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”

Inspector Fox was unsuccessful when it came to uncovering any obvious suspicious characters but he enjoyed a lively discussion with a pair of young men who had their own amusing insights into the drama. Freddie and Julian (not married Inspector, we don’t like to label the relationship) were a charismatic couple that cut trim figures in their jeans and Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirts. It was hard to pick their ages just on appearances but Fox had seen their drivers licences. Freddie, once a chef but now an interior designer, had silver hair and an unlined face. He had turned 38 a couple of months previously. Julian, a landscape architect, was older by a year but equally youthful with a crop of brown curls and twinkling blue eyes. If he put on a little weight he could be an adult version of a Raphael putto.
“We came on the tour to see the gardens, particularly those at Ormsby castle,” he explained while flicking through pictures on his tablet sized phone and showing them to the Inspector. Fox was not a great gardener but he was impressed by the examples Julian proffered. Interestingly each one contained a sinuous metal sculpture as a centerpiece. “As you can see, my designs are somewhat more contemporary but there is much to be learned from studying the traditional. I don’t think we should forget the past.”
“I’d happily forget the events of today,” Freddie had chimed in. “That woman died as she lived, ghastly!”
“There was no going gently into the good night with Ms Evangeline. Mind you, I will be the one sliding into the coffin with a canapé in one hand and a colourful cocktail in the other. You will have to drag me screaming from the party,” announced Julian.
“No thermos of iced water for you old man,” his partner agreed.
“Did everyone know about the thermos then?” asked the inspector.
“Everyone,” the boys agreed in unison.
“Frankly though, I always suspected it was vodka,” Freddie added confidentially.
Fox wasn’t sure if Freddie was joking. The younger man shrugged.
“I don’t really know but I always felt in need of a swig of something stronger than water when Evangeline was on the prowl. Thank goodness we’re gay or she might have been all over us as well.”
“If we had exuded the aroma of rich then being gay would have presented no barrier I am sure,” Julian insisted.
The boys denied having met Evangeline before the tour but they painted a very unflattering picture of Ms Purdue as an opportunist and possible gold digger. The latter could potentially lead to a motive at a stretch and if it was true. However, as far as Fox could determine the tour, while premium, was hardly the ideal holiday of the rich and famous who might be a target for a gold digger’s attentions.
“I suspect this was the best old Evangeline could manage,” Julian concluded. “She did have a whiff of the desperate about her.”

I suspect the problem of the body was an easier fix than the scheduling issues. After all it wasn’t particularly messy so once Evangeline was off the bus all is well! Now rebooking hotels for all those people is much more of an issue. Poor Sherry, no wonder she was hyperventilating.
More to come….

Well, that’s certainly true – not to mention the stain on her record. It’s one thing to have a COMPLAINT from a customer, but to have one up and die on you, and presumably murdered by another customer…

“Hopefully the upset was due to a death on the bus and not an interruption to their schedule “. Did have a laugh. I’ve had days, when I was Tour Director for Historic Augusta, that I wouldn’t have known which was worse. I am loving the story, Anna.

Thanks Julie. Didn’t want to disrupt the flow about LP though. I really did get a shiver when she talked about the new book.

“Hopefully the upset was due to a death on the bus and not an interruption to their scheduling. ” You crack me up, Anna! Love the story so far and the people in it. Can’t wait to find out if my theories are correct…

” Hopefully the upset was due to a death on the bus and not an interruption to their scheduling. ” You crack me up, Anna! I love it! I have it all worked out HOW it was done, just not who.. though I have a couple of theories… Naturally, it’s all conjecture on my part, and my face will be red once I find out what really happened, hahaha. I do love this story and the people in it.

