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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 didn’t get her newsletter… 🙁 I have in the past… Going to check out her website. Thanks for the heads up ladies. And WELCOME to The Bistro, Nancy/Virginia.

Barbara – I’m with you. The newsletter in my mailbox last night about did me in! It’s the first time that Louise has mentioned the very natural feelings she must be having while trying to continue on as usual under such difficult circumstances. And I feel very selfish and awful to be glad that she’s still able to write and provide such great reading for us! I mean, how mean is that? I hope that, besides being so good for us, it helps Louise, too. I’m sure it does on some level, and I hope that she and Michael will have lots of good time left.

Welcome Nancy! It is good fun here in the Bistro. Reading the books from the beginning is the best way to go. It is so much fun seeing the story unroll and the characters growing. I am torn because I like the characters the way they are but they can not stagnant. They must stay fresh to be interesting.

A large part of the books success is that the depth and wonder of Louise’s character shines through. I feel greatly for her as she find her path in life at the moment. Such challenge an sadness but also enormous love.

Isn’t that the truth! I have new glasses but the lab forgot to correct for the astigmatism and everything is shear enough to ‘see’ yet blurry enough not to distinguish clearly the letters on the keyboard. I think I’m going back to using the old pair till this gets sorted out. I do NOT need help with typos. lol

My first post here. So interesting to reading all these. I started reading the Gamache series a while ago and then went and started from the 1st book. It is the best way to go because the relationships between the characters really makes these books work! I love this series and am so thrilled that the next one is coming out soon. Although not soon enough for me! I love Louise Penny’s writing and I really enjoyed the newsletter she just sent. She is obviously a wonderful, loving and brave person and it shows in her writing. Her characters have these same qualities. I’m so thrilled I found her books!

Anna, you are making some excellent life points too in The Cove. When we met Mattie, I understood her and thought Oh yes, this is going to be a book I really enjoy. Then, when Claire called out the Asthmatic boys’ names, Yes! Yes! They have names. They are not just their physical problems. The scuba gear for them was inspired. The various characters are already real. I have now finished the two books I had to return to the Library as soon as I could. We have finished at Sister’s except for last minute things we can do on Easter after Church and lunch. Now I can read The Cove.
Oh a correction…..Lamentation by C. J. Sansom was very enjoyable. It was only my mood that caused me not to like it at first. We know that sometimes happens with me.
Back to The Cove.

I think the highest praise a writer can receive is that the characters are real! Thanks Barbara.

I’m glad the spring blush has survived in Augusta. I keep hearing news about the Masters players. Putters of late have been the point of contention. Georgia is definitely on my visit list.

I’m so enjoying the renewed activity here. The idea of talking about the inspiration for places in Louise’s books is great. That was on her Facebook page, thanks Millie.

Why the thanks, Anna? Because I’ve returned with my typos and off topic additions to liven up the place? lol…

I hope everyone reads Louise Penny’s Facebook page and the monthly newsletter. Today’s newsletter had me in tears at the end. I am so grateful for her books and her views on life. She is never “preachy” but by example teaches valuable life lessons.

I have been remiss in following up on the post that we were to have freezing weather last week. The low temps were reached at the regional airport outside of Augusta but not in the city. The beautiful flowers and trees were spared. It is always colder at the airport where the US Weather Station is. The National and my neighborhood are as far from there as possible without going into South Carolina.

I’m giving up trying to type in a rush at night. The typos are horrendous. But it’s so nice to be back.

Nancy, I did get your point. I just loved that so many of us have ‘old coat’ stories, be they oogly or not. It didn’t specify cause it’s been a crazy day but what I laughed at was my coat was / is big enough for a pregnant women so it still fits! Lol…

Millie, I love your comment—“big enough for a pregnant woman so it still fits.” Thanks for the laugh.

My pleasure, Barbara. I really was tired and the ‘sophisticated’ should have had quote marks around it to hint at the fact it isn’t! My old black raincoat looks like I have a tent on, and with the hood up its a short teepee with a face sticking out the top. Anna said it perfectly, no pretensions when I put it on! But I love it!

I love Sally Field and I so get what she was saying! Thank you Millie.

