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. Anna says:

    Strange but it is rainy here too in a very dull overcast way. Better than the heat we have had though so I can’t complain. It’s just hard to be motivated when it looks so dull.
    It is time for our tree to come down too but I have to wait for my daughter to do that in a couple of days as she is away.
    Our time in the States will be limited to two or three years but it is interesting that it has cropped up now when I “know” people over there. At least I can ask questions and not feel like a complete tourist on arrival. I wish to be a traveller and a resident, like the distinction we made between readers and fans. Readers implies a more considered outlook I feel as does travelers. Tourists are often viewed with a tolerant disdain!
    I am putting together my wish list f travel destinations. Do feel free to contribute suggestions. I am not sure exactly how much travel we will get in as my husband will be working and Erin will be in University at some point I imagine depending on when we arrive. Cooler destinations are preferred or cooler times to travel! Looking at the weather over there, it is pretty cool across the country right now.
    Stay safe all. Good idea for the soup Barbara. Pea and ham is a standard over here but I do a ham and vegetable with white beans that I like. Ok, now I am hungry. I shall peruse the cookbooks I received for Christmas and see what can be done.

  2. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    The traditional southern New Years meal is Blackeye peas, collards (a green leafy vegetable) cooked with smoked hog jowl (similar to bacon or streak-a-lean), rice, baked sweet potatoes or sweet potato casserole, baked pork loin or some other pork dish. Pecan pie or sweet potato pie for dessert if sweet potatoes aren’t served with the meal. Cooked tomatoes and corn bread are also served. It is a treat because we don’t eat so much pork other times. Even the tomatoes are seasoned with bacon grease. Not very healthy.
    At last, I have the recording of Bury Your Dead by Ralph Cosham. What a treasure. He was as good as some of you said. Sad to think he won’t be reading LP’s future books. I don’t think I mentioned that we enjoyed the licorice pipes and gave some to friends.
    I’ve read the first two Peter Robinson books and have requested the next three from the Library. They’re good.
    I did get books from my husband for Christmas. I’m proud of him.

  3. Julie says:

    Ah, good for you, Barbara! One of these days I will have to get the recorded books, too, as now I really have a hankering to hear Gamache’s voice! And so glad you got books for Christmas! Your food sounds so mouthwatering – I am drooling up here in the corner. I have so gotten into a rut where I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, because I haven’t got a clue what I will make, and he always just says “whatever you want to fix”. Well, the point is that I don’t know what I want, hahaha. I realized that I don’t mind cooking at all – but I very much mind trying to figure out what I’m going to cook. So I did a very odd thing – I made up a month’s worth of menus – no night the same within a 31 day month, and I intend to follow that blueprint. No more decisions to make – plus, shopping is easier, because I know what I will need for the next weeks! So far, of course, we’re only 5 days into it, but so far, so good. I find I’m almost looking forward to making dinner, because I know what I’ll do – silly of me, but there you go.

    Anna – I vote for your coming for a visit to Seattle – even in summer, it’s usually not very warm, hahahaha. To me, it’s paradise, because it never gets very hot or very cold. That said, every year there are a few days that break that rule – especially hot summer days. Once it’s over 80, I’m uncomfortable, and over 90 and I’m miserable! We get quite a few over 80 days, and once in awhile hotter than that. But for the most part, we have glorious summers and falls, and cold and rainy winters and springs. Which University is your daughter going to go to? You’ll be in the Washington DC area, I take it? I think that would be a wonderful place to live. Almost as nice as New York City, which is my favorite city in the world. If I were going to go to Washington, I’d watch the film “Born Yesterday” (the original, 1950 one with Judy Holliday and Broderick Crawford) and get together a list of places to go and things to do from that. So much of my understanding of places and events comes from movies and books, hahaha. When my husband and I did visit New York City, he was amazed that I knew what to do – where things were, etc., even that I knew that every neighborhood had cute little restaurants that were absolutely worth checking into, and that they were very affordable. I’d been waiting for that first trip for a lifetime, it seemed, and New York did NOT disappoint. I expect Washington will be like that, too.

