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”

For you Millie 8 am is virtually the middle of the night. Interesting side effect. Wonder if it will persist. I do feel for you and Julie and your eyes. It is so hard not being able to see well enough to do the things we love. Dad is in that boat and it is contributing to his misery lately. I am on my way there as soon as the soup is done. May you both find success with your eye surgeons.
My arm is much better Julie. I found the neck pillow I had made a wonderful arm rest and hubby bought me Tylenol at the airport which really helped. The flight from Vancouver to Sydney is notoriously bumpy and take off was no exception. After the meal I feel asleep, the plane left after midnight, and missed the worst of the turbulence fortunately. Erin said it kept bouncing her off the seat even though she had a seatbelt on. Perhaps not tightened snugly across her hips as she was lying with her legs across her parents and boy are they long legs.
I like the dementor analogy Millie. I know people like that. They walk into the room and the energy disappears. Bizarre.
Great title Julie. Mystery Commander Extraordinaire. Bet that comes with a smashing hat. Lots of gold braid I imagine. I can see Paul sitting by the fire with his hat and a liquorice pipe espousing the challenges of marketing while we sit around with our Three Pines mugs steaming with cafe au lait nodding and tutting in sympathy. I did see a number of comments on Louise’s FB page excited about a reread so have a think about that one Commander. I am not sure I need to do a whole reread nor do I think I have anything worthy to say but there are people out there who may not have heard of the reread and bookclub, hard though that is to believe. I am always shocked when I find people who haven’t heard of Louise! Peter’s ski instructor hadn’t and she was from the same province. He set her straight.
Murder on a tour bus Julie? Wow that does present opportunities. Perhaps it has a restroom on board or poison in the victims water bottle. I know. The victim always puts ice in their opaque water bottle from the motel fridge…some have ice trays. Only the murderer takes advantage of this and adds an ice cube with the poison frozen in the middle. It doesn’t take effect until after it melts allowing the victim to be seen sipping from the water bottle for some time before dying throwing off the whole murder timeline so everyone thinks the bottle was poisoned while on the bus and it was actually done before they got on.

Ooooh – I like that idea a lot, Anna! The ice cube I mean. It reminds me a bit of one of the last murders in Breaking Bad – when there was a woman who was a big pain about only using Splenda (in the yellow packets) instead of whatever’s in the blue and pink packets of sweetener. She meets the murderer for a cup of tea and he has gotten there early and taken all but one packet of the yellow stuff away. The one he leaves, he puts in front of himself, and just as she is looking for a sweetener, he goes to take it, and she grabs it from him and puts it in her tea, thereby poisoning herself, as he has doctored that one. It was kind of poetic justice in a way. Loved that series, even though he was pure evil by the end of it.

How bizarre people, I wrote my last comment in a rush, I was stirring my soup. I now have to go and devour everyone’s comments that I didn’t even see. Hello everyone!!

Ok, I finally got the newsletter and she calls you a genius Paul. I feel somewhat mollified and feel I can go on with my day in a better frame of mind.

What a welcome, Julie. I finally read the Feb newsletter. It does say Paul is also “the genius responsible for, among other things, the virtual bistro.” Handsome and a genius! 🙂 We are truly grateful.

Anna, I think Marketing is very important (especially now that I’ve tried my hand at marketing a book), but I have no objection to an even more grand title! Paul Hochman, Mystery Commander Extraordinaire! Whatever they call you, Paul, we appreciate all you do for us.

I’m glad your Dad is doing better!

I love the new title – need to live with it a bit to conjure up what’s coming. I feel there was some unfinished business from the last book that we might see this time…

Mystery Commander it is then. Has a nice sideline that it is abbreviated MC which is also a fitting part of your role as Master of Ceremonies!

Barbara – I can’t imagine giving a dog an inhaler – poor Petey – what did he ever do to deserve this? I can hear him thinking it all over now, and deciding that you’ve all gone crazy. He’s okay to humor you once a day, but not more than that!