Toni Collie leaned back in her chair and gave her boss a rundown on the tour guests which she had interviewed. Therese Longley had an Arts degree but was working as a nanny for a couple in London. They were away visiting family and hadn’t required her services so she was having a holiday on her own.
“Therese is the young, non confrontational type. She gave up her seat to the demanding Evangeline this morning. Actually, she struck me as a bit wet to be honest. Not unintelligent obviously but not overly keen to engage her brain either and too eager to be please.”
Fox smiled slightly. He knew his partner well and suspected her assessment of the young woman might be a little harsh. Toni was not infrequently described as a ‘hard’ woman by their colleagues and she could be but she had a heart under that rigid shell.
“Not the rampaging murderous sort then?” Fox quipped. “I spoke to Amelia Dinthorpe. She and Therese were together for the rest of the morning, didn’t leave their seats. Amelia’s background is more suited to the the villain we are looking for with her army experience and a medical degree. You need to check if she ever worked with nerve agents. Maybe a call to Porton Down?”
Toni snorted. “Like they would tell us if she had. The Army research mob are tight lipped at best.”
Fox nodded. “I have an old mate in the Army medical branch. I will try the back door approach tomorrow.”
They ran through the other passengers. The bus was a specially designed 30 seater but there were only 18 on the off season tour. There was a group of four young Australian teachers on holiday over their summer, who had only arrived in England the day before the bus trip. Fox had a call in to their school principal for a background check but he thought their involvement was unlikely.
Collie had rung the bus company for information on Sherry McCarthy and the driver, Eddie Blakewell. Eddie had been with the company for thirty years and was nearing retirement. There was not a black mark on his record, if you didn’t count a fondness for the music of One Direction which he had picked up from his grandchildren.
Sherry was in her second year as a tour guide having started out in the booking office. She was in her late twenties and due to marry in six months. The company owner spoke well of her and she had seemed a decent sort to Toni. Admittedly, she had been hyperventilating into a paper bag when the detectives had first arrived on the scene, which Collie thought wasn’t totally unreasonable. Hopefully the upset was due to a death on the bus and not an interruption to their scheduling. Regardless, Sherry had pulled herself together and helped a constable organise for the guests to stay at the Inn rather than the designated hotel 30 miles away. Made their investigation so much easier but they would be moving on tomorrow afternoon for a two night stay at Ormsby Castle before heading straight back to London. They needed to make the most of the time they had with the suspects.
Toni had also interviewed Frank and Doreen Hamill, a couple in their late fifties.
“He is an accountant with his own small firm. Doreen manages a High Street clothing store. They have three married children. Their opinion of Ms Purdue differed slightly. Doreen thought she was a hussy. Frank was a bit more sympathetic, thought she was lonely and attention seeking as a result.”
“Nothing like motive or opportunity as far as you could see?”
“Wishful thinking with this lot I’m afraid Sir,” Toni snorted. In all her interviews she had come across neither. The Mason’s, Lizzie and Dave were in their late thirties but had expressed almost identical opinions to the Hamill’s, similarly split along gender lines. Evangeline Purdue evoked sympathy in the males and bristling disapproval among the females, with the insipid Therese Longley a minor exception to the rule.

So lovely to see so many faces in the Bistro. I can feel the excitement building but August seems so far. Mind you, I don’t want to wish the time away.
Lucky you Amy, the trip sounds lovely. I hope to see Quebec in winter. It is definitely on the wishlist. Love your thoughts on the book. I too wondered if it related to the boys in the stained glass. I don’t like the sound of suspicion falling on Gamace, shades of old evil circling again. Did anyone else think Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when reading about Amelia Choquet?

Hi ladies ! So excited to read about LP’s new book! So many questions from the reveal. Sounds like he may be teaching a the academy; is the old friend Emile? What about the old adversary? John Flemming , Michel Brebuefe? Is the stained glass window the boys in the church ? Lots of things to ponder, but only Louise can make it a great story. Love how she ties all things together. Hope all is well with you all! had a great trip to Winter Carnaval in Old Quebec City in Feb. The Bury Your Dead tour was great! Louise actually rented a house for a month ; in the book it was Emile’s house! Beautiful city!

I think that, too, Kim. (About the upkeep) It would be so much better if she could donate it to the Arts Society or something.

