The Bistro

The Bistro

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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”

I agree Julie. I would like to see Reine Marie have a role to play. She has a lot to give I think. I dare say she will be doing some grand mothering though.
I can’t see Gamache staying at the Academy too long but I think Louise can set the story anywhere and we will be happy. It is just nice to speculate.

I can’t remember exactly why, but I got the impression that Gamache had never planned to stay longer than one year – that he was there to root out the bad and that once that was done, he’d be free to look at other opportunities… I still would love to see them (he and Reine Marie) go somewhere that allows her to pursue some dreams. Of course, there will be murder there…

It must be about time to start speculating again….what does the next book hold for our friends? Is Gamache moving on again or will the Academy afford him yet another mystery to solve? Will the next book be set in Three Pines or beyond or a bit of both?

I love the first of the month because it is newsletter day and today is no exception. Louise is so generous with her heart and spirit that I laugh and cry as though she was standing in the room telling me her stories. Congratulations on the award and the doctorate Louise. Michael is surely clapping with joy and urging you on to every new adventure.

Yes – love it! My coffee is here, too – French Vanilla, snuggled into a big chair by the fire in the Bistro – waving to Clara as she crosses the square.

Isn’t it wonderful that she is getting this recognition? It’s the highest honor for a Canadian, and very well deserved.

Barbara, I didn’t know you did so many different kinds of tours – I bet that was a wonderful job – a great way to meet people and stay “in touch”… all the while, regaling them with stories of your city! I’d love to do something like that (only no walking tours for me anymore – but still…).

A few pages back I said I would try to find information on what the Surete thought of the books. Tried but no results.
LP’s Facebook this AM was cute. She was off to speak to young school children about writing and hoped that she didn’t bore them. Not likely. Interacting with children was so much fun to me whether giving them walking tours, city tours, Museum tours , tours of the Harris House or speaking in the classroom.

Julie, Good catch. Of course, I never thought of it, but yes, the odds are that it would have happened. The incident could have been portrayed as a “suicide”. The others would have helped move the body, etc. or the person could just disappear.

Finished with my reread, and I’m amazed at how many things I’d remembered wrong, or just hadn’t remembered. I had it in my mind that Amelia’s father had gone to jail for his drunk driving offense, but he’d had a suspended sentence, and gone on to a good life where he married and had a child. I’d thought somehow her mother had died young, or left them to become a junkie, and that was why she was so troubled but I see no evidence of that at all. In fact, I don’t see that her mother is not still alive and with her father – she’s just not mentioned at all. I had thought that the one really far gone cadet – Jacques – had flunked out – instead, he graduated, and Beauvoir seemed to be mentoring him. I also thought that the cadets had solved the mystery of the map, but they took it as far as they could go, but Gamache is the one who realized that Antoine Turcotte had never existed and that a village widow, whose name was Valois, had taken the name to make maps. She had taken the village off the map only temporarily, because she couldn’t bear to see the words “Three Pines”. Her three boys, who had been killed in the war, each planted one (to replace the first ones that had died). She intended to come back, and put the name back on the maps, but couldn’t because she died. The map has to have been put “in the window” by the town’s people after she died so that if any of the boys had happened to survive, they’d find her grave, even if they came back after everyone who knew had died. Of course, no good reason was shown why they were so mysterious about it – the clues were really obscure. The last one, that led them to the grave, could only be seen for what it was, from the pulpit. Still, a lovely little mystery, full of magic.

Now this brings me to Mary’s question from a few pages back. What would LeDuc have done if someone had actually killed himself playing Russian Roulette? With the silencer, of course, nobody would know if they managed to get the body and all trace of the blood out of there. But that’s pretty hard to do, and I can’t believe some one of the other cadets wouldn’t have said something (except, of course, it’s possible that only the cadet and LeDuc were there – he sometimes did it with a group and sometimes with just one student). But the odds must be pretty high that if you did this regularly (let’s say weekly) for years, SOMEONE would die, or be hurt, if they were holding the gun not quite right and only managed to graze themselves. And I don’t see any way for LeDuc to have been sure that nobody would die – so… I am going to go out on a limb and say that one or two must have, and just “disappeared” in that community that before Gamache would have closed ranks to any outside interference.