I wish I could send my hubby shopping – he just never gets the right things. He can be depended on if it’s bread and milk, but not beyond that. No worries though – I have been enjoying figuring out what I’m willing to pay a little premium for to have it delivered. After all, besides my time and energy, there’s the cost of running the car and the cost to the planet as well!

I’ll have to look out for Jeri Westerson. I do love Janet Evanovich – I remember once reading that Stephen King thought she was so bad she ought to be taken out and flogged, or some such thing. Then again, I don’t think I could read very many of his books, hahaha. Though really only because many of them are too creepy, not because I don’t think he’s a good writer. Still, I thought it was a very un-gracious thing to say!

Stephen King’s books scare me. too. I only read them during the day. I just can’t watch the movies based on his books. I don’t like to be frightened although studies show that many people do. I thought his comment about Evanovich’s writing was unprofessional at least. I certainly enjoy them.
Sam does well shopping but he buys too many sweets at the grocery. He’ll stop by and buy pie, cakes and cookies all on his own.

Anna! My heart just fell when I read that not only did the lurgy carry on terribly, but then you fell and hurt your arm! I could feel it throbbing all the way home on the airplane! What a rotten couple of bits of luck to spoil your beautiful holiday. I hope you were able to find SOME fun… I hate being sick when I’m away from home as it is, but to not be able to do what you came so far for, must have been torture!

So glad your Mum is doing well, but of course, just as that goes well, you have a problem with your Dad’s care. It’s so not fair! I hope he’s soon on the mend and more comfortable. The pooch, too!

I’m so glad you’re still working on the books – can’t wait to read the second one. And you’re already working on the third! Hallelujah! I would love to have been in that discussion of murder scenes. I’ve always thought it would be fun to write something about a murder on a tour bus… It’s close to a closed room mystery, as you have a very limited number of suspects and some interesting logistics to play with. Of course, that’s as far as I get, hahaha.

Hopefully, things will calm down a bit for you now, and you can carry on…

Oh, goodie! A room full of my favorite people. Even if we’re not able to be face to face, I love to wander in to the Bistro and “see” you all here! Millie, we’ve been wondering how you’re doing. Funny you should mention cataract surgery – I’m going to do that, too. My eyes are not really all that bad yet, but I’ve also got macular degeneration, which will eventually steal any ability to see to read, even. At that last exam, glaucoma made it’s first appearance, too – though not needing any treatment at this time, I can see what’s ahead (pun intended). Right now, though, I’m having a very hard time seeing well enough to stitch, and discussing it with the Dr. I said that even if it’s only a little better, it will give me another year or so to stitch, which I really want. I have so much I want to do. I’m back working at my Pride and Prejudice sampler, starting out with the end – Pemberley! I am making a lot of mistakes, but I figure I’ll probably be the only person who can see them, so what the heck! Anyway, Millie – you and I will do this thing together and get through it, I’m sure. I couldn’t get an appointment to discuss the surgery with the surgeon until March, however, and then it will be scheduled after that (see how determined I am that I WILL have it – never mind what he thinks?) – I hope not too long after that. Let us know when yours is… we can help each other do it!

I’m sorry the blood pressure pills are hard to take – each one of us is a little bit different. I’m on pills, too, but it seems like I’m lucky on that score – they have always worked really well and not had the slightest sense that I’m drugged. Though there are nights (like last night) when I feel like I wish I could just hit myself over the head with a hammer. I don’t have much going on right now, so have totally reverted to form – up at noon, awake til 3 or later. I think I’m going to experiment with ocean sounds to sleep to. Hopefully, hubby won’t mind – he probably won’t know – he’s asleep in a moment! I get so jealous!

