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 too have yearned for chestnuts roasting but no joy so far. We do get fresh ones in the supermarket but I would have no idea what to do with them!

Thanks Julie. I won’t be in the States for Thanksgiving this year but I will for Christmas. I am going to start thinking about our Christmas Feast. Chestnuts will definitely be involved. As the time approaches I will be looking for more ideas to have an American Christmas.

Barbara – after years and years of yearning for “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” I found myself somewhere where there was a street vendor selling roast chestnuts… I immediately bought some, popped one in my mouth and…. spit it out! It was horrible! I can’t imagine anyone liking them unless I got hold of a bad bunch somehow… I’m still intrigued, but my next foray will be much slower…. I wonder where they get the dried chestnuts… will have to go exploring online today.

LP has a lovely post on FB re the horror in Brussels. Prayers and good thoughts to the people of Belgium.

Tried to post but had an error in my Email address. The name and Email slots were empty and I must have made an error. The turkey looked and sounded so good I considered changing our menu for Easter. I’ve never eaten chestnuts. We, my family, use pecans in our dressing/stuffing and cook it in another pan not in the turkey. We also make a dressing/stuffing using oysters but no nuts.

Fox was impressed that the landscape gardener only looked back with a now passive gaze. There was no trace of ebullient character from the day before. Freddie showed a trace of anxiety biting his lower lip. No doubt they were pondering which way to play their next move. If they were completely innocent of any crime then there would be no harm in being open with Fox but the boys were not talking…yet.
“I followed a link from your website to that of the sculptor. Angel is quite an artist and very much sought after but that particular style of sculpture is exclusive for your use.” Fox looked between the photograph on the table and Julian, who had developed a light sheen of sweat on his forehead. Freddie had gone pale.
“This image isn’t on your website where you so proudly display your portfolio of work but I am fairly certain this is one of your gardens. When did you complete it?”
“Five years ago,” sighed Julian finally. “It remains my favourite job so far.”
“Because of how it turned out, or because it is where you met Freddie?”
There was a little gasp from Freddie, presumably at the extent of the Inspector’s knowledge. Fox had been busy. He had found the photograph of the garden and sculpture while flicking through Whitmore’s file and went on to find a list of staff employed at the time of the man’s death. While he hadn’t been present on that fateful night, the chef at Whitmore’s mansion had been none other than Freddie Moore.
“He was a nice man and a good boss,” Freddie admitted when presented with the facts. “Not very demanding when it came to food and he let me try a whole range of dishes. I got on well with his assistant Marcus Collier too. It was Marcus that listened to my interior design ideas. Whitmore was happy to go along with them and he encouraged me to think about design as a career. When he died, I did. He left money for all of the staff to support them while they found work.”
“Why do you think a man in Whitmore’s position would take his own life? He was wealthy, barely fifty and in good physical condition. Was he lonely? Depressed? What drove him?”
“A bit of both possibly. Something was definitely bothering him in the months before he died. He wasn’t eating much and goodness knows I tried hard to make things he would like. He spent a lot of time in his study with Marcus at night putting together plans, making calls to countries around the world for business and charity work. I sometimes did a light supper for them. Whitmore was quite a philanthropist.”
It was not the character reference Fox was expecting. It did not tally at all with the vision of a man selling chemical weapons to terrorists that Morrisey had presented. There was still no obvious link to their current case. How did Evangeline Purdue fit into the picture? Her name did not appear in the Whitmore file but there had to be a connection.
Collie finished her coffee and stared at the two gentleman finally fixing her gaze on Freddie Moore.
“How long did you work for Brendan Whitmore?”
Freddie looked sad now rather than anxious.
“Five years.”
“You would have seen a lot of people come and go around the mansion.”
The one time chef shrugged. “Some. I wasn’t confined to the kitchen. But if you want to know about Whitmore’s visitors, you would be better off asking Marcus. He was the keeper of the keys so to speak.”
“We will when he gets here. Turns out he still lives in the village of Whetton Hills, not far as it turns out, from where you and Mr Attwater have a cottage.”
“It was Freddie’s home when he worked for Whitmore. We don’t get up there much anymore,” Julian said. “Marcus keeps an eye on it for us. He really is a nice bloke.”
Fox leaned forward with a stern expression. “Who is Evangeline Purdue?”
Julian glared at him. “A nasty woman who died on the bus.”
“A very nasty woman,” whispered Freddie.

