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 had a look at the blog Julie….it made me hungry! I do love that food is such a part of the Three Pines life. People who love food and books have warm hearts I think.
I have been rather lost in my research lately which has necessitated lots of reading and some furious scribbling. I have dived into history and it has taken me in some interesting directions. I must be careful not to get lost in the past but it really does help one understand the present.
How is everyone? Sending you all happy thoughts.

Hi, Neva – welcome to the Bistro! You’ll have noticed we’re not really talking about Louise’s books right now, but please, don’t let that put you off. We will definitely talk (ad nauseum) about any of Louise’s books at any time – you’ll notice that there are 71 pages of discussion here – which means that we’ve talked and talked about the books. We are definitely NOT talked out, though, so please, do ask questions. I see that Anna has assured you that Ruth is not dead. The only other time I can think of that you might have thought anything like that was in the first book – Still Life, in which Jane dies, and Jane and Ruth are close friends, along with Timmer (or at least, if they weren’t all friends, they were all of a generation and in a small town like Three Pines, that would automatically throw them together. I wonder if you aren’t remembering some other book that you might have read at some point – I do that, all the time. Mix up different books and authors.

Please jump in and start any discussion you like – we’ll be here! And if you feel like it, you can browse through earlier discussions to see what we all thought about the earlier books. I envy you, still having one unread – they’re like wonderful pastries, but rare, as we only get one a year. When I think how I gobbled them down the first time around! I’m thankful for the re-read, as I got to savor them more.

Speaking of pastries, have people been following along with The Night is a Strawberry blog? I love it – there’s always an imaginative recipe meant to evoke one of the items in a book but also a thoughtful book discussion. The last one, with brownie tartlets, was inspired! If you haven’t found it yet, just google The Night is a Strawberry. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Hi Neva. Welcome.
Be assured that Ruth did not die although I am wracking my brain to figure out why you may have thought that. A number of older women walked into the snow in a previous book and there were fatalities. Could it be you thought Ruth was part of that group? Whatever it was, Ruth is alive and acerbic as ever. She is becoming a little more frail as is to be expected but her spirit is strong!
Lucky you just starting on The Nature of the Beast. I hope you enjoy. We are all looking forward to Louise’s latest coming on August 30th, A Great Reckoning.
Please ask any questions or make any comments. We are a friendly bunch who love to chat about the books…..or anything else while we wait for the next one.

Hello. I’m new to the group, but I have a question: I have read all the previous books, and have just started The Nature of the Beast, and I’m confused. I would swear that Ruth died in a previous book but here she is again. Am I misremembering? Thank you.

Thank goodness Millie. You managed to lower your blood pressure despite the stress of needing surgery and the worry of needing to lower your BP to get to surgery. That is wicked meditating. Que sera sera does get me through some bad days I have to say.
Now that you have the dates try to relax and enjoy the prospect of clearer vision rather than the process of how that is going to happen. Keep your eyes on the prize as it were and not on the road you have to travel. Glad you have been able to post despite the difficult of seeing! It’s always good to have you in the Bistro.

I did it! Lowered my blood pressure enough to get surgery dates. Barbara, I used meditation, sang “Que será, será. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que será, será.” Called on all the guardian angels, saints and beings of light who might even remotely know and love me and even my namesake for help. Slowed my breathing… You name it. Even thanked my body for the eyes I have which only need a little tweaking. Thank you Barbara, Anna and Julie for your encouragement, positive thoughts, your stories of accepting what is and, well, everything. And thanks to the quiet ones too who don’t post much but are part of this incredible group. 🙂
Surgery on left eye Feb 22nd. On right eye, March 11th. I should be in great shape to read Louise’s next book come August. I’ll keep you posted but for now it’s like trying to write underwater. Could be worse! 🙂 Love and blessings.

Millie – that’s great news! Good for you – you will be all done before I could even get in to be “evaluated”. That’s what they say the surgeon is going to do, but if he thinks he’s going to tell me I don’t need the surgery, he’s got another think coming, as my mother used to say! So glad you got the blood pressure under control! Que sera, sera – now I’ll be singing that all day long, hahaha. As I recall, the song was a central theme in the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much (not really a remake, as the two films don’t resemble each other at all, except both are familiar as Hitchcock’s usual kinds of plots – lots of foreign intrigue). Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors, even though I know he was, really, quite a horrible man. Brilliant, but horrible and petty, haha.

Speaking of Louise…what do we think. Firstly : A Great Reckoning. It does seem to imply someone gets a deserved comeuppance. A past sin come home to roost? But what of the killer? Shall we be sympathetic to their past hurts or have they been twisted into a Gollum like parody of themselves, intent only on fulfilling their aim of revenge?
Pure speculation of course but my first thoughts on the book.
Secondly….once again primarily a Three Pines event. Unusual as they are often interspersed with a novel away and the last was in Three Pines. Still working on developing what is going to happen to Gamache? Or has he a new job and it involves Three Pines?

Dad can’t seem to get that simple measures like new glasses won’t help and doesn’t like the ophthalmologist because he told him the truth. Ugh.
Feel free to complain Julie because it is frustrating. At least you are doing your best to manage and understand the difficulties.
All in all not a bad day here. Sunny and a bit muggy. Elders not too bad…apart from dads eyes which I rinsed with saline as hay fever is having an effect. Now I really need to get on with this book. I am finding it hard to get down to writing after seeing the elders as that is a bit draining but Louise does it so I need to be stronger.
I have a whole backstory which covers several generations for one character that I need to write down. I probably don’t need to put it all in the book but I need it to understand what is going on. It is really interesting but needs some historical research so I have done lots of back reading. That is contributing to my novel but pages are not being written so it feels like progress is slow.

I read all you comments Barbara. Glaucoma runs in our family along with macular degeneration and cataracts. I have it all before me!
I love cookbooks. I am looking to jazz up my healthy repertoire as everyone wants to drop a few kilos except Erin who needs to put some on. She eats all the time but uses the energy growing. Perhaps if I didn’t feed her…..

Anna, both my parents had macular degeneration and I swore that I wouldn’t be like my mother, who seemed surprised and hurt by the fact that she couldn’t see well every day of her life for the last five years of it. I swore I’d adjust, not worry about the things I couldn’t do anymore and do the things I COULD still do. About three years before she died, the doctors sent her to a School for the Blind-sponsored course to learn some coping mechanisms, and got her a speaking clock, etc. She had a phone with buttons each almost the size of a small cellphone, which also helped a lot. So I intend to move along with things, but not until I have to. The big difference, I hope, is that I won’t whine about it. (I hope).

I just love seeing so many people in the Bistro. I want to reply to many posts so I am going back a page and post under reply. Please check. Not that my words are so interesting, but that I want to share. I’ll post later today.
Hi, to Catheryne. I hope things are going smoothly for you. I always look to see if you have posted.
Caring thoughts to all.

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.

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