LOUISE PENNY’S

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”

Your day not hour day. Dearie me, autocorrect is the bane of my day lately. Still it sometimes has hysterical outcomes!

Hi and welcome Sharon. We are all waiting for the next book. Louise is on the fourth draft so we are hopeful it is not far away.

Interestingly, my husband loves Louise Penny and he isn’t a demonstrative or emotional guy. Maybe women are more likely to post. We have had a few males drop through the Bistro and I am sure more read but don’t speak as it were.

If you haven’t yet, start reading through the discussions from the previous books. Scroll up to the right side of this page and tap on the book you want to read about. Or ask a question or post a thought. We are happy to chat. Don’t get put off by the non novel banter going on. We are all just staying in contact. Love to hear fresh thoughts and perspectives.

I read Bury Your Dead first. Like you I went back and explored the stories. We love the characters and the locations and the poems and songs. There is a world in the Three Pines books that attracts us all!

Really happy to see a new face in the Bistro. Pull up a comfy chair and have a coffee….or something stronger depending on hour days!

This is my first time on this page. I read the last book first, picked it up by accident, and then went back because the characters interested me and I wanted to hear their back story. I also find, in Ms. Pennys writing, books and music and poetry that I had read as a girl and its been a pleasure to go back to them as I have been doing. I always loved Leonard Cohen, his poetry, his music, etc., but I haven’t thought of him since I was a young woman. Rereading “Anthem” broke my heart, because of all of the hopes and dreams of the young, and how things, in the USA, are going backwards.
I also find it interesting that most of the readers of Gamache are women. Are the characters expressing too much emotion for men-who I assume are the primary readers of mysteries. (Although I may be wrong in that assumption). In any case, I love Ms. Penny, love the characters and with each book, she grows as an author, and her characters grow as human beings. I must say, I find myself laughing out loud at some of Ruths antics. I have a dear friend of over 50 years (that we call the female curmudgeon), that reminds me of Ruth. She is an artist.
Glad to have found this page. Look forward to more.

Hey Nancy, we have Vermont on the wish list. We have friends visiting us in Whistler and they are good fun to be around. It means everyone has a ski partner close to their level. We enjoy dinners out at night too.

Julie, I too am sitting by the fire. No knitting. Thinking about my next novel. Also taking notes on things my friends have been telling me about moving to the States. They have been on posting to Hawaii for two years.

I have to buy all new kitchen appliances (anything with a motor) which I knew because of the difference in voltage between the two countries. Darn. I will have to shop!

Oh, you are all painting such cozy pictures! Anna, so happy you are enjoying Whistler. I’ve never spent any time there – but have driven through, and I think it must be a lovely spot for a winter holiday! The best thing about that, for me, though, would be that when the holiday was over, I could leave the snow behind! 😀 We have been alternating rainy warm days with sunny warm days in Seattle, so that’s not a terrible winter at all! 😀

Vermont sounds wonderful, too, Nancy. That’s another area I have only spent about 15 minutes in! I was once in Deerfield, Mass. for a textile conference, and a car-load of us drove up to Vermont to visit Delectable Mountain Fabrics, which is a legendary store selling the most beautiful silks of all kinds, and many luscious trimmings. That’s my only foray into Vermont at this time, though of course, I feel I lived there with Bob Newhart in his Inn. I love fictional places like that, even when it’s TV. If they’re able to really make a place come alive, I think they’ve done a wonderful job!

Nothing much to do today, so I’ll be sitting by my fire and stitching. Heaven!

Glad you saw the sun Barbara but we are happy because we woke up just now and it is snowing! Been having a ball in the white stuff It really does sparkle in the sun and if there is ice in the air in glistens golden in the sunlight. It’s so magical!

I hope the New Year is being kind to everyone. Sorry for those who are trapped in really cold icy conditions. It’s not that cold here in Whistler, just lovely and it’s different being on holidays than living in it.

I am not skiing today so I am going to find a cosy corner with a hot chocolate and dream of the bistro.

By the way, still editing my book but it also still working on letting you guys read it somehow. Was thinking last night about setting one in Whistler!

Anna,
Hope you have a lovely time in Whistler. I’m sure there are some great places to curl up in front of a fire and dream that you’re at the Bistro. We have just returned from a few days in Vermont. Our friends came here from Ontario and then we went on to Vermont to visit with friends there. The six of us get along well so we had a grand time. One of the guys went skiing at Sugarbush, one went on his own to check out bookstores etc. and the three women did the thrift shops. I think the third man was at his computer but he joined us for supper out and then sitting in front of the woodstove in the evening. What could be better than a gathering of friends? (Like the Bistro, eh?)