Glad, glad, glad to see you here, Millie! I know what you mean about feeling not as well-read as you thought. Me too! Of course, I have never thought of myself as well-read, but now I have proof, hahaha. I keep on trying one here, one there of the so-called mystery “classics”. Latest was Ngaio Marsh, whose name alone is worth the price of the book! Her inspector Alleyn is much more humorous on the page than he was on TV, though I didn’t see very many of those. Of course, I felt like it wasn’t fair that he kept things from us all so we didn’t have a chance to solve the crime ourselves. Well, I was pretty sure who it was, but had completely accepted that he didn’t have time to do it, given his alibi.

I also tried the Lord Peter Wimsey series, but I’m afraid they left me cold. Too “mannered”, or stilted for me. Nobody writes like Louise! I do love the Harry Potter books, Millie – forgot about the dementors – yes, that’s exactly what she was like, hahaha. It was very interesting to see how everyone reacted to her. I kept trying to get control to get back to the topic, but she just would not be quiet. I have no idea why she was even there, as she didn’t do the project. We were actually quite a rag-tag little group, as one person didn’t see well enough to stitch, and another had absolutely no idea how to do a cross stitch, even though I had specified that some basic knowledge and experience were assumed. Oh, well – what can you do? Hahaha.

I understand your wanting to see as well as you can for as long as you can. I hope you and Millie will let us know when the surgeries are planned.
For several years, I was up till 3AM or later. Getting up late in the morning, breakfast wasn’t Brunch it was simply Lunch. Ocean sounds did help along with he sound of a mountain stream. I still have the machine by the bed and sometime use it. Those no sleep nights are horrors.

Oh dear Barbara, I can’t imagine giving an inhaler to the dog…she fusses enough when we worm her!
Dad got his antibiotics last night and I will see him shortly so hopefully he feels a bit better. He was certainly not happy and healthy yesterday.
Erin enjoys being a Senior. She told me she has 110 school days until she is finished! We usually just say they are in Yr 12 but we do refer to seniors as the year 11 and 12s. Not dissimilar.
Sorry about the situation with you MIL Barbara. She hasn’t died yet has she? I know she had a fall and at a 104 that is never good. We have bed rails on our Nursing Home beds and in the hospitals. They are just common sense. Dad uses them to help roll over in the night. We even bought some for home before he went into the Nursing Home.
I think it is perfectly reasonable to talk about other books as they keep us going while we wait for August 30 and the release of the new novel. I do like the name. Louise reads other books no talks about those so I don’t think she expects us to be in a completely mono literary relationship with her. My latest reads have included a Michael Connelly, Bill Bryson’s Road to Little Dribbling, a book about the spy Kim Philby and quite a few cookbooks. I also finished the last in the Isabella Carmody Obernewtyn series which has been a long time coming. Mind you, it was a 1000 pages. I did find myself editing as it was bit long winded. I think I bought another book at Christmas but I can’t find it.
I like the idea of the husband shopping service but when it comes to bookstores he is as bad as me and spends ages in them so I could be waiting while for my purchase.
Nice to hear from you Paul. The thinking cap is very jaunty. I think you deserved more than “of marketing” as your descriptor. It doesn’t convey your importance here or in the bookclub. I would point that out to Louise if I was a Facebooker! As it is you will have to take comforting knowing how we feel about you….of marketing indeed….we need a much grander title. Suggestions people? Grand Poobah?

No, my MIL is still here. I realize that all things considered, it can’t be much longer. Sam, his sister and brother are in complete denial. They seem to feel all is well and she will remain here. She has no quality of life from what Sam says.
You mentioned Bill Bryson’s new book. I saw yesterday that an adjacent county library has it. Don’t you just enjoy reading cookbooks. I have gotten rid of most of mine but still enjoy getting cookbooks from the library. It’s like watching cooking shows. I’ll never even try most recipes but I have picked up some helpful ideas.
Weren’t the “thinking caps” great ? They reminded me of two Sheldon scenes from Big Bang. The hats looked much like the cap he was wearing while weaving on his loom. The other was when he put his “thinking cap” on in the cafeteria. His had a chin strap which we carefully adjusted. When the others said they weren’t thinking about that topic anymore, he remarked in typical Sheldon style…..Well don’t I just feel foolish sitting here wearing this then. He proceeded to unbuckle the strap and lift the cap from his head.
I agree. Paul needs a much more descriptive title. Without him we would not be here in the Bistro. I must put my thinking cap on and have a think about a title.