Oh and after I press post comment the screen reloads blank and I can sometimes refresh the page a few times from the browser bar and it will come up and sometimes I just get a blank screen and can’t get back in.

Thanks Julie! Might have to turn it into a book!
Paul, the problem for me is sometimes the Bistro just doesn’t load. I get gamacheseries.com in the browser bar but a white screen. It has taken me multiple attempts to get here. Have we overloaded the page limit!?

Hi Cathryne. Always great to hear that you are ok. One of my friends has just jetted off to Ireland to see her family there so it must be the season! We were debating what clothes she would need and warm ones was the result.
I am sorry your grand daughter had an asthma attack. They can be very scary but it sounds like you did well in the crisis. Must be time for gummy bears and time with LP.
There are more posts but I can’t see the next page of the Bistro. It just won’t load! Hello to whoever is there. I have more story but I won’t post until I can figure out if this is working!

Oh, good – it’s not just me. That’s okay then. I’ve found if you use your back button after you think you’ve lost a post, it will come back (at which point I copy it just in case). I’m sure it will get worked out.

Nice to see a little flurry of messages here, even if it is about Artist tours I can’t go to and whether or not the site is working, hahaha. Any conversation here is good. Anna, I just can’t get over your talent at taking a germ of an idea (murder on a tour bus) and running with it. All the characters seem very real…. Well done!

Well, naturally, now that we are all talking about it, it hasn’t happened again, Paul. But if it does, I will, I promise.


You must have fixed it, Paul, as I haven’t had it happen since. Of course, if this is laughing in the face of the gods, then it will happen again now, hahaha.

Well, now I want to try posting to see if I can. I’m at my son’s with grandchildren while he and his wife have a week in Ireland. Happy parents! My co-grandma has made it possible to do this without my falling down flat. Darling 5 year old granddaughter had an asthma episode last Thurs. night, but with the help of my other son and my daughter-in-law’s fine written instructions, all is well.
Enjoying Anna’s story and everyone’s posts. My thoughts have been going out for the very best eye procedure outcomes.
I’ve been passing quite a few “Ice Ahead” signs, but also remembering that “All shall be well.” Thanks for being here and I’m so thankful for Louise too. I’m enjoying The Beautiful Mystery right now, again! I couldn’t believe the wonderful writing and choreography in the scene starting with pounding at the door of the abbey and ending with opening the door to the Hound of Hell. An amazingly well-thought-out scene, I never realized its full artistry and effectiveness.
Just f. Donna Leon’s new one and liked it very much.
I gave a copy of 84 Charing Cross Road to a friend recently and she loved, loved it. She and her daughter are fellow L.P. admirers and now she wants to read all the Helene Hanff books.
Best thoughts to all and thank heavens for the Bistro!

It worked Barbara. I hope you and Carol are well. I thought it was my long posts for the installments that was causing trouble but I guess the website has just had problems.

Yesterday I had terrible with this site. I got the same message as Julie. Sometimes I got the message when I tried to get to the site and just kept trying. One time I did manage to post. Then I wrote a very long post and lost it when I tried to post it. Then I could not get to the site again. I tried at Carol’s last evening but was unsuccessful. Hope this works.

I have had a lot of trouble accessing and posting from my iPad. I have been blaming my iPad. It’s one of the reasons I have been slow to get installments out.
I just did a quick google Lucy but haven’t found dates yet. Will keep looking.

Anyone have the dates for the Artist Studio Tour in the fall, that incorporates “places” from Louise’s books?? Thanks.

Lucy – I’ve not heard of this. I hope it is true and that someone here can go, so we can live vicariously…. Paul, do you know anything about it?