Hooray! Saw the sun for the first time in about three weeks. It peeped out three hours ago. I feel like Spring is here. There has been a heavy cloud cover with occasional rain. I like to read LP’s Facebook comments on their weather. Sunlight on ice and snow sparkles beautifully.

Hi Julie, we do share a lot, don’t we! I have a large number of kits – afghan kits to crochet or knit – and several cross-stitch ones. I don’t know whether I’ll get them all done, but I’ve picked up a granny square afghan that I left in the middle, and to my surprise, figured out where I left off and how to make the squares! After several years doing other things, I thought that wasn’t too bad! I also ordered a bunch more books, but these aren’t mysteries. They are books about Christianity by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Anne Lamott, and a new one by Brian McLaren, who is another favourite author of mine. They will occupy my mind quite well, I know! Some day I’m going to have the dreadful task of clearing out books, craft kits, and tons of other stuff before I make my move in a few years’ time.

The horror of the terrorism in Paris is staying on my mind. We were playing Bingo yesterday and I missed a number because I was so deep in thought. We belong to several Senior groups and I enjoy the people. Meeting and enjoying each other’s company means so much to me. I look around and see all the beautiful shades of skin color and different facial shapes………some good has happened in my lifetime.
Sylvia, I finished The Hanging Garden yesterday. I enjoyed it and have started Innocent Graves. I spend too much time reading and playing computer games I guess. I’m feeling the tug to get into volunteer work again but only as a volunteer. Activities that I am not responsible for planning and implementing. Sort of a behind the scenes volunteer.
Good thoughts to all.

Barbara, I think the trick is to find a happy balance and being able to do something for your community without getting in over your head. Church work can get you in over your head quite easily, especially if you have difficulty saying “no”. Anyway, I have a plan now to gradually back out. But having some involvement is good for me; it makes me feel useful, and that’s important especially when you’re alone.

Enjoy your Peter Robinson’s – they’re all good!

Isn’t it funny how we often have such similar experiences. Every time I have volunteered for things, I find I get swallowed into committees and projects, and before you know it I’m chairing two or three things and wondering why I am so busy and feeling so hectic. I have vowed to never do more than one thing at any one time now where I’m “in charge” of something. So much nicer to participate and not have to run the whole show… So far, so good – I’m there, I’m doing my part, but I am only on one committee, though I am the chair, hahaha.

Julie, I guess if one is a leader-type person, they get called on to lead – to the extent that they get frazzled and hectic! You have a good plan, and I’m glad it’s working for you. One of my main jobs involves chairing two committees, but they don’t have to meet every month, just on an as-needed basis. Most of the time things hum along, but every now and then things all bunch up together, and then you feel stressed! Oh well, it’s better than wondering how you’re going to pass another day! I never have enough hours! I’m starting to get back into crochet and knitting. I have arthritis badly in one of my fingers, so I thought that knitting and crochet, where I’m working with my hands, might help it. So far I’m managing, but it’s quite painful.

Do any of you do needle crafts? I find it quite relaxing.

You’re right, of course, Sylvia. Though I often think that it’s just that I can’t say “no”, hahaha. I, too, have never had to wonder what to do with my time – it’s much more wondering if everything will fit into the time I have! I do wonder about people who get bored. I think that it must take a completely different kind of person, because I don’t ever remember being bored, even when I haven’t been frantic to find time for everything. Of course, because I read, I have a rich inner life, hahahahaha.

I do counted thread embroidery – cross stitch, and other counted thread techniques. Mostly I work on samplers, and study historical samplers. That’s my passion! It IS very relaxing – so often people will look at what seems like tiny, exacting work to them and exclaim that they wouldn’t have the patience, but I know that it doesn’t take patience, it gives it!

Yep Prince Edward Island is definitely on the list.

Glad you have found a new series for you Barbara. It is always good fun. I did go to the bookstore finally and found a thriller by an Italian author which I am enjoying. I was drawn to the title and the cover. The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato Carisi. It’s his second novel. The first was called The Whisperer and was apparently an International Bestseller. Very different to Louise but the notion of good and evil always intrigues me. On that topic we have had a number of discussions.

I am watching the world at the moment and it seems there is a real struggle between good and evil being played out. The terrorist events recently in Canada, the siege in Sydney and now those in France are but flash points for the overall turmoil. There are movements and marches in Germany against immigration and for it. The basis partly being the importation of terrorism.

What is pleasing is the response of so many that terrorism is not about religion and shouldn’t be a method of setting people against each other. I am proud when I see examples of the response to violence being more kindness to each other, more care and concern and more peace.