Hello all! Thank you all who’ve sent hello and mentioned me… 🙂

Thanks Barbara for saying a few lines would do. I’m having a heck of a time reading and writing/typing. Need cataract surgery soon. When? Not sure. I know it’s safe & easy but my Blood Pressure refuses to be OK with that knowledge. Deep sigh. Even the pills to lower it aren’t helping. They just make me feel in a fog. On the upside, they seem to be helping me fall asleep quickly and wake up early. Hey Julie, before 8am on my own is EARLY, right? 🙂

Weather wise, I’m in lucky heaven. It’s lovely, almost warm and only sprinkles of rain every few days. Now and then it gets cold at night but I’ve been going to bed early so not bad.

Anna, Barbara, sorry to hear of your dilemmas. Blessings your way.
Julie, I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter series now it’s available thru Audible. Your story of the lady that sucked all the air out of the room made me laugh. Your very own “dementor”. At least she didn’t suck your soul. lol… Not to worry about discussing other authors. I’ve realized I’m not as well read as I thought. Gives me something to look forward to once my eyes are better. At least I know it seems like there’s always something for each of us to face and overcome. ONWARD, brave ones. I’m drawing strength from, and hopefully providing some to you all. Lots of love.

Controlling blood pressure can be tricky. It seems to be quite a problem to find the perfect one for some. A friend tried 8 different meds before he found one that both controlled the pressure and did not have dreadful side effects. I have had a bit of trouble with meds causing that fog effect. The early meds for anxiety were terrible about that. I hope you can find the “Magic solution”. Could relaxation tapes help? Meditation? I’m not a doctor but just a friend who would love to help. I hope you will be able to have the surgery soon.
Soothing and caring thoughts to you.
Not being able to see well is maddening. I struggle everyday with the damage caused by glaucoma. It is so frustrating.

You’re right Julie. It does seem odd to discuss other books here. But we are readers and want to share our joy with other readers. Jeri Westerson’s new book, “Silence of the Stone” is out. I enjoy reading about medieval times and her research is very good as well as the writing. I am anxious to follow Crispin on his latest adventure.
You remind me of my sister. She believes that if you can have it delivered to your door, why would you dress, drive to where ever, wait in a line in a store, and drive back home . I often use a shopping service—my husband. It works well. Usually. He is so restless and talks and reads to me when I am concentrating on something. It helps him and me. I just love to have the house to myself with Petey and Ms. Gray.
I think I’ll send Sam to buy Jeri Westerson’s book and Janet Evanovich’s Tricky Twenty-Two.
Evanovich’s books aren’t great writing but they are too funny for words.

Great to hear from you Anna. I was concerned as to what was wrong. Now I see. I had to stop and get my breath after reading your post.

I hope your Dad recovers soon. It is so frustrating to have a loved one ill and not be able to “make things right”. I think of your Mother often as my MIL nears her 105th birthday on the 22nd. I am saddened that I will not be able to attend her funeral due to my estrangement from the family. I’ll remember her in my way and say a prayer here by myself while they have the funeral.

Not a sick dog, too. We are not going to give Petey the steroid inhaler the Vet wanted. I just can’t upset him by trying to give him another inhaler twice more a day. More and more we are fortunate if we can get him to let us give him the ProAir inhaler once a day rather than twice. He is aging and he is less patient with what to him is just an annoyance. If he bites one of us, the Dr. is required by law to report the incident and an investigator will come to our home. Petey adores everyone but like any dog does not understand why we put the inhaler around his snout and hold it there for 12 seconds.

Is Erin excited about being a Senior in High School? At least that is how we describe it. I can’t remember what my friends said when their English grandchildren were in their last year.

