Three Pines Series Discussion

Three Pines Series Discussion

Three Pines Teaser Pic

Based on Louise Penny’s #1 New York Times bestselling novels, “Three Pines” from Amazon Prime Video and Left Bank Pictures stars Alfred Molina as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, a man who sees things that others do not: the light between the cracks, the mythic in the mundane, and the evil in the seemingly ordinary. 

Discuss the series with other Louise Penny fans here! 


Discussion on “Three Pines Series Discussion”

When I heard that the books were being made into a TV series I was delighted. I thought that Alfred Molina was an excellent choice for Gamache.
There all my delight ends.
The rest of the casting is appalling! The actors playing Gabri & Olivier seem to have been given each other’s scripts as their appearances are the opposite of their descriptions in the books.
Even the actual Three Pines that are supposed to have been there since the civil war are weedy little things that look like they were planted last week
Agent Nichol is a bumbling clown rather than a damaged, spiteful, complex character.
Jean Guy is a rumpled mess. Clara is a drip, and the way they’ve portrayed Ruth is downright crime.

And the writing!!! Louise Penny WROTE the highly successful books Why did the writers think that they could do a better job and utterly change the characters the ‘feel’ of the place and the stories themselves

I absolutely love these books, and I absolutely hate the TV series.
What a terrible waste of what should have been a hit series with many seasons.

Kim, we need team jackets at the very least. The books are so well put together: the inly good thing I can find to say about the series is that I like the title’ Beyond that is nothing but despair. I looked forward to seeing the series, but minutes into the first episode I shut off the television, put on some music and reached for the next book in my Louise Penny re-read list.
The Amazon series is a total disgrace – an insult to Three Pines (if anyone can find it in that series), to Gamache (when did our soigne gentleman detective turn into that laughable creature with thick heavy glasses- they should be half-moon and for reading only and where his crisp shirts and cashmere sweaters – this creature looks as though he slept in his clothes for a week at least – and those eyebrows, that hair!, to Jean Guy (if anyone can possibly find him in that shabby individual masquerading as Beauvoir). Gabri and Olivier seem to have lost themselves – I did not recognise them at all, not even sure if they were there at all, but so far the casting director shows no sing of having read even one of the books.
Enter Clara and Ruth – who dreamed up this bad joke? What happened to Clara’s hair? the daubs and blobs of paint? the cake? and other bits of food? I can relate to Clara as I am forever running my hands through my hair as I work. I may not stick paint brushes in it, but as I write, pencils and pens find storages places there. The hair on the tv screen is WRONG
And when did Ruth have almost shoulder-length hair, a sort-of page boy. Her her is short, so short her scalp almost shows through. her hair is almost ragged.
I despise, loathe, abhor, am utterly dismayed by the Amazon interpretation of Still Life, let alone of Three Pines and of its inhabitants who have become all but real to me, non, make that have become real to me.
Penny has a way of developing three-dimensional characters; on the tv screen the characters were barely one-dimensional. If I am so angry, how must Louise Penny feel?

FWIW – I’d never heard of this book series at all…until I saw the Amazon version a few months ago. I enjoyed it very much, but couldn’t believe “they” killed off the main character (although I did notice that – ominously circling birds aside – Gamache rather conveniently appeared to be shot in a bodily location which could theoretically allow for a full recovery…in a Season 2…or left as a discussion for the audience to argue over if it’s a one and done). But my point is – that after having seen the series, and in particular because of it, I was compelled to learn more about the characters, and that lead me to the books! And, as if often the case, there is no question the books are far superior. Louise Perry is a delight and a treasure; I love the characters and her sublime wit in unexpected places. I found myself LOL at many of the salty exchanges and wry observations. In closing, just as the Amazon series lead me to her books, my curiosity about “What is the Arnot case?” lead me to this site. It appears I will have to read on to learn more. Voila!

I felt the same way. I was unfamiliar until I watched Three Pines… its my dream home! Truly. I’m in love with the characters and culture. So have read 4 now. I could sit all day and read one after the other. Whimsical, serious, thought provoking, funny and I’ve gained weight just reading about the food! Love Louise! And all her characters.