The Beautiful Mystery is such a different book from the others in that it is set in a world apart and there is so little interaction with the other characters. It would be a bit difficult to understand the relationships and the undercurrents. I think we would love to tell Jane what she wants to know but it is so much better to come upon it all from the beginning. I would definitely hold off reading further forward without all that has gone before. How the Light Gets In is such a culmination of so many threads. I think it reads as a great story but the depth of the emotional experience is entirely different when read as a climax.

Jane, if you haven’t read the other books I envy you in a way….I would love to be starting at the beginning again as a novice. It’s a great adventure and journey as Millie says.

What I love about coats and Canada is that you can disappear into your coat and you could be anybody. It’s a great leveller! No pretensions.

Nancy and Julie, I loved your stories about the coats. It reminded me of Jean-Guy wanting to look GQ rather than wear a warm coat like Gamache. lol…
I have an old coat story too. It rarely rains in Los Anges County, CA, but one of my husband’s business trips was to San Diego, so I tagged along. To my surprise it rained buckets that week. So I decided to shop for a raincoat. But I was 8 months pregnant with our first child. I found a wonderful black coat with hood. Very sophisticated and not in the pregnant woman’s area. I still have it and use it. That son is 30!

Millie…the thing I was trying to say without saying was that the coat was/is the (apologies to Alan) ugliest coat I have ever seen. But it was warm…I guess.

Anna, I giggle at your reaction every time someone mentions how much they are enjoying your book. As though you think we are just being kind. We are kind but a truthful bunch too! We are kind enough not to say anything if we didn’t enjoy it, but truthful enough to mean it when we say we did. Relax, we mean it! You remind me of Sally Field accepting her Oscar, “You like me!” Yes we do and your book. 😉

Welcome to the Bistro, Jane! You are right. If you started with The Beautiful Mystery (which was my first introduction to Three Pines, also 🙂 you are certainly missing a lot. After TBM (we abreviate titles), I read them in order from book 1, “Still Life” – just as Anna suggested you consider doing. The relationship between all the characters (many of whom you haven’t even met if you started with TBM) evolves throughout the series in complex, fascinating, sometimes joyous, sometimes painful ways. Every book a gem in its own way. Enjoy the adventure of discovery and the caring community of the Bistro.

Hi Jane and welcome!

Have you read all the books or was Beautiful Mystery your first?
The relationship between Gamache and Jean Guy and Annie, Gamache’s daughter is an evolving one and best explained by reading the books from the beginning. I am just wary of giving you spoilers and undercutting your fun in watching events unfold.

If you do want more explanation regardless of spoilers we are happy to fill you in?

Hello. I am a little late in finding you all. But would love to get more information on the relationship between Gamache and Jean-Guy. Or should I say lack thereof; after finishing The Beautiful Mystery, I am now starting How the Light Gets In. Not far into it, it feels to me that I’ve missed something. The relationship between Jean-Guy and the Inspector’s daughter ……. ?

Anna, I’ve just read as far as Chapter 3 and it’s wonderful. You really do a great job of writing and I’m looking forward to reading the rest. (I used to read manuscripts for a YA fiction publisher so I’ve seen some less than wonderful stuff.) Yours is amazing.

Thank you Nancy! That is very kind of you to say. I am so glad you are enjoying the story.

The lovely comments from the Bistro crowd are high praise indeed as I know the standard you expect! But I also know you all to be very gentle souls. I would not have had the courage to set the book free without you. I know I have said it before but it is such a scary thing to do and the Bistro made it possible.

Book 2 and 3 are percolating as I am quite keen to know more!

Cathryne, I have to thank you for your lovely review. You are very kind. I was so scared to look after my nightmare but I was told to by a friend and met only kindness so than you very much. Thanks to you all 400 people have a copy of the book. That is amazing!!!!!!

OMG! The typos!
you ‘thing’ should be thinking & Anna’s ‘sent image’ = sentiment. Love/hate auto correct spelling. I don’t need help misspelling! LOL

Hi Nancy Miller, so nice to see old friends popping back in. You’re welcome. But no need to ever apologize for not being good with ‘tech stuff’. Everyone has different strengths and most things takes years of practice. If the ‘tech’ developers would stop ‘improving and updating’ more people would get better. But Nooooo! Just when I had something figured it, they’d change it. Argh. I finally gave up on Microsoft. I bought Eve’s fruit of temptation. I figured my PC was dying anyway and had to learn all over again because no one sells anymore the old system I was good at so gave Microsoft a raspberry and switched to Apple. And just in case you’re thing well some people are just better at techy things… I assure you, it was learn to text or rarely here from my sons! LOL. The things we do for love! Enjoy the story! And I echo Anna’s sent image of being glad you found your way here!

