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. Millie says:

    Not sleeping very soundly so thought I’d stop in the Bistro to see if you had popped in, Anna. It didn’t even occur to me how your dad might be dealing with all this. You, dear soul, have so much on your hands right now…

    Thank you for your company. It’s comforting and appreciated. Time to stare at the fire and try to relax sipping tea with a cookie with chocolate. Chocolate is supposed to make one feel good. I’ll take the help with no thought to calories. :-/

    Sharing a box of tissues with you and counting my blessings, I find that helps.

    • Anna says:

      There are no calories in the Bistro Millie. Isn’t that joyous!

      It really does help to have your company. It can be a bit lonely, well a lot lonely at times even tough many people are trying to help.

      The fire is so comforting tonight tough. I am sure it’s sharing it with friends.

      • Anna says:

        Speaking of counting our blessings, my darling daughter is home from her school camp. She talked for hours about all the fun she had then fell fast asleep wrapped around her dog. Too cute and so good to have her home. My husband is home for the weekend. He said to tell you Millie, that he is very sorry about your Aunt and he sends you his best.

        I finally wrote something tonite after being unable to generate any new thoughts for my book. I have the beginning, the end and half the middle but it’s been hard to concentrate. Have to keep trying. Life can’t stop completely even if that is how it feels.

        Wonder how Clara will do it? Will she be able to paint? Will her paintings change from her experience? She was already good at laying the emotion bare on the canvas. My emotion is too close to draw on it for inspiration.

  2. Anna says:

    Though…..not tough! Honestly, I think my iPad is having issues.

  3. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Anna and Millie, My heart reaches out to both of you. I can say with certainty that the sun will shine again when the dark clouds pass…and they will. Condolences, Millie, on the loss of your Aunt. I remember as one by one they left. That entire generation gone.
    Anna, I love the image of your daughter sleeping on her dog. Mine were such a help to me during all the bad times of my life. Glad to hear you were able to write some.
    Good thoughts to you both.

  4. Millie says:

    Thank you, Barbara, for the reminder that the sun will shine again. I was thinking last night of just what you said, how quickly I’m seeing ‘that entire generation’ going… Not that no other Aunts or Uncles had died before. But most passed while in the middle of doing what they loved. One much older Uncle passed away while on a chartered fishing boat out at sea having the time of his life! Quick heart attack and gone. What is so painful now is the agony of watching the ‘younger’ ones resuscitated from stokes or whatever to only live in pain, without memory, scared…

    I’ve lived where there were earth quakes and where there were hurricanes – the hurricanes were much harder on the nerves. The last three years have felt like living in a hurricane of emotions and I’m so tired…

    And so grateful for the good thoughts…

  5. Millie says:

    Anna, I too have experienced “well a lot lonely”… I think I know what you mean without you having to explain it.

    Your daughter sounds like a delight, you are so lucky to have her. And thank your sweet husband for his best wishes. Enjoy your weekend with him. My husband travels also. I know how precious that time together is. Tho I remember you saying that even when apart you are still connected. Yes. Know that too. And the glory of relaxing and allowing others to take charge for a while. Soon enough I’ll have to be the strong once again. Jump back into that hurricane… I hope you continue to allow yourself the grace to, as Clara says, ‘get on with your life’.

    Stop by the Bistro to catch your breath, write when you can. Things have a way of sorting themselves out if we just let them…

    When you asked, “Wonder how Clara will do it?” I thought she would be able to paint again if she doesn’t forget the joy. If she doesn’t stop loving. Loved Reine Marie’s quoting Nietzsche, “We love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving.”

    As Barbara so kindly told us, The sun will shine again! In the meantime, I send you my love. You have become a dear friend although we have never met. The miracle of books and the internet and risking reaching out past the clouds and past the loneliness. :-)
    Thank you Paul.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you Millie for saying I am a dear friend. I couldn’t wish for a higher compliment. And I feel the same about you and our Bistro companions.

      Barbara, you are always so warm and kind as well. I hope things are ok in your spot of the world and you have seen the sun shine too.

      The sun has been shining here, it is a beautiful day but life for Mum is so very hard it makes it difficult to appreciate fully the joy of the day.

      I keep thinking about chiaroscuro and the light and the dark. Night is always an interesting time. It can wrap around you like a cloak and hold you safe until morning. Or it can stretch forever and feel cold and lonely. Pain is so hard at night because there are so few boundaries to the world in darkness. Pain can also feel overwhelming as though it will go on forever.