Hope your arm is mending. I never realized what an inconvenience having one arm not working was until rotator problems.

You gave me a huge laugh when you wrote about discussing murder locations during dinner.

The newsletter gave the name of the new book. It is located in Three Pines so we get to catch up on our friends.

More later, Folks.

Hi everyone. I too saw Paul on Louise’s FB. So nice to put a handsome face to the name.
Well, I am home. The dreaded lurgy was a nasty one. I would think I was a bit better and try to ski only to find I was terribly breathless and it would be back to bed. Then halfway through the trip I slipped on ice walking back from dinner and whacked my left elbow on the pavers. I thought I had escaped with only a dent to my pride but as the shock wore off I discovered I had wrenched my arm from shoulder to wrist.
I did get a little skiing in basically on the last day of the holiday but it set my arm throbbing for the plane ride home. One of the first priorities when I arrived back was to get an X-ray, which is ok, and have arm taped and put in a sling to rest whatever has been sprained.
Then I discovered my dad very ill with urinary sepsis. Darn it is taking a while to sort that one out with miscommunications between GP and Nursing home, their fault not the GPs. Fingers crossed the right antibitics will be on board today. We had him on one but the nasty bugs are resistant to it. Poor dad is feeling awful and it’s no wonder.
Mum has been good which is great as I don’t think I could handle too much more…did I mention the dog has been throwing up and Erin has started her last year at school….
I gues you can tell why I have been a bit quiet lately.
Glad to hear you have a new doctor Barbara and fingers crossed all goes well. Sorry to hear about the sinus infection, that can really lay you low. I am hoping that has improved.
You are a busy girl as always Julie. It is so exhausting to be outside our comfort zones and scary. I did that once on my ski trip and it still has me shaking. I went on a run that my brain registered as a sheer cliff…it wasn’t but to me it was the same thing. Mind you, this was with my sore arm and the lurgy so I was very breathless. Not a good time to stretch anyone’s comfort zone but I did survive.
Awaiting Louise’s next newsletter but with a sense of trepidation with the excitement. I do worry about Michael. The prospect of learning the title to the new book is thrilling though.
I have done some research for my third book as well as the Whistler trip where I discussed murder locations with local friends. My husband said it made for weird dinner conversation.
How are you Millie? No snow I take it in Florida? Hopefully you aren’t dodging tornados or other nasty weather.
Take care everyone. The world is a bit tipsy turvy here at the moment!

Paul Hochman! It was nice to see you today on Louise’s FB page, smiling out at us, wearing your thinking cap! I am green with jealousy!

It has been so quiet lately. On some level, I feel guilty talking here about other books we’re reading, though I know that Louise understands that she can’t write fast enough to account for ALL our reading needs, hahaha. I’m having a nice quiet stay in these days. I think I’d never get out of pajamas if I were left to my own for long. As it is, I’m finding out how many things I can get delivered instead of having to go out and buy them, and it’s making a hermit of me!

Still, it’s nice to have a few weeks with no responsibilities. I keep saying “yes” to things outside my comfort zone, so this summer, I’m teaching a glass on faux grain painting. My business partner and I have for a few years, made paper mache boxes that we grain painted and filled up with needlework tools and sold online. They sold really really well, and people were always clamoring for them. Now that we’re not doing it anymore, I told one group in Utah I’d teach them how to do it on their own. Of course, the time they picked was August. It will be far too hot for people to be outside working on the boxes, and far too messy to be inside. So, I’ve got to do it in a slide presentation! Yoiks! I’ve almost got it all planned out, and now need to paint a box while taking photos of each step as I go along… Plus, I need to make it something that others who are not there can download and follow along on, so not only do I need to talk people through it live, but my written instructions have to be clear and thorough… What is wrong with me that I keep agreeing to do these things? hahaha

Hi ! The snow was gone by 2 PM and never stuck to the streets. No problem with ice either. We had the beauty of the snow and none of the problems others had. I almost feel guilty.
Still dealing with the sinus problem that laid me low. Not even being able to read was miserable.
I checked LP’s Facebook page and started the day with a laugh just now. Her Jan. newsletter brought tears. She is so sincere and caring.
Everything has been quite in the Bistro lately. I hope everyone is doing well. Would love to hear from you even if only a few lines.
Best to all.

