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.

3,639 replies on “The Bistro”

The best thing To do when writing a long post is to type it in a document like Word or Pages and cut and paste it over here. I am guilty of not doing that as I like to scroll up and down and check I responded to everything.

This page is such an entertaining read! Sorry about the post Barbara. How many times have I done that! It was just the way you put it….sorry about the scream…..I think I heard you from here!

The Scream everyone just heard was mine. I hit Post and mine disappeared. It had taken about 30 or so minutes and addressed many posts y’all had made. Now I’ve lapsed into southern speech with a capital S. Oh well, in times of stress people do revert to their first language.

SPOILER ALERT Ohhhhh – I let that comment “We’ll see” go right by. Yet, of course, it means something! I was just thinking that he meant that he’d be able to influence how things would go for that officer, but I think you’re right… He’s at least considering doing something…

So often, for me, “What’s Next” has an exasperated quality – like the last straw being bundled on my back – I need to get back to thinking of it as a good thing.

Millie – will you be going to the book fair, as well? How fun will that be? I just love that you are helping your mom with all the paperwork and the ins and outs of things. I, too, understood the blank look – not because I switch between languages like you, but because I switch between left and right brain activities very reluctantly. I can be immersed in design work, and Vern will say something and I haven’t got a clue what he’s said. Luckily for me, I can “see” the words hanging in the air, and as long as it wasn’t a long, rambling sentence, I can stop, switch gears, and still hear it and respond. He’s gotten used to the fact that he can say something to me, and that I WILL answer, but it will be about a 30-second delay. All the while, I think I must look like there is absolutely nothing between my ears, hahaha.

Millie – get lots of rest, and you will be unstoppable at this! (The becoming a morning person I recognize – it gets harder and harder for me to make it to morning appointments, but every once in awhile I have to. Not fun.)

Cathryne, So glad you could stop by. I’m sorry your Mother is in a bad spot now. We know those times come when we are caregivers, but that doesn’t make it easier. One of my problems was that I could not accept my inability to “Make everything right”. It hurts so much to want to help those we love by taking away health problems, but we can’t. I, like others here, understand what you are going through. I send you strength, physical and mental, and the reminder that we can only do our best even though it seems insufficient sometimes.
Stop by when you can. We care.

When I saw that Gamache was reading TKAM, I, too, wondered if it had been added at least after all the hoopla over GSAW. Love to know what Louise thinks about that. I saw Gamache, as he looked at the small bookcase, choosing a book to read, as having it filled with touchstone books – those that helped him remain centered and good. In a world swirling with evil, to be able to go, even for a few minutes, to a place where goodness is so prevalent, where things are black and white (no pun intended), must be so important to him.

Oh, so many thoughts running through my head. Yes, when Gamache’s name is revealed to Fleming, I think that’s absolutely a clue that he will be back. I hope that poor little Adam Cohen isn’t caught in the cross-fire. as even though he made a mistake, it was an honest mistake made when he was frightened half to death! I was so worried that the next scene was going to show us Cohen dead by the side of the road, his car and Fleming missing… duh duh duh…

I missed the apple thing, and considering the apple’s place in the whole good and evil landscape, you’d think I’d have noticed. Now I have to read the whole book again, hahaha.

Love it when wonderful things happen Millie and you and your mum deserve a whole lot of wonderful. You have become your mum’s PA and I bet buckets you are being amazing so big pat on the back or BZ, that’s a Bravo Zulu in the Navy and means well done. I know communication between men and women can be tricky but I laughed at your description of the blank look….what is he saying, I could hear you thinking. I do that a lot with my husband and I am not bilingual!


Good point with Gamache’s comment. It is exciting to think of the possibilities in everyone’s lives right now. “What next” might become my new mantra because it embodies the idea that we have done something, achieved something and we are looking with relish to the challenge to come. I don’t always face the future that way, covers over the head comes to mind. But I will endeavor to be stronger. You would be with Gamache by your side.