      There is no doubt that the way we see everything can change. We can choose to let the dark enfold us in comfort, or let our imaginations expand in the limitless night or cringe against the fears which loom larger in the dark.

      The light can equally be good or frightening. It’s lovely to sit in the sun but the glare can hurt our eyes. The light can limit our thinking by shining on too many distractions. Or equally it can show us the way home.

      Trying to make the choice to see more good and less bad in everything. Thank you all for the support and help to keep going forward.

      • Karen Gast says:

        My 5-year-old granddaughter has a sudden interest in (or concentration on?) death. I want very badly to find the moment to talk with her about that because she came into my life when I was much older (now almost 78). I, too, think about death, but would tell her what I think is true: our bodies go away, but our spirits stay with you always in your heart.

  6. Kim B (KB) says:

    To Millie: I am sorry to hear about your hip. I do understand how repetitive or prolonged “mis-positioning” can lead to issues. Bad posture at the computer and desk played a large role in my neck and general spine arthritis issues. A few things helped me out a lot and I thought that I’d pass them along. First, I had to learn how important it was to relax when I was in pain. Tension (for me, starting in my jaw), drew the bones together, reducing space that was already reduced because of inflammation….increasing the pain. Lying on the floor on my back on a yoga mat and concentrating on slow breathing was key. I even slept like that when I was dealing with spasms. Second, yoga was a godsend. Not the crazy position kind – just gentle stretch and twists and then hang forward from hips. Everything clicks back into position. Finally, pilates has been very helpful to get small muscles working properly to give proper support. It has also been about working on articulating each joint in the spine and opening up shoulders and hips. A year later, I have almost no episodes of spasm or unbearable pain.

    Anna and Millie: I admire your strength along your journey with loved ones. Remember to care for yourselves. Grieve when you need to. And keep breathing. Prayers sent your way that it will get easier.

    • Anna says:

      All great advice Kim. Especially during times of stress it is so easy to have overactive muscle groups pulling us in the wrong direction, so to speak. I have been trying to exercise gently and I like your suggestions.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts, it means so much.

      • Karen Gast says:

        Acupuncture helps, too. I have an acupuncturist who works wonders with my neck down to the derriere when I have been abusing my body with too much time reading, watching TV, and being at the computer.

  7. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Good morning to all. Yesterday was a great day as we attended our high school reunion. It is always a joy to see people we don’t see otherwise. Our graduating class was over 500. We never really knew everyone. All the classes from the 50’s are welcome. I told them that the Heritage Room of the local library needed yearbooks from the 40’s and 50’s. Honestly, you would have thought I was asking for their first born child. I think some are planning to be buried with theirs. LOL. We have already given ours (same years) as well as copies from our Junior college ( now a 4 yr with Masters and Phds offered). We also gave our Jr and Sr years from Georgia. I should have told them that they could visit their books whenever they wanted.
    I’ve read through most posts from Still Life. Good comments from people who haven’t written lately, too. I hope we can discuss some of the points again in light of the entire series. Please, if anyone has a topic you want further discussion on, from any book, just bring it up. I hope all will join in with a topic or comments. Everyone’s view is important. We have such diversity that we can bring to the discussions.

  8. Julie says:

    Hello, everyone – I would love further discussion on any topic of any book. They all tie together so well, that I do think some of the grander themes (grander, just in that they span more than one book) would be great. Given that, I can’t think of anything right now, hahahaha.

    I have been reading the “new” Poirot – written with the approval of Agatha Christie’s family. I’m a little more than halfway through and I have to say that I am enjoying it very much. The author has found Poirot’s voice, which is lovely. The story, too, is worthy of Christie. I’ve been immersing myself in the Miss Marple teleplays on Acorn, as I have just a one-month subscription – gotten for Still Life – and I want to make the most of it. I’m watching Geraldine McEwan right now, though I do think that Joan Hickson was the most “Marple-y”. The latest ones with Julia McKenzie seem to have moved furthest off the mark to me. Neither of the latter two are bad, by any means, but they do seem to play a little fast and loose with the plots.

    All that said, I’m enjoying the watching immensely. I watch and stitch (so mostly listen) in the afternoons when I can.

    In general, how do you feel about modern interpretations of some of the past masters? And especially, new books with characters made famous by those past masters? It is very difficult to speak in the right voice in these books, and people manage it with more or less accuracy, it seems to me. As a Jane Austen fan, I’ve seen and read a great many “continuations” of Pride and Prejudice, including PD James’ “Death Comes to Pemberly”. In most cases, the writers fail to capture the right tone and language. Some of my favorites, though are Stephanie Barron’s series, which might be entitled something along the lines of “The Unpleasantness at Norland Park”, where murder is reduced to an unpleasant inconvenience for most of the characters. They give me a laugh!

