, Gamache just didn’t feel right to me. I think Ruth was the one character who actually depicted the character from the book. I may watch the next episodes when the are releases to try to be fair and give this a second chance but probably not. I might be better off letting all these wonderful friends continue to live on inside my head in the way I already know and love them
Kathleen, I totally agree with you. Since reading “Still Life” many years ago and all the of the Three Pines novels afterwards, the people of Three Pines Village are set in my mind’s eye. And that is how I will always see them. I will stick with the books (I own them all) and will not watch the series. And if there is ever another movie (I sincerely hope not) I do not plan to watch. I believe Louise herself has said there will not be another movie…..being disappointed in the first and only. Sometimes a novel should remain just that…..a book of characters that one can see in their own imagination…..and not be made into moving pictures that are bound to disappoint. I’m very much looking forward to owning “A World of Curiosities”. 🙂
I just finished A World of Curiosities today. I have now read all 18. I am hesitant to watch the TV series because I see all the characters from 3 Pines as my friends. I know what they look like & how there are in my mind, why watch sombody’ else’s rendition of them. I am curious though in the last book, which of the early books has Gamache examining the woman’s body in the lake water & which book does Gamache ream out Jean-Guy over what he said about her.
I feel the same. I’ve read all the books and adore the characters. I have my own mental pictures about what they & 3 Pines looks like. I likely wo t watch the TV show just because I don’t want to lose that 😜.
Additionally, I think Louise Penny is such a beautiful, kind, humble human. That makes her books even better, imho.
I can understand you not being interested in the tv series or the movie, but wishing there never were another? So many people enjoyed them. And you can just ignore them.
I agree with most of what you said. I do like Alfred Molina as Gamache, though. Jean-Guy looks like he’s almost the same age as Gamache; Clara and Peter are too young. Clara does not have the paint and food crumbs in messy hair, which she is know for in the books. Neither the town in general, nor the Bistro look anything like I pictured (but I guess that’s a personal thing.) I also do not understand why the writers who adapt these stories feel they can do a better job than the original. I understand that some things work better for a limited time presentation, but there are things that left me scratching my head as to why they were changed. I don’t want to mention them, because they might be spoilers. All that being said, I am actually enjoying the series.
I agree with your opinion of the Clara actor, Peter as well. Pictured him more stoic and put together, not modern. Alfred Molina, I like as Gamache. Close to my vision of him. Ruth is pretty good as well. Myrna is no where near what I pictured. I have read the series three times and love all of the books. Still have World of Curiosities in its box. Waiting for all the holiday madness to be over so I can sit and relax while reading it. There’s a lot of character development in the books that is a challenge to show in a live version. Having decided to stop comparing the series to the books, I can now just enjoy each episode for itself. I found myself enjoying the series more after the first 2 episodes. Takes some getting used to seeing it instead of imagining it.
I put the date on my calendar so as not to forget the opening of the film last Friday then settled down with my drink to watch. I was worried about the portrayal of Inspector Gamache but that gentleman nailed it! And Ruth was terrific! I watched you, Louise, on the Today Show and that made the film all the more meaningful. As a non-fiction author writing my first novel, I was so encouraged when you said the first draft is always crap! That’s about how I feel about my first draft of the novel! But an author’s best friend is the red pencil! Thank you for all your wonderful books and the many happy hours you’ve given so many of us.
I had marked Friday on my calendar to watch the premier of Three Pines. I was so concerned about the character of Gamache, but that gentleman nailed it! And Ruth was terrific. How wonderful to see all these characters come to life and to see Three Pines village portrayed so beautifully. I watched you, Louise, on the Today Show and that just added to the enjoyment of the films. As a non-fiction writer, now writing my first novel, I loved it when you said the first draft is always crap! That’s about what I feel on my first draft just completed. Gave me comfort to hear you say it!.