I can’t imagine anyone living in Jane’s house…. Too disconcerting to have (what I picture as) walls jam packed with people and places. But too sacred to paint over. Clara is obviously still living in the home she shared with Peter. The Gamaches are in Emilie’s old house. It strikes me that Clara might find the upkeep difficult – at least in the real world.

Karen – welcome! Louise is wonderful, isn’t she? If you haven’t gotten to “know” her yet, do! I find I enjoy the books even more after getting to see a glimpse into her remarkable life! Join her FB page and sign up for the newsletter. You’ll see that besides arising early every morning to write, she invites us into her life to share her joys and sorrows. And gives us an idea of what it takes to write a book like hers. She is a wonderful writer, uniquely Canadian, and the books show her love of country as well as of her fellow man.

There are several interviews with her available on Youtube, and she is a wonderful, funny, speaker!

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could see those centerpieces. There are all manner of things that were hidden inside, and how big must they have been to be able to truly hide some of those things? In my mind, there are lots of spiky flowers, etc. in them – like this: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/708/23660536112_23ea0b0292_o.jpg

I think nobody lives in Jane’s house. In my mind, I have it being featured a bit in the last book, and it was empty? But it definitely belongs to Clara. I’d hoped that the Artists Society would take it over and make it into a gallery space… or at least a place for them to have the societies parties and events… I’m sure Clara is taking care of the art on the walls, so I don’t think anyone would actually “live” there… but that’s just my speculation – Louise has never told us.

Welcome, Karen! I have also wondered about Jane’s house and artwork.

I listened to The Beautiful Mystery read on the radio (Wisconsin Public’s Radio’s Chapter A Day program) for my intro to Louise Penny. That had proper French also.

New thread: “found” this amazing author/series by randomly selecting the “book on CD” at the local library, to listen to while driving. Hearing the proper pronunciation of all the French has made reading all the other books even more enjoyable. The Movie? Well, who has EVER read a book, seen the film, and thought, well “thank goodness for the film version?” Now, I have been able to enjoy the Tolkien films, having never read the books, so, in some ways, I think it is one or the other…can’t have your cake, and eat it too!

I would LOVE to see some of the centerpiece described when the recipe postings start-surely there is a talented, avant-garde florist who will take on the challenge? Wasn’t there a book in one, and a sausage in another? I eagerly await the next book in the series, (here in America). I have spent a bit of time in the province of Quebec, in fact, I am MeMe, to my grand daughter. (Accents missing, can’t get the hang of that). The author is clearly a strong, lovely woman (ren Marie?) quietly writing, gently spending quality time with her husband, and sharing that journey as well. Remarkable!
My burning Question? Who lives in Jane’s house, and is it preserved with all her drawings? (Hideous wallpaper removed?)

Millie – how brave of you to face family and friends and say “no”. I know just how hard that is, even though it sounds so easy, but you have a really good excuse right now, as you can tell them with your eye surgery you are taking some time to heal and get used to the new way of seeing. I think you can let on that this is not something that’s over in a day or two, but that will be an ongoing thing for awhile. Hopefully, that will get you used to saying “no – that doesn’t fit in with our plans” enough that you will have learned a new skill and earned some peace… My husband Vern (who has no idea how hard it is for me to say “no”), always says “They don’t respect you more if you let them walk all over you”, and I know that’s true. Just so darn hard to do much about for me.

I must confess, I, too, had lost track of when the second eye was getting “done” – that’s fast – good for you! Hopefully, things will soon be on track (no matter what you tell people) and you’ll be feeling so much better. Keep us posted…

Barbara, thanks for keeping me in your thoughts, but the surgery on the right eye was today! I have no idea why I wrote MAY 5th. The 5th I started drops. So I can understand that. The month? Senior moment? Lol

Please go to page 75 and about the 3rd down from top. My intent was to write that at the bottom then go back to make tiny replies. It ended up in the wrong place and a big eye strain headache. Sorry, but I chose Downton Abby. 🙂

I’ll write when I can, right now I have no up close vision to speak of. Hugs.

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