Oh, Barbara – I’ll worry about you and Sam driving in the snow! I hope it really is gone by then. The news brings so many images of people stranded, and terrible car accidents. I hope you feel well enough to visit with your sister – sometimes those sinus colds can take hold and not let go. If you were so ill you couldn’t read, I imagine you were very miserable, indeed! I’m here in the sunshiny Pacific Northwest (okay – for the moment, the sun is shining at least) and hoping you are not too cold and sick. We won’t get any of the white stuff, still, but plenty of driving rain, which is a sign of a very bad storm that, once it’s passed through here, will turn to snow in the rest of the country – I hope very much that temperatures are soon mild enough to turn to rain for them… Though the flooding images aren’t really any better.

I was at a needlework guild meeting yesterday for which I was teaching a class on advanced cross stitch. There was one woman in the class who managed to suck all the air out of the room, and I feel that my mood will take some time to lighten. I did come home with a heightened awareness of how lucky I am!

SNOW !!!!! It is snowing again. At 4:30 AM Sam let Petey out and snow was on the ground and still falling. It started again a few minutes ago. It isn’t sticking to the patio or streets which is good. I hope the streets don’t ice.
Sam will drive me to my sister’s this afternoon so I can spend the night with her as usual. Our schedule has been interrupted because I have been sick. I didn’t go last Sat. I am recovering from a severe sinus infection. Too sick to read. For me that is really sick. I’ve spent most of the time in bed. At least I’m not dizzy now.
The weather is so bad up the East coast. I hope the people come through safely. I worry about the animals, too.
Don’t think you’ll get any snow, Millie. Florida does get a light dusting sometimes doesn’t it ? The Northern part of the state I mean.
Everyone stay warm and safe.

Barbara, I’m so glad you like the new Dr. – that’s one of the most important things, I think, to feel at ease with a Dr’s orders – to like and trust him or her. I know that sounds kind of frivolous, but it’s not – we have great instincts – the reason we might not like a Dr. is because we know they are not doing what’s best for us…

Opening the flood gates and having homes flooded out is awful – the choices we face sometimes can be heartbreaking. Even if there is money given to people to help mitigate the devastation, nothing is going to bring back precious belongings lost in the floods – photographs, especially. I am glad that basically ALL of my photographs are on the computer and therefore, also in the cloud, so they can’t be lost. Even all the old family photos – we scanned them in years ago for my parents’ funerals and shared them around the kids, so we all have a set. Mine are in the cloud, so I will always be able to get them back even when I lose a computer. Actually, wouldn’t that be a good project for kids to do for families – scan in old photos and put them on the cloud, so everyone in the family can have copies, and also so they won’t be lost…

I’m still busy reading along in the Anne Perry books – I had read what I thought was all the books available in the Monk series long ago, and but clearly either I hadn’t, or it was so long ago that she has done so many since… I don’t know how fast she writes – Louise’s one book a year seems lightning fast to me – how much faster could you do a good job, and Perrry’s books are full of research, though I expect a lot of it is almost second nature to her now as she must have been researching Victorian London for years now. But this latest one I’m reading is all about the life on the river and the docks, and the Pool of London, which is a term I hadn’t even heard of, but basically, the London Bridge was so built-up all around the pilings that it basically almost stopped the flow of the Thames in a big part of the river in the city and formed a “pool” which is where all the ships docked and unloaded cargo. The life of the poor people who lived on or near the wharfs there had to be hard to research, and she goes into great detail. I’m enjoying the books, and even more so now that I know some of her history, as I think it colors all of her discussions about good and evil.

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