  4. Anna says:

    Wow Barbara, that is a meal after my daughter’s heart. She loves all meat but bacon and pork are standout favourites! We have pork roast almost weekly because she loves it so much! I shall have to make a version of that meal our New Years dish.

    I am proud of your husband too for buying books. I have kind of run out of books so am looking around for options. I would like to get the audion books of LPs. That is a good idea for the plane!

    Julie, I have often considered the idea of a meal plan and have even tried it for the same reasons. Then I find the weather changes and it’s too hot or too cold for what I had planned. We can go from summer to winter in a day here!

    You don’t have to convince me about Seattle, I love the place. I have been there a few times, albeit briefly on each occasion. We even did the Underground tour. I am also a Seahawks supporter so go team!

    I shall look out for the film you suggested, I like that idea. I don’t know what Uni Erin will go too. It will depend on how well she goes at school and the various entry requirements and whether she does the SATs. Some Unis need the SATs and a couple don’t. The last two years of high school here are pretty intense and culminate in state based exams. Not sure I need her worrying about SATs on top of that! Anyway we are working on it. It’s early days in the planning process.

  5. Anna says:

    My dear husband is standing in a bookstore texting me to see if I want anything! I can’t think of any suggestions. How dire is that!

    • Nancy Miller says:

      Hi Anna (and all). Have been enjoying all the conversation but of course I perked up when you said you had no new suggestions for reading. I doubt if you can get her books in the bookstores any more (she died a few years ago) but on Amazon you might look for Eleanor Taylor Bland mysteries. The first one is Dead Time. I love her books and have collected them all. Her detective is a black woman named Marti MacAlister who would fit in quite well in the Bistro. Check her out and you won’t be disappointed.

  6. Anna says:

    Thanks Nancy. Will do. Is all well with you?

    In a nod to our earlier foodie conversation I have thrown the ham bone in a pot with requisite vegetables and herbs. Smells like the bistro might. I am checking our ski destination website for the snow to fully induce the right feeling of the moment.

  7. Anna says:

    Julie, I see the flooding near Seattle. Sending you wishes that you are safe and dry!

  8. Julie says:

    Thank you, Anna! We are lucky in that we’re situated in a place that seldom has any flooding. People in our area, for some very odd reason, decided to put regular soil on top of clay soil when building housing developments. Since many are on hills, when the ground gets saturated (as it often does in the winter), the “good” soil slides right off the clay soil. I’d have thought that engineers might have anticipated that, but it appears not. At any rate, so far, none of the slides have been in Seattle proper (though I’m sure that time will come yet). But some of the outlying communities, I think, have also clear-cut trees to make way for the developments, and that has meant that slides are even more likely. It’s very sad to think of how many people lose their homes every year, and I’m not sure what insurance can or will do for them. It’s heartbreaking to see the pictures of these homes, and know how devastating it is for the people in that community.

    So glad you don’t need your arm twisted to visit Seattle! :D Our Seahawks are doing very well the past two years, and at times in the fall and early winter, it’s all anyone talks about here. When we went to see the Christmas ships this year, one yacht was all decked out in Seahawk colors and a 12th Man theme – the cheers from the restaurant were deafening!

    I would be the same if anyone called me from a bookstore to see what I wanted. My problem is the second I think I might want something, I get online and buy it. There isn’t the “wanting” phase anymore, which probably means I miss out on the anticipation of reading something new.

  9. Anna says:

    Glad you are ok Julie. The landslips look scary.

    I know what you are saying about books. I am the same. I see. I buy. I love browsing in stores though, an experience I don’t get online. And I still love holding books in my hand.

    • Julie says:

      Anna, I agree about browsing in book stores – I do it whenever I’m near one – and often come out with something I had no idea I wanted, hahaha. But the call to see what I wanted would find me not being able to think of a thing!

      • Sylvia H. says:

        Hi everyone, Happy New Year!! I’ve just come back to the Bistro and enjoyed the conversations. If anyone asks me a question about what I want or what I think, my mind immediately goes blank!!