Perhaps true Evil is the great stirrer who drops an idea here, a suggestion there that inspires others to seek violence and retribution for perceived ills. Then Evil stands back and let’s it happen while appearing innocent and shocked. Francouer maybe. Arnot anyone?

Oh yes, Anna, those two were the personification of Evil! But there’s so much of it and we’re so much more aware of it, and some of it makes Francoeur and Arnot look tame.

Thanks for all your kind thoughts about my Christmas! It was interesting to do it a different way this year.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the Peter Robinson books, Barbara. You’ll be on The Hanging Valley now – they’re all really good, and the latest one didn’t disappoint! I enjoy Alan Banks and get a kick out of some of the other characters as well, especially “Dirty” Dick Burgess. If you haven’t come across him yet, you will – I forget when he was first introduced. The one I read at Christmas was the 22nd book and after a while you forget details like that. Now I’m back to meetings and reports and minutes and all that sort of stuff – but there will be a day when I retire from all the offices I hold! I’m looking forward to that day!

Anna – a cross-country train trip sounds so lovely. I’ve done the bit from B.C. to Saskatchewan – through the Rockies – and it’s beautiful! I’d love to see the whole country unfold before me. You should try to see Prince Edward Island, if Anne of Green Gables was in your childhood. It’s a beautiful spot, with it’s pink beaches and lush green landscapes, all just as L.M. Montgomery described them, though the long distances it seemed that Anne traveled were tiny, indeed! Her world, as described in the books was small but “well-traveled”!

Sylvia – so glad you had good weather to go visiting and were able to enjoy the holidays. I well remember the -40 days, and do not miss them at all! While the entire rest of the continent seems to be in a deep freeze, we are enjoying sun and mild temperatures here on the “left coast”, and I am enjoying it, indeed, as we normally have such dark and dreary days.

Hi, to all. Sylvia, I’ve recently read 3 Peter Robinson novels and started a third yesterday. I did not know of him until he was mentioned here. I am really enjoying them. It is always exciting to begin reading a new author when there are so many books already written. My Librarian friends joke about how I read through so many years of work in such a short time. I like that I can see the writer and the characters grow deeper and richer. I am enjoying the descriptions of Yorkshire as I found the landscape very interesting too.

Don’t worry Sylvia, we love Canada. We will be in Whistler on Monday as a matter of fact! The plan is to do a road trip across Canada at some point. Obviously Autumn is a better time to travel distances than mid winter by the sound of things. I hope you are staying warm. Parts of Australia were 46 C and more the other day. That’s nearly 90 C difference between temperatures in different parts of our worlds. Whew!

I am glad to hear everything went well across Christmas especially that you were safe traveling. With the weather reports it was looking scary there for a while.

I was saying before I have Hovey Manor and the Townships on the wish list and my husband wants to show us Halifax and St Johns where he has been before. I sure hope we have enough chance to get around and all the things we want.

Glad you are ok Julie. The landslips look scary.

I know what you are saying about books. I am the same. I see. I buy. I love browsing in stores though, an experience I don’t get online. And I still love holding books in my hand.

Anna, I agree about browsing in book stores – I do it whenever I’m near one – and often come out with something I had no idea I wanted, hahaha. But the call to see what I wanted would find me not being able to think of a thing!

Hi everyone, Happy New Year!! I’ve just come back to the Bistro and enjoyed the conversations. If anyone asks me a question about what I want or what I think, my mind immediately goes blank!!

With the stormy weather at Christmas, I stayed home and enjoyed reading the latest Peter Robinson book, and it was a good one! Then I went with my goodies to my stepson’s for Boxing Day and came home that night. It was a fine clear day on Boxing Day, with the nasty weather all passed out of our area. Right now we are in a deep freeze, expected to be about -40 Celsius with the windchill. I’m staying home!

Anna, it’s really interesting and exciting that you are coming over to North America. I hope you’ll get a chance to see a lot of places – there’s lots to see! Perhaps you can get to Canada too. The distances are huge, but there’s so much beauty!

All the best to everyone in 2015!

Thank you, Anna! We are lucky in that we’re situated in a place that seldom has any flooding. People in our area, for some very odd reason, decided to put regular soil on top of clay soil when building housing developments. Since many are on hills, when the ground gets saturated (as it often does in the winter), the “good” soil slides right off the clay soil. I’d have thought that engineers might have anticipated that, but it appears not. At any rate, so far, none of the slides have been in Seattle proper (though I’m sure that time will come yet). But some of the outlying communities, I think, have also clear-cut trees to make way for the developments, and that has meant that slides are even more likely. It’s very sad to think of how many people lose their homes every year, and I’m not sure what insurance can or will do for them. It’s heartbreaking to see the pictures of these homes, and know how devastating it is for the people in that community.