For me the beauty of Louise Penny’s books are: they contain many levels of interest; they have extremely well crafted characters; and the location, Three Pines is a dreamy place to live. Through her books I get to know some very funky, weird, fascinating people. I step into their lives, witness their interactions and I come to care about them. I love the village of Three Pines. It is a mysterious place, almost a Brigadoon. It is both a fairy tale village and a real place at the same time. Before each new book is released, I wonder which character(s) and Three Pines itself, how will they be altered by the new mystery? I am saying what I love about Louise Penny’s books because I found very little of it in the TV show. All the characters appeared as nothing more than cardboard cutouts of themselves. Camera shots of Three Pines could have been any flat suburb with powerlines in the snowbelt. Nothing special about it. I think the depth of Louise Penny’s books would be better represented in a mini -series, as in Downton Abbey, the Crown etc. I was entertained by the TV show but did not love it, like I do her books.
I watched THREE PINES on Amazon Prime Friday night. I loved it and hope there will be a second season. I wish they would have shown the personalities of the characters a little more in depth; but all in all, it was excellent. As someone who has read all of Louise Penny’s books, I have found myself getting to know all the characters and looking forward in each new book to visiting Three Pines and catching up with each of them. I love Ruth and her duck; she is priceless. Inspector Gamache is what all detectives should be like, caring. Looking forward to 2023’s book.
Just watched THREE PINES. Think it was superb.Molina seems to grow into Gamache’s skin. Actually, all of the cast seems to be bespoke. Poor Nathaniel Parker does not deserve all of the criticism. If you pretend that you know nothing about the series, and view it as a stand-alone
flick, it is enjoyable. How many episodes will there be and how often will they air? Worse than waiting for the next book!
Hi Nadya – there will be 8 episodes total, 2 released every week this month.
Overall, a disappointment. Gamache and Jean Guy the best casting. After that, the acting was just not up to par. Alfred Molina very, very good.
I have waited patiently for this series. I will finish it, of course, but even the Bistrot was a disappointment. General agreement from all my “bookie” friends.
Having said all that, I cannot imagine what it would have taken to get this to the small screen.
6 more episodes to go. We’ll see.
I loved the Gamache books from the beginning and have read all but the newest at least twice. And I loved the first two episodes of Three Pines. So interesting to see how the characters are represented. Molina is great as Gamache! Looking forward to the remaining episodes and YES to another season!!!
Can someone remind me what F.I.N.E. Stands for. Thanks jeri
F*ked up, Insecure, Neurotic, Egotistical.
I enjoyed Louise in person in Ann Arbor, MI last night, then went home and watched the first two episodes on Prime. It’s going to take awhile to acclimate to these actors as the characters. Molina is very good!
I haven’t watched 3 pines but I’ll start today. One thing though I know before I even watch it – the literary style of penny could never perfectly translate to the screen – few authors put you into the ‘scene’ as does this author. and the …whimsy?
All the nuances? I just don’t think a screen version could possibly be as good as what penny pulls from our minds with her words. But yep – I’m gonna go watch….
One of Penny’s great strengths causes the same problems for me. I devour whodunits, but most authors give very slight visual physical descriptions that are forgettable and add very little to the story. But Penny describes not only Gamache and Beauvoir so brilliantly, but all her characters, so that actors are a visual jolt. Even Molina does not have a body with the bulk and solidity so much a part of who Gamache IS.
I used to read when things got quiet on the night shift via audiobook, (bad wyes). I really enjoyed it but then I retired & couldn’t find the time or enough interest, with so much else (living) to do. I didn’t think I missed it, but someone turned me on to the Gamache 3 Pines mysteries. I fell, hook, line & sinker!
Between November & Februaryi read them all, in order. Then,😱, I ran out, and have been waiting for the next one. I am afraid. I feel like an addict who was for ed to go cold turkey. I know I will love it when I read it, but even if I read it twice, the day will come when I will turn the last page, and then ….
It’s too long a wait.
What if Ms Penny takes a sabbatical, or decides to give up writing altogether???