Each story is like an onion peeling layer after layer. And each book reveals yet another layer about the characters.

The series missed the charm and warmth of three pines and its eccentric inhabitants. Casting? Direction? Scriptwriting? Disappointing.

Sigh. I’m okay with some of the made-for-tv changes, like the expanded indigenous storyline (however not sure why the change in gender regarding the missing teenagers). I was even fine with casting Myrna as average sized and without a Caribbean accent and LaCoste as an indigenous single mom. But some things cannot be forgiven:
*Jean Guy should NOT be rumpled, disheveled, non-confrontational, OR forgettable.
*Ruth should NOT have Rosa yet, mainly because it removes the opportunity for us to witness the character formation/growth.
*Clara is THE artist – NOT a wallflower. Her strength comes from her untamable hair and vulnerability.
*Peter is supposed to be beautiful and pained and petty, not forgettable.
*Gabri’s character puts me in the mind of Eric Stonestreet’s character from the show, Modern Family (would it have been so difficult to ‘copy’?).
*Olivier is the epitome of polished quick wit and secrecy.
And, on top of it all, everyone seems simply neighborly instead of a diverse group of individuals that, when assembled, help to create the thriving community of Three Pines!
If this comment ever makes it across the desk of a show writer, I suggest listening to the audiobooks 1 thru 10, instead of rereading. And, if tight on time, start with book 10, The Long Way Home, followed by books 5 & 6 , The Brutal Telling and Bury Your Dead. Ralph Cosham breathes life into Arman Gamache.

I agree completely. The characters and timing are so jumbled. When Gamache introduced Clara and Peter to Reine Marie, I thought, “huh?” Don’t they all live in Three Pines; aren’t they all friends? And when Jean-Guy spoke about Enid, I thought, “huh?” What happened to Annie (Armand and Reine-Marie’s daughter)?
Gabri and Olivier are utterly wrong in this series. And so, for that matter, is the village and everything in it. The original stories are so wonderful exactly as they are; that’s why the books are such a huge success. Why mess with that? Why go off on such tangents that don’t fit into the Three Pines stories at all? The Indigenous story is fine and good in its own setting, and well done as its own tale… but that story is nowhere near Three Pines — not even when the books expand beyond the community. I felt the producers were pushing narratives at me that they wanted to tell and not the stories that Louise Penny has written.
I won’t continue with the TV series (it’s too irrelevant to the Louise Penny books, and too frustrating — even insulting to Penny and her readers), but I will certainly continue reading the books, where my comfort level lies in familiarity and the characters I have come to know and like so much.

Well analyzed. I even went back to the 1st 2 books to check – I may be old, but my memory isn’t THAT feeble, I thought. And I was right, to say the 1st 4 episodes are3 ‘loosely’ based on the books is generous. They are good to watch – writing, acting, and all are excellent. They are just not the Gamache novels which were brilliant.

I am so unhappy with the television series. I don’t understand why, in the current streaming world, this series didn’t take the stories directly from the books, write the screen plays as near as possible to the novels and produce them like that! No changes needed to be made to the characters! No watering down of story lines due to time constraints, because there aren’t any!
Each one of these novels could be made into a season. Because we all binge watch these days, and with so many people bemoaning the lack of good original material available, why mash together and add to stories that are rich in character studies and plot lines that keep the readers begging for more every time we read one?
Unlike many others, I’m unhappy with the addition of the residential school story line because it and its characters are not part of the novels. That would be an excellent exploration for one of her new novels, but squeezing it in to the new series when you should be introducing the people in Three Pines just doesn’t work.
So many of these characters just don’t seem to match the villagers in the books, and it’s disconcerting.
I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. I really wish this project would be abandoned and started over by people who have a vision for how the novels can be brought to life. With all the detail and care they deserve.

I was so disappointed in this adaptation. For all the reasons mentioned prior, but it was especially galling the the writers thought Eleanor and Henri were queen and king of France. Untrue, she was queen of France – married to Louis…but then she married Henri and the were King and Queen of England.