So glad you don’t need your arm twisted to visit Seattle! 😀 Our Seahawks are doing very well the past two years, and at times in the fall and early winter, it’s all anyone talks about here. When we went to see the Christmas ships this year, one yacht was all decked out in Seahawk colors and a 12th Man theme – the cheers from the restaurant were deafening!

I would be the same if anyone called me from a bookstore to see what I wanted. My problem is the second I think I might want something, I get online and buy it. There isn’t the “wanting” phase anymore, which probably means I miss out on the anticipation of reading something new.

Thanks Nancy. Will do. Is all well with you?

In a nod to our earlier foodie conversation I have thrown the ham bone in a pot with requisite vegetables and herbs. Smells like the bistro might. I am checking our ski destination website for the snow to fully induce the right feeling of the moment.

My dear husband is standing in a bookstore texting me to see if I want anything! I can’t think of any suggestions. How dire is that!

Hi Anna (and all). Have been enjoying all the conversation but of course I perked up when you said you had no new suggestions for reading. I doubt if you can get her books in the bookstores any more (she died a few years ago) but on Amazon you might look for Eleanor Taylor Bland mysteries. The first one is Dead Time. I love her books and have collected them all. Her detective is a black woman named Marti MacAlister who would fit in quite well in the Bistro. Check her out and you won’t be disappointed.

Wow Barbara, that is a meal after my daughter’s heart. She loves all meat but bacon and pork are standout favourites! We have pork roast almost weekly because she loves it so much! I shall have to make a version of that meal our New Years dish.

I am proud of your husband too for buying books. I have kind of run out of books so am looking around for options. I would like to get the audion books of LPs. That is a good idea for the plane!

Julie, I have often considered the idea of a meal plan and have even tried it for the same reasons. Then I find the weather changes and it’s too hot or too cold for what I had planned. We can go from summer to winter in a day here!

You don’t have to convince me about Seattle, I love the place. I have been there a few times, albeit briefly on each occasion. We even did the Underground tour. I am also a Seahawks supporter so go team!

I shall look out for the film you suggested, I like that idea. I don’t know what Uni Erin will go too. It will depend on how well she goes at school and the various entry requirements and whether she does the SATs. Some Unis need the SATs and a couple don’t. The last two years of high school here are pretty intense and culminate in state based exams. Not sure I need her worrying about SATs on top of that! Anyway we are working on it. It’s early days in the planning process.

Ah, good for you, Barbara! One of these days I will have to get the recorded books, too, as now I really have a hankering to hear Gamache’s voice! And so glad you got books for Christmas! Your food sounds so mouthwatering – I am drooling up here in the corner. I have so gotten into a rut where I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, because I haven’t got a clue what I will make, and he always just says “whatever you want to fix”. Well, the point is that I don’t know what I want, hahaha. I realized that I don’t mind cooking at all – but I very much mind trying to figure out what I’m going to cook. So I did a very odd thing – I made up a month’s worth of menus – no night the same within a 31 day month, and I intend to follow that blueprint. No more decisions to make – plus, shopping is easier, because I know what I will need for the next weeks! So far, of course, we’re only 5 days into it, but so far, so good. I find I’m almost looking forward to making dinner, because I know what I’ll do – silly of me, but there you go.

Anna – I vote for your coming for a visit to Seattle – even in summer, it’s usually not very warm, hahahaha. To me, it’s paradise, because it never gets very hot or very cold. That said, every year there are a few days that break that rule – especially hot summer days. Once it’s over 80, I’m uncomfortable, and over 90 and I’m miserable! We get quite a few over 80 days, and once in awhile hotter than that. But for the most part, we have glorious summers and falls, and cold and rainy winters and springs. Which University is your daughter going to go to? You’ll be in the Washington DC area, I take it? I think that would be a wonderful place to live. Almost as nice as New York City, which is my favorite city in the world. If I were going to go to Washington, I’d watch the film “Born Yesterday” (the original, 1950 one with Judy Holliday and Broderick Crawford) and get together a list of places to go and things to do from that. So much of my understanding of places and events comes from movies and books, hahaha. When my husband and I did visit New York City, he was amazed that I knew what to do – where things were, etc., even that I knew that every neighborhood had cute little restaurants that were absolutely worth checking into, and that they were very affordable. I’d been waiting for that first trip for a lifetime, it seemed, and New York did NOT disappoint. I expect Washington will be like that, too.

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