        With the stormy weather at Christmas, I stayed home and enjoyed reading the latest Peter Robinson book, and it was a good one! Then I went with my goodies to my stepson’s for Boxing Day and came home that night. It was a fine clear day on Boxing Day, with the nasty weather all passed out of our area. Right now we are in a deep freeze, expected to be about -40 Celsius with the windchill. I’m staying home!

        Anna, it’s really interesting and exciting that you are coming over to North America. I hope you’ll get a chance to see a lot of places – there’s lots to see! Perhaps you can get to Canada too. The distances are huge, but there’s so much beauty!

        All the best to everyone in 2015!

  10. Anna says:

    Don’t worry Sylvia, we love Canada. We will be in Whistler on Monday as a matter of fact! The plan is to do a road trip across Canada at some point. Obviously Autumn is a better time to travel distances than mid winter by the sound of things. I hope you are staying warm. Parts of Australia were 46 C and more the other day. That’s nearly 90 C difference between temperatures in different parts of our worlds. Whew!

    I am glad to hear everything went well across Christmas especially that you were safe traveling. With the weather reports it was looking scary there for a while.

    I was saying before I have Hovey Manor and the Townships on the wish list and my husband wants to show us Halifax and St Johns where he has been before. I sure hope we have enough chance to get around and all the things we want.

  11. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Hi, to all. Sylvia, I’ve recently read 3 Peter Robinson novels and started a third yesterday. I did not know of him until he was mentioned here. I am really enjoying them. It is always exciting to begin reading a new author when there are so many books already written. My Librarian friends joke about how I read through so many years of work in such a short time. I like that I can see the writer and the characters grow deeper and richer. I am enjoying the descriptions of Yorkshire as I found the landscape very interesting too.

  12. Julie says:

    Anna – a cross-country train trip sounds so lovely. I’ve done the bit from B.C. to Saskatchewan – through the Rockies – and it’s beautiful! I’d love to see the whole country unfold before me. You should try to see Prince Edward Island, if Anne of Green Gables was in your childhood. It’s a beautiful spot, with it’s pink beaches and lush green landscapes, all just as L.M. Montgomery described them, though the long distances it seemed that Anne traveled were tiny, indeed! Her world, as described in the books was small but “well-traveled”!

    Sylvia – so glad you had good weather to go visiting and were able to enjoy the holidays. I well remember the -40 days, and do not miss them at all! While the entire rest of the continent seems to be in a deep freeze, we are enjoying sun and mild temperatures here on the “left coast”, and I am enjoying it, indeed, as we normally have such dark and dreary days.

  13. Anna says:

    Yep Prince Edward Island is definitely on the list.

    Glad you have found a new series for you Barbara. It is always good fun. I did go to the bookstore finally and found a thriller by an Italian author which I am enjoying. I was drawn to the title and the cover. The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carisi. It’s his second novel. The first was called The Whisperer and was apparently an International Bestseller. Very different to Louise but the notion of good and evil always intrigues me. On that topic we have had a number of discussions.

    I am watching the world at the moment and it seems there is a real struggle between good and evil being played out. The terrorist events recently in Canada, the siege in Sydney and now those in France are but flash points for the overall turmoil. There are movements and marches in Germany against immigration and for it. The basis partly being the importation of terrorism.

    What is pleasing is the response of so many that terrorism is not about religion and shouldn’t be a method of setting people against each other. I am proud when I see examples of the response to violence being more kindness to each other, more care and concern and more peace.

    Perhaps true Evil is the great stirrer who drops an idea here, a suggestion there that inspires others to seek violence and retribution for perceived ills. Then Evil stands back and let’s it happen while appearing innocent and shocked. Francouer maybe. Arnot anyone?

    • Sylvia H. says:

      Oh yes, Anna, those two were the personification of Evil! But there’s so much of it and we’re so much more aware of it, and some of it makes Francoeur and Arnot look tame.