Why I’ve been too busy to participate: do you all remember my younger son, his wife and I helped my mom self publish a little book of her poems last year? She’s been invited to participate in an International Book Fair at the Institute of Fine Arts in Puerto Rico next month and she wants me to go with her! Just the impetus she needed to help her fill in the ‘What Next’ in her life! So I’ve been doing all the requisite paperwork for registration and publicity and catalogues for her. A more techno phobic person than mom would be hard to find! Lol What a lot of emails- and in Spanish! Funny, I used to be able to mentally switch between the two without skipping a beat. During one instance, I was typing away in Spanish when my hubby said something in English and I just stared at him blankly. I feel I know the coordinators like great friends now. They have been so gracious, kind and patient. This is all uncharted territory for me! No wonder Louise has an assistant! LOL…

Cathryne: So good to see you pop in and say hi. I do hope you are able to get someone to give you a bit of ‘time off’ from caregiver duty. My mom couldn’t because, unlike Louise’s Michael, dad was paranoid of anyone he didn’t know… The emotional demands can be more exhausting than the physical. Rest all you can. Big hug from me to you.
Re: What’s next for Gamache? There were many mentions of his conversing with his ‘friend’ at CSIS in Quebec… But in chapter8, during the section when the new Sûreté agent sent to guard the crime scene is belligerent towards Gamache and finally says he doesn’t have to take orders from him, Gamache says, “We’ll see!” That just jumped out at me as a possible What Next for Gamache. Wish I could write more but unlike Anna (waving to you across land and sea but too tired to write a separate note right now), and much more like Julie, I can only really concentrate on one thing at a time. And I must practice becoming a ‘morning person’ for the book fair. Heaven help me! Lol…


Isn’t it interesting how Rosenblatt tries to run down the intelligence and capabilities of Fraser and Delorme (I didn’t remeber, I looked it up….there is no shame in that 🙂 ). Nobody is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in that crowd!

And don’t you love how Gamache is reading TKAM, a nice nod to Harper Lee I thought. I wonder if Louise read GSAW?


I couldn’t agree more Amy. I felt a bit ill with anxiety when I read that Adam had given away information. Not a good idea at all. Fleming is a fabulous character. We see him ever so briefly but he has had a profound effect. He is more three dimensional to me than Rosenblatt or the agents (whose names I have forgotten momentarily, don’t worry Louise it’s not your writing but my memory, I forget my own characters names at times). Perhaps because he has evil he casts a shadow that gives him more depth.

Once again all you ladies have provided excellent food for fodder! I too feel that we will be seeing some of these characters again, unfortunately I think John Flemming will be one of them; remember when Adam Cohen confesses he made a mistake and Armand acknowledges it? I feel this is somehow a lead in to another encounter between Armand and Flemming. On a lighter note, don’t you love how Louise has infused the book with the bountiful harvest of apples? I need her humor to get me thru the dark episodes!

Cathryne – so glad you are able to take a little time for respite in the Bistro. I second what everyone is saying about making sure you get enough rest, and eating well. I’m so sorry that your mom’s health is requiring so much from you right now, but hopefully, things will get better, and you can come in and comment some on the discussions. Til then, just know we’re here, rooting for you and for her.

Anna – just sent through a long post about one of my experiences in New York, with links to pictures of the Rainbow Room, and it is now “awaiting moderation”, so I guess it might not make it if it turns out those links are to copyrighted pictures or something. So, I’m copying the post and if it doesn’t make it through, I’ll post again without the pics. Hopefully, though, since the pics are already up on the internet, it will be okay.

Anna, it’s very hard to live vicariously through others without their cooperation, isn’t it? Hahaha. For me, when I went there, it was all about experiences. I had grown up watching movies set in New York, and I wanted to see some of the places, and do some of the things I’d seen. One of my biggest thrills was dancing in the Rainbow Room, at the top of 30 Rock. I’d grown up just sure that once I was grown, I’d be going to nightclubs all the time, sitting at little tables with little lamps on them, and watching bands play dance music. Of course, by the time I’d grown up, that was not the way people went out to dance anymore, hahaha. But in the Rainbow Room, time stood still. We had the most lovely time. First, we went to the bar for a drink, and we were seated in a spot that gave us a perfect, front and center view of the Empire State Building. You know in Sleepless in Seattle, when Meg Ryan and Bill Pullman have a drink and look out on the Empire State Building? Well, that was our view – I’m sure we were sitting at THAT table! Then we went in to the Rainbow Room itself. It’s a beautiful, though over-the-top room that at that time had silver and gold lame tablecloths and curtains, drawn up to show that wonderful city view! http://www.longislandwebdesigning.com/images/richard-zampella-rainbow.jpg
We sat at a little table for two on a raised platform, and right in front of the center of the dance floor. There was quite a large band playing ballroom music, and people were dancing! After awhile, a man in big shirt with large frilly sleeves – like this – http://www.bigbandlibrary.com/desiarnazholidayinhavanalobbycard.jpeg – came in and sat down at the piano and took over for the piano-player, who left. Then another came and replaced the guitar player, and another took over for the trumpet player, etc., etc. By the end of the song, which had continued uninterrupted, everyone had been replaced, and the new bandleader came in and they played latin songs for a set, then the same routine as the ballroom band came back. They did this all night, so there was never a time without live music to dance to. It was just as it should be. We had dinner, but you didn’t need to – some people seemed to be regulars who came in just to dance and nurse a drink, and nobody seemed to mind.