I’m in the midst of A World of Curiosities and am so happy to see Amelia ! I’ve been wondering about her- I get so involved in these books- it’s hard for me to separate real life from Three Pines!
I’ve always thought of Tom Selleck as Gamache.
Love it! But he has to wear a Hawaiian shirt!
Big thumbs down, not even close to the empathy of Gamache much less the wisdom that comes with age & experience ( besides selleck pushes guns ).
Please 🙏 , Heavenly Mother, NO 👎 NO 👎 NO. (NO tRumpsters to run this, too!!)
I was a bit disappointed with Armand Gamanche, although I loved Alfred Molina, but expected him to have a French accent, which to me, is always appealing. Beauvoir looks too old for a son in law, and Nicole not the Nicole I imagined. She was meant to be young, and surly looking, brooding.
However, was so excited to be in Three Pines, as I have missed it and all the characters since finishing the last book a couple of months ago. I need really, and it is my current dream, to hop back on a plane and fly over to Quebec and wander the streets of Knowlton and indeed a lot of Quebec. (I have been to Quebec, but not for nearly long enough!) But hopefully, we will be able to next year. It’s a long, long way from Australia.xxx
I recall that in a book Gamache is said to speak English with a British accent, which surprises people.
This is funny, MY Gamache 🙂 is very very far from Tom Selleck…
Oliver Platt … a grand, gracious and worthy Gamache!
He would be good. I pictured someone like Frazier’s father, although I know the actor passed.
I picture Tom Barnaby from Midsomer murders. And Joyce and Cully and Ben.
Oh no…Tom is the stoic Jesse Stone, Chief of Police in Paradise or Frank Regan head of the NYPD and of an incredibly service oriented family or that very young Magnum PI catching bad guys in Hawaii… never Gamache;-)
Ciarin Hinds is who I’ve pictured Gamache. However Tom Selleck I can see as well.
Yes I can see it but imagine he might be too old. Oh my! That’s a reversal. Usually women actors are carefully chosen for their age and looks.
Oh, ya…he’d have been good. But I’m still thinking that an unknown Quebec individual would have been even more perfect. I feel like it’s a missed opportunity.
YES! I was thinking the same thing. Though in my mind’s eye, Gamache is different from both actors. From a casting standpoint, however, I totally agree with you. Having said that, Molina is doing a great job, and seems to capture Gamache’s personality thus far.
While waiting for A World of Curiosities, I reread the entire series. My love for Louise Penny, Three Pines, Gamache and all of the other wonderful characters was only further cemented by reading one book after another in quick succession. A World of Curiosities may be my favorite so far, because of the complex weaving of storylines, backstories, and characters. Louise is such a genuine, caring person, and it shows in her work, not only the novels, but her newsletters, social media, and in interviews. When I first discovered Still Life, it was just before the fourth book in the series was due out. Reading it caused me to do something I’d never done before: Contact an author. Louise’s writing style had such an impact on me, a life-long reader of mysteries and thrillers, because it was so different in the best possible way. And to my surprise and delight, Louise herself wrote back to me! For that kindness, and for the excellent stories she tells us all, I will forever be one of her greatest fans.
I have been unbelievably blessed by Three Pines and Louise Penny. I found her only a few years ago and have read each of her books. I’m again asking for her latest book, Curiosities, from my stepson for Christmas. Her recent interview including comments on the joy and peace that a 12 step program gives, brought knowing tears to my eyes . Thank you Louise Penny! Please come to Sedona, AZ.
Yes to Sedona! Or, better yet 😉, Prescott, AZ!
Amy, last night I finished rereading every book in the series (except for the latest; I ordered it for my husband to give me for Christmas). Originally I had read them out of order, but I wanted to read them again to see the characters develop, particularly Jean-Guy. I enjoyed them even more the second time around. The complexities of each character and their relationships with one another are unlike those in any other series I’ve read. They are all so real to me, and I love their clever, snarky comments. I want to live in Three Pines, as I think we all do.