I thoroughly enjoyed Three Pines, especially with the adaptations of the First Nations inclusion. I watched knowing Louise Penny had some control over the series.
The Gamaches were well done. Their matured and passionate relationship were reflected in the actors portrayal, as well as their interest in arts and enthusiasm for life.
The addition of Blue Two-Rivers apparition and her family was brilliant. I liked that the indigenous family guarded their relationship with Surete and were unrelenting to seek justice.
I thought I’d missed a book of Louise Penny because the story was seamless.
Other scenes took me back to stories that I’d read. The early scene of CC’s execution style murder was accurate as I recalled. The characters usually were well cast. I may have had different images in my head, and know them better as revealed in book series.
I was wishing for continued shows. The skeptical responses make that doubtful. Quelle damage.

Dear Louise Penny, please know how much I love your books. I pre-order them on Audible and anxiously await the release dates. You have created a world I want to live in – dinners at Clara’s home – discussing books with Myrna – and sipping hot chocolate in front of the fire at the Bistro. But the TV show isn’t that world. I agree with the others, the show is a poor adaptation of your books.

My wife and I just finished the first season. We enjoyed it. Neither of us has ever read the novels. I’m glad, because apparently the shows producers really crapped on everything remotely good about the stories and characters. Maybe I’ll read a book or two so I can be annoyed too.

Ho appena finito di vedere Gamache steso sull’erba che nella sua ingenuità è bontà ha dato le spalle all’amico fraterno che gli ha sparato..la mia curiosità è la speranza di vedere una seconda stagione dove l’ispettore, che chiaramente si salverà, affronterà il mistero delle ragazze scomparse e magari saldera’ i conti con l’amico assassino Pierre…comunque sicuramente inizierò a leggere i libri della Perry in attesa di una seconda serie che secondo me è ben fatta e mi ha fatto amare Gamache con tutti i suoi pregi e difetti di un uomo sensibile e poliziotto serio e integerrimo che vorrei esistesse anche nella realtà. Tatiana

I know a series is not the books and they have to make some allowances, but wow! So disappointed in the production. Not only doesn’t miss out on the spirit of the books, but it is so slow and poorly cast that I fell asleep during the second episode. Granted, I was tired, but not that tired- a good script would have held my attention.

What a shame!

I felt the same way. I was unfamiliar until I watched Three Pines… its my dream home! Truly. I’m in love with the characters and culture. So have read 4 now. I could sit all day and read one after the other. Whimsical, serious, thought provoking, funny and I’ve gained weight just reading about the food! Love Louise! And all her characters.

Each story is like an onion peeling layer after layer. And each book reveals yet another layer about the characters. O

I was thrilled to see Three Pines was coming to tv. Sadly, I don’t think the writers read the books. They completely missed the joy of life in Three Pines not to mention the Trees themselves! The developing relationship between Gamache and Beavoir is mostly absent. The Gabri/ Olivier switch is not only a travesty, it messes with my mind whenever they’re on screen. The towns people seem almost sinister. They got Ruth right but really missed the mark with Myrna and Clara. Each book ought to have an 8 or 10 episode season, instead it is short shrift as an unbelievable Who Done It that is changed so much it no longer resembles the book the mysteries are named for.

The one welcome story line is of the First Nation’s assimilation schools and the poor treatment that the First Nation’s have suffered. It was smart to make LaCoste an assimilated First Nations person to help this story line. The writers combined the characters of Arnot and Brebeuf for expediency. The actress playing Reine-Marie was perfectly cast. Molina needs to get the warmth into his performance, he is missing the mark with his abrupt delivery.

I have started rereading the books as s realty check. Did I misremember them as completely as I started to think I had after watching this series? But no, it’s not me. The series has transformed the books into a huge disappointment, completely missing the heart of Penny’s stories that are beautifully written odes to joy, forgiveness, kindness and true love. The Three Pines series is just a ho hum mystery series with little depth of character. I’m surprised the Penny would allow it.

For a better mystery book series come to tv try Tony Hillerman’s Joe Leaphorn books depicted on Dark Winds, Executive Producer is Robert Redford.