I don’t mind who solves it really. I think both of the detectives are quite clever and very hardworking. I spent yesterday writing with an aim to finish but as I hit 9000 word! there is a bit to go. Because I am hurrying and because you know how it was done…..that was where this whole thing started….the suspense may be a diminished but it will be a relief. Apologies for any errors or typos as it is on my iPad and harder to see clearly.
I hope everyone is well and excited for the Feasts of Three Pines. I am licking my lips! Autumn appears to have arrived at last here. It was actually cold last night! I daresay frosts are around the corner but we are off to Perth for Easter where 40 deg days are still not out of the question. Ugh. Heat is not my thing but seeing family is our agenda. I just have to get my daughter through half yearly exams next week. Rest and good food will be needed for both of us.

Oh, we don’t know I have the correct way it’s done in mind… There are actually a few different ways to do it that I’ve come up with. But the toxin itself will be the clue that tells us who, as it’s a fairly rare toxin that somebody needed to have access to or the ability to make – it’s not like ricin, which would be relatively easy, both to administer and to find… Very exciting – I have to admit, it never occurred to me it could be one of the two young men (not least because I didn’t know they existed before the second-to-last installment… but with my theory it could be literally anyone, hahaha.

Is anyone else having trouble with this site? I get a “this page can’t accept your request” type message whenever I post and I have to keep trying and trying… I wonder if the latest Chrome update has interfered with how it works for me? I’d better get in and see what I can find out.

The first piece of information that arrived mid morning was the toxicology result. Morgan was correct and the same nerve agent was indeed their murder weapon. Shortly afterwards some other interesting facts emerged which Fox and Collie ran through over more coffee. The Inspector’s contact knew not only Amelia Dinthorpe, but also quite a bit about the nerve agent which they had designated NAX13. However, Amelia had served in the Middle East and Afghanistan but not at Porton Down.
“She would know how to treat exposure to such things but that’s about it,” Colonel Morrisey explained. “Not that nerve toxins are that difficult to make unfortunately.”
Morrisey explained that he doubted that Amelia had anything to do with the death of Ms Purdue but he did tell them that NAX13 had been found in the bodies of 30 victims of a mysterious attack on a North African village where many of the deceased were children and two of them British aid workers.
“When did that happen?” Fox asked.
“About six months before Brendan Whitmore died. When NAX13 was implicated in his suicide we went over his facilities with a fine tooth comb, the suspicion being that Whitmore was making nerve agents and selling them to terrorists, but we found nothing.”
“Nothing at all?” Fox was incredulous given the coincidence.
“His international factories are continuously inspected to prevent exactly that sort of thing happening. The local research facility at Whetton Hills was also clean. We dug so hard we found any minor infraction that occurred on the premises but no links to NAX13.”
Morrisey promised to send Fox the file, redacted in parts but better than nothing.
“That’s our number one suspect slipping from poll position,” sighed Collie.
“Best we chat with the top six again, Ameila Dinthorpe included. This all seems to lead to Whitmore. Maybe that is where we need start,” Fox commented as he grabbed his suit coat.
They arrived at the Inn before lunch, after which the bus was due to head on to Ormsby, their suspects with it unless they could find a reason to hold them. The dining room was being set for the meal so the proprietors showed the detectives into a small library. They accepted the offer of more coffee, the Inn’s version was far beyond anything they could get at the station, and started their interviews with the boys.
Freddie and Julian were a little less relaxed. The first interview could be reasonably expected as routine but they obviously hadn’t anticipated a call back. Fox let them sit and simmer while he flicked through the file on the Whitmore death. Something had caught his eye the first time through. He found what he was looking for and placed the photograph in front of Julian. It was a scene shot of the Whitmore mansion, a large modern manor house set in an equally modern landscape, complete with metallic sculpture. The Inspector watched for any reaction and was pleased to see he had evoked one. It was subtle, just a widening of the eyes then a slight frown, which was even more interesting. If Julian had nothing to hide, why was he schooling his emotions.
“Look familiar Mr Attwater?”

I have my theory on how, and why – the who is really leaving me banging my head against a wall, however! I am so loving this story, Anna. I think Collie should be the one to solve it – just to be different – let the second stringer be the brains of the duo, whilst Fox takes all the credit!

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