I was struck with how everyone seemed to know how to do those kinds of dances, even the young people – Vern says everyone probably still takes cotillion in lots of places around New York. Whatever the reason was, it was so fun to be there and dance, and just experience it all. And I’ve got another million stories, Anna, so you’d better stop me! hahaha

So lovely to hear from you Cathryne!!! Sorry to hear that the demands of caring have increased. Big hugs from me. It can be so draining that there are times when I have no idea how to frame a sentence so kudos to you for dropping us a line and letting us know how you are. Do get rest when you can. My husband says sleep is a weapon. He means it is important. And it is. Eat well when you can and be kind to yourself. Despite what I just said, if you need to collapse on the couch and eat handfuls of chocolate…go ahead.

Remember if you can’t sleep I am usually awake while everyone is asleep so there is usually at least one sympathetic ear monitoring the Bistro. In the meantime, sit a while by the fire with a hot chocolate or a glass of something stronger and just breathe.

I have been enjoying following everyone’s thoughts, fascinating. I appreciate that Louise threw these ideas out for us to contemplate. It will, indeed, be interesting to see where they lead in the next book(s).
Anna, of course, copyright laws. I’m so glad that you are getting a map from Julie. Brilliant!
Millie, thanks for your concern. Yes, caregiving has taken an upturn, my mom’s needs have expanded for the time. Things may be better in a few weeks. I’m a little shut down mentally at the moment, trying to focus and successfully complete what is needed each day. I always check the Bistro and Louise’s post each day. Her story about Michael reaching out to try to button her sweater has given me many smiles.
Anna, I admire your attempts to elicit info from your daughter, but you know it will come. Hard to wait, though. New York! What a thrill for her.
Julie, I love your dress and the fabric. So beautiful and it does look delicious to wear!
Barbara, glad you got the book and liked it so much. I am remembering your reminders to take care of my health and, for one thing, I’m making myself go early to bed. No more late nights in the Bistro for now!

Excellent thoughts Julie and Barbara!
I was thinking about sociopathy whe I read that too Julie. I wonder if sociopaths see themselves as defective. If you have never had strong emotional attachments such things might feel like a waste of energy. Of course there are successful sociopaths, business and politics are often where they make their mark because studies have shown that they react to money and its acquisition.
If we accept that sociopathy per se is not evil But that psychopathy might be then why do some choose to do evil things? Boredom perhaps. A desire to test the limits of their lack of feeling? Actually, they must get something out it because something reinforces the behaviour. What might Fleming seek? He certainly likes to induce fear and discomfort in others.

Barbara, you expressed an important point, evil is a choice. Do you think that is what Gamache meant? No matter whether they born sociopathic or not they weren’t necessarily damaged or hurt to become as they were but they chose it. In that case someone like Myrna would have little to offer in the way of help if they had simply wanted to be what they are and do what they do with a clear ability to reason and a knowledge of society’s mores, then what can you say?

Thank goodness Myrna didn’t go into the SHU. She is so sensitive, it would have had the potential to hurt her beyond repair.

it would seem that being damaged is not a required precursor for being evil. So many of those in Three Pines are damaged but it has let the light in, provided their goodness a chance to grow.

A consultancy job might be just the flexible ticket for Gamache for a while.
I have never been to New York Julie but wouldn’t that be a great venue for a novel. My husband has and my daughter is there right now and seems to be loving it. She isn’t good about providing detail so I sent her a fill in the blanks email with suggested words in brackets….The things I love in NY ( list what you have enjoyed seeing) because (expand on why you those things)……and yet still nothing. I guess she really is having too good a time to tell me about it. Sigh.

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