      Thanks for all your kind thoughts about my Christmas! It was interesting to do it a different way this year.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the Peter Robinson books, Barbara. You’ll be on The Hanging Valley now – they’re all really good, and the latest one didn’t disappoint! I enjoy Alan Banks and get a kick out of some of the other characters as well, especially “Dirty” Dick Burgess. If you haven’t come across him yet, you will – I forget when he was first introduced. The one I read at Christmas was the 22nd book and after a while you forget details like that. Now I’m back to meetings and reports and minutes and all that sort of stuff – but there will be a day when I retire from all the offices I hold! I’m looking forward to that day!

  14. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    The horror of the terrorism in Paris is staying on my mind. We were playing Bingo yesterday and I missed a number because I was so deep in thought. We belong to several Senior groups and I enjoy the people. Meeting and enjoying each other’s company means so much to me. I look around and see all the beautiful shades of skin color and different facial shapes………some good has happened in my lifetime.
    Sylvia, I finished The Hanging Garden yesterday. I enjoyed it and have started Innocent Graves. I spend too much time reading and playing computer games I guess. I’m feeling the tug to get into volunteer work again but only as a volunteer. Activities that I am not responsible for planning and implementing. Sort of a behind the scenes volunteer.
    Good thoughts to all.

    • Sylvia H. says:

      Barbara, I think the trick is to find a happy balance and being able to do something for your community without getting in over your head. Church work can get you in over your head quite easily, especially if you have difficulty saying “no”. Anyway, I have a plan now to gradually back out. But having some involvement is good for me; it makes me feel useful, and that’s important especially when you’re alone.

      Enjoy your Peter Robinson’s – they’re all good!

      • Julie says:

        Isn’t it funny how we often have such similar experiences. Every time I have volunteered for things, I find I get swallowed into committees and projects, and before you know it I’m chairing two or three things and wondering why I am so busy and feeling so hectic. I have vowed to never do more than one thing at any one time now where I’m “in charge” of something. So much nicer to participate and not have to run the whole show… So far, so good – I’m there, I’m doing my part, but I am only on one committee, though I am the chair, hahaha.

        • Sylvia H. says:

          Julie, I guess if one is a leader-type person, they get called on to lead – to the extent that they get frazzled and hectic! You have a good plan, and I’m glad it’s working for you. One of my main jobs involves chairing two committees, but they don’t have to meet every month, just on an as-needed basis. Most of the time things hum along, but every now and then things all bunch up together, and then you feel stressed! Oh well, it’s better than wondering how you’re going to pass another day! I never have enough hours! I’m starting to get back into crochet and knitting. I have arthritis badly in one of my fingers, so I thought that knitting and crochet, where I’m working with my hands, might help it. So far I’m managing, but it’s quite painful.

          Do any of you do needle crafts? I find it quite relaxing.

          • Julie says:

            You’re right, of course, Sylvia. Though I often think that it’s just that I can’t say “no”, hahaha. I, too, have never had to wonder what to do with my time – it’s much more wondering if everything will fit into the time I have! I do wonder about people who get bored. I think that it must take a completely different kind of person, because I don’t ever remember being bored, even when I haven’t been frantic to find time for everything. Of course, because I read, I have a rich inner life, hahahahaha.

            I do counted thread embroidery – cross stitch, and other counted thread techniques. Mostly I work on samplers, and study historical samplers. That’s my passion! It IS very relaxing – so often people will look at what seems like tiny, exacting work to them and exclaim that they wouldn’t have the patience, but I know that it doesn’t take patience, it gives it!

  15. Sylvia H. says:

    Hi Julie, we do share a lot, don’t we! I have a large number of kits – afghan kits to crochet or knit – and several cross-stitch ones. I don’t know whether I’ll get them all done, but I’ve picked up a granny square afghan that I left in the middle, and to my surprise, figured out where I left off and how to make the squares! After several years doing other things, I thought that wasn’t too bad! I also ordered a bunch more books, but these aren’t mysteries. They are books about Christianity by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Anne Lamott, and a new one by Brian McLaren, who is another favourite author of mine. They will occupy my mind quite well, I know! Some day I’m going to have the dreadful task of clearing out books, craft kits, and tons of other stuff before I make my move in a few years’ time.

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