  9. Barbara H. Johnson says:

    Julie, Joan Hickson IS Miss Marple to me. Have you ever seen the 4 Miss Marple movies Margaret Rutherford made? Of course she doesn’t look anything like the descriptions of Marple, But she is just so funny to me. Three are based on Christie’s novels. “Murder Ahoy” isn’t. I’m not an Austen fan, but I think I’ll try a Stephanie Barron book. Sounds good.
    More Later.

  10. Sylvia H. says:

    Fond thoughts to you, Anna, as you go through this painful time with your Mom. And also to you, Millie, in your struggles with pain and also condolences on the passing of your aunt. I liked Barbara’s assurance that the sun will shine again!

    Something I’ve been wondering about: There have been people in the stories who have just disappeared. In Still Life, there was the Croft family – what happened to them? Where did they go? And what about Michelle Mundin and Charlie? What happened to Hazel’s house after she was arrested for murdering Madeleine, and what happened to Sophie after all that? We hear a mention of the Parras, so we know they are still there, but is Havoc still working for Olivier? And Carole Gilbert seems isolated – you never hear of her coming out from the Inn and Spa. I thought she and Reine-Marie might strike up a friendship. It’s nice to see that Dominique is making friends in the village, but I feel sorry for Carole. Also we don’t hear much about Marc, but Jean-Guy did help him rake leaves. It’s nice to see Jean-Guy making friends in the village and just being there as a policeman solving a crime. And wasn’t that an adorable little conversation between Armand and Jean-Guy about whether Annie was pregnant! Armand was blustering that he would never ask, but Jean-Guy said it was alright to ask. I find Jean-Guy much warmer and kinder now. No doubt loving Annie and being loved back has made all the difference to him!

  11. Sylvia H. says:

    Sorry, it’s nice to see Jean-Guy making friends in the village and NOT just being there as a policeman solving a crime.

  12. Anna says:

    I was a little shocked to see Joan Hisckson died in 1998 and she only made 12 Miss Marples. She is so iconic as Miss Marple.

    I think the next book will back in Three Pines and the Surete in Montreal. What would we do if we were writing the book. I was thinking that Lacoste might run into a drama and call on Gamache for help. He would go back to help a friend. And I wonder at what is happening with the Brunel’s??

    Are you all ok? Millie……how are you managing? Did you go to your Aunt’s funeral?

    Mum is a little more settled in the last two days but it continues to be a slow demanding process. Have to keep reminding myself it is early days yet.

    On the bright side I have nearly finished my book. I let my brother read the first part. He picks up a really minor point about whether there was milk for coffee in one scene…..gosh, I am going to have to develop a thick skin. I saw the same here as we pick over the fine detail of Louise’s books. It’s actually not that easy to catch those little details when the Whole story has to flow….. so be kind

  13. Anna says:

    Thank you for your kind thoughts Sylvia. I didn’t see your comment until after I had written. I wonder about all the other characters too. Perhaps they will make an appearance soon. Louise is lucky in a way that she has quite a population to deal with and it does add to the complexity and layers of the village.

    I suspect we will be even more excited for the next book. In a way TLWH was the one that wrapped up the loose ended the last story arc, Peter, and the next one is the new beginning. Hopefully Armand will be well, Jean Guy will have stabilized even more with his new family life and we will see a new strength and purpose.

  14. Millie says:

    Hi everyone. I’m hanging in there. :-) I tried to write a short note thanking everyone for well wishes, great advice, etc on my phone but poof. So this will be shorter still.

    Enjoyed my granddaughters last week instead of her mama having to explain why ‘Nana’ wasn’t at her birthday party with my mom’s blessing.

    Sylvia, loved your ‘where are they/ what happened to’ list. I sometimes wonder what happened to Jane’s house with all that artwork…
    Kim, thanks for great advice. Stay moving. :-)
    Anna, glad your mom is adjusting and congrats on nearly finishing your book.
    I too am looking forward to what thread Ms Penny will pick up next.
    There was a lovely review of TLWH in our Sunday paper. Made me smile.

    I’ll try to write more later.
    Long live the Bistro! :-)

  15. Millie says:

    Anna, feel free to email me at
    if you ever need / want to talk in depth about having a parent with dementia or any of the really ‘off topic’ & painful ‘things’ we seem to have in common.

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