I used the word magic today Barbara to describe my day skiing on the mountain. It seemed magic because it was perfect and perfect doesn’t normally show up in my life all that often. Three Pines is pretty close to perfect so that may be why it seems magical…a beautiful place with interesting and caring people, great food and peace. I think that is something I found on the mountain too…peace. It was sunshine and snow and freedom from television and news broadcasts. Three Pines has that too. A sense of being isolated from the concerns of the world and an emphasis on simpler things.
So many good things to think about Julie. I think I remember that Louise didn’t have the story arc at the beginning but surprisingly early she knew where HTLGI would go. I can’t imagine the current storylines developed until much much later. Maybe she always knew Annie and Jean Guy would marry, but did she know about the addiction? I suspect she had an idea that Gamache would grow beyond his initial role as she has talked many times about how Poirot was a character that did not grow and change and Agatha Christie tired of him. That is one of the great things about Three Pines, the characters do evolve but not so far that we lose touch with their essential being.

Julie, the books have the same feeling for me too. I like your mention of Brigadoon as it has the same other worldly feeling. I don’t think LP had everything planned when she started writing, but how masterfully she has pulled it all together is remarkable. I remember that scene in HTLGI. Just simply “home”. That is Three Pines. The home the human heart seeks and the reality of there being no directions. No maps to where we will find that Home. That place of security, acceptance and the true feeling of belonging and being a part of a group. A diverse group but one that will accept you as you are and in return ask only that each of them be accepted as he or she is.
Yes, there is that sense of magic. Why Magic? Because that is the word that we sometimes use when we can not fully explain the whys and wherefores of matters.

Hi, everyone. It’s been awhile since we’ve talked some about AGR, and as I’ve continued with my re-read there are a couple of things I like to muse about. The first, is the incidents of “magic” in Three Pines. For one thing (and this is not only in AGR, but in all the books), the people who live there have a different “vision” than others. They are people who have found Three Pines by accident (I think now that Jane and Timmer are gone (which happened in the first book), only Ruth and M. Beliveau are long-time residents – both, perhaps, having grown up there. Everyone else seems to have stumbled upon the village while heading somewhere else, but once they “saw” the village, they stayed. Because they loved it. Almost from the first, Gamache knew he would live there – you can see it in his heart. This is so very evocative of “Brigadoon” for me. Three Pines is not on any map, cannot be “found” when looking for it – only by accident, or by following someone there (which happens in AGR). Not only do the cadets follow Gamache, but so does some other mysterious person (later we learn that it is Charpentier). But the glow of the mystery car’s headlights as the hill into town is ascended, and then the car is turned around and the headlights disappear, is very magical in its description.

Another piece of magic is the detail in the stained glass window that nobody noticed until now. And yet, that window was looked at – closely – by so many, and certainly by Gamache and his team, as they had never seen anything like it before.

Last, of course, is the map – it’s discovery in the wall (why put it in the wall?) and its subsequent dumping into a cedar chest full of other papers, only to be discovered now. Why now? We’ve all marveled at the idea that Three Pines doesn’t appear on any map (and that you can’t communicate with it – no GPS knows its coordinates, no cell towers bring phone, and no buried cables bring high-speed internet, not to mention cable or satellite TV. Dial-up. Even I would turn my nose up at that, now, hahaha. Why? Why is Three Pines “off the map and off the grid”? It certainly helped in How the Light Gets In – they needed to disappear at least for a time, and Three Pines allowed them to. Just as, in its history, Three Pines had been a place of refuge for those escaping peril from the south, now it provided refuge for those escaping from Montreal.

It’s hard to believe all this nuance was seen by Louise throughout, but, except for the very first book, when I can certainly imagine she had not really brought all of Three Pines to life yet, certain “rules” applied – no cell phones, no internet, no notation on any map. In HTLGI, they are using the schoolhouse as a “headquarters” for their internet activity, and they see a map of the area, with Three Pines noted in some childish hand, with simply… “home”.

Last, is Roof Trusses. This, to me, is wonderful. By naming the town Roof Trusses, Turcotte was able to put something on the orienteering map for her son to find – but also, that no-one else would see as anything but a mistake.

All of these things add up to magic to me. Do you see it too, or am I being too sentimental?

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