Thank you all for the lovely comments. I had a dream last night that all these one star reviews appeared so I am just not looking! What a image I had though of Barbara patting her pockets looking for her inhaler and Millie wide eyed watching for waves. That’s the best review a writer could get.

I have seen a few bushfires. The Christmas after Erin was born we couldn’t see ou side fence, but a few meters from the house and the whole town was ringed by fire. I spent the day and night at work and missed Christmas completely. People were evacuated off a beach by boat from one of the coastal towns.

I can’t believe Easter is upon us. Erin loves going to the Easter show in Sydney. It’s a massive agricultural show with animals and wood chopping but rides and show bags too. Our local bakery wins many gold medals which is not surprising as I munch on one of their brioche based hot cross buns!

Enjoy the Masters Barbara. Keep an eye on Jason Day for me!

Hi Nancy. Show bags are one of the main reason kids love the show, think county fair maybe but the Sydney show is huge. They were originally sample bags and manufacturers gave away samples of their wares. Overtime the bags cost money but supposedly you get a lot of value for your payment. In reality these days, the bags are padded with junk and vouchers but kids love them. There are Lindt chocolate bags, Coca cola, bags for magazines, movies like Frozen etc, hundreds of bags. Have a look at the link!


Oh wow. Thanks Anna. That was interesting. Also reminded me of a …what was it called? Maybe a Food Fair. I don’t remember but it was in Toronto about 1978 and I went with a friend from Australia (Sydney!) who was living in Toronto at the time since her husband was working at the University of Toronto. We had a wonderful day. You had to pay to enter but recouped the price because you were handed a bag at the door that was filled with lots of goodies and every booth had lots of free samples. Our friends eventually settled outside Melbourne and we saw them again three years ago when they visited Canada for her 60th birthday. Each time we get together it’s as if the years in between had never existed. We just pick up where we left off at the last visit. The friendship is a real treasure. Oh, since we’re in the Bistro and it’s a place for visiting I have to tell you (all) a funny story. When our friends lived in Toronto Alan bought an inexpensive coat to wear for the winter. It was warm, I guess, but that was it’s only recommendation and it served him well for the three years. Ten years later they came back to Toronto for a sabbatical and lo and behold he still had the same unbelievable coat!! He didn’t need it in Australia but had kept it “just in case”. Fortunately when they came back this last time (20 years later) he didn’t need it and I forgot to ask if he still has it….but I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer was “yes”.

Yep, we have clothes we only wear in Canada! The weather is too temperate here to warrant heavy wear. When we move to the States it will be different I am sure. I have been warned to buy early as the seasons in the shops change well before the weather does. Same here actually.

The bags at the food fair sound exactly the same, sample bags. They started out free in the 1900’s but gradually started to cost money as they became more popular. When I was a kid they were 20c to a dollar. Now they are $10-50!

Nancy – I’m quite sure you went to “The Ex” – The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. I went when I was a teenager – probably 1965 or so. Back then, we called it the “CNE”. For those in the US, think State Fair. There was (probably still is) one in every major city in Canada at the end of the summer (because it was also a harvest exhibition), but the one in Toronto was the biggest. I have fond memories of that trip, even though we stayed at our Aunt’s house, and she had a pig farm, whose smell was unbelievable, and at about 15, of course, my delicate sensibilities were outraged! I have clothes I saved to wear in Canada, but found, to my dismay, the first time I wanted to wear any of them, they didn’t fit me anymore. When I left Canada, I was quite sick and had lost a dangerous amount of weight, and of course, now I’m much more “robust”, shall we say? Hahahaha.

But Canada is full of hideous coats because it really is important that you stay warm! We have, collectively, decided that we don’t think they’re hideous, because, really, what else can we do? We all have those coats, and we all have trained ourselves to think that they look just fine!

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