Mrs Penny’s books are such a joy to read. They transport the reader to Three Pines where we visit all our favorite characters as they play either miniscule or major part in the next mystery. In our household these books are savored and enjoyed. Louise Penny is our favorite author. What the hell happened over at Prime TV? The actor the chose for Armond Gamache looks like Inspector Gadget. The books clearly describe Isobel Lacost, they missed the mark with her didn’t they? Unlike the books you feel nothing for these characters, and you really don’t care what happens to them. There was no flow in any of the story-line. It was as if they pulled a bit from one book and added it to another. They also added the usual Woke content. I would not suggest anyone waste your time watching this. Start by sitting down in a comfortable chair reading Louise Penny’s first Gamache mystery and you will be hooked!

You hit the nail on the head. It’s been driving my crazy to see all the positive reviews for the show online because as an avid lover of the books, I find it unwatchable. I’m ok with taking some liberties regarding the storylines, but this is an intensely character-driven series and there’s been nothing done to preserve the integrity of the villagers we’ve all done to know and love.

Agree! I assumed the series would make changes and loved the focus on indigenous people, including the LaCoste changes. I don’t have a problem with heavily revamped plot lines. What upsets me is the loss of what makes the books unique – the love that shines through, the journeys of healing, the community, and most of all the compassion of Gamache. For example he ALWAYS informs the loved ones himself, that’s huge. Understanding the moment after that knock changes everything, and is almost a murder in itself, the death of what life was before the knock. Three Pines version? Knock knock. I’m sorry for your loss. Can I ask a few questions? Whaaaaaat? Just an example. Also making middle aged people young, making Myrna thin, making Gabri dour, and don’t get me started on Clara and Peter. The question is always – what needs to change to create something new and what is necessary to keep to honor what’s great and unique about the original. Details must change, we all agree on that. But the heart of the work shouldn’t. That’s the real tragedy of Three Pines.

Thank you for analyzing and, obviously very engaged and familiar with LP’s books.

My first shock was the Olivier & Gabri switch. How could the screenwriters get that wrong? How could LP approve that?

Again, thank you!

Poorly adapted. Seems to be filmed mainly down an abandoned coal mine as it is always dark. Endless navel gazing by Gamache.
Will see the end of current plot… the hotel one. Then leave it.

I was thrilled to see that there was an adaptation of the Gamache novels. I have loved them since I read the first one years ago. The characters give the book series so much life and humor and depth, and although there is always darkness, LP always manages to show the light, as well.

Unfortunately, I have been so disappointed in the TV series. The characters are flat, Gamache can’t say “Bonjour” with a French accent, the stories are simplified and lack depth, and the acting is often really poor and melodramatic.

The saving grace is the Indigenous storyline. I love that attention is being brought to some of the tragedies that have been part of reality.

It’s just sad! Such a lost opportunity!

Mi dispiace ma è stata una vera delusione. Credo che l’attore non sia adeguato alla parte……l’avrei immaginato diverso.
Le emozioni che si hanno leggendo i romanzi non si hanno guardando la serie. Mi dispiace molto ero così felice che avessero fatto la serie. peccato un occasione sprecata.

The script writers gave book fans exactly zip — not even a crumb. The book elements included were severely warped until I felt I was watching a David-Lynchian version of Penny’s books. Alfred Molina and other good actors try to rein in the more unbelievable aspects. And while I can understand the need for revision to fit the huge thematic content in the smaller arena of television, the makers sold their audience short and butchered really great stories and characters beyond repair. I might be willing to give a second season a try because I adore Molina, but not for long if they keep on the weird track of season one.

I agree completely, although I decided to stop watching at the 11 minute point in ep. 8 because it was just so unbelievable, *especially* the scene with the Arnots and the Gamaches playing cards. What on Earth was that??

I will stick with the books; they are a gazillion times better than the tv series.

I am a huge fan of the books and was looking forward to adaptations faithful to the plots. The acting is fine, although I expected more French accents from the characters. The plots are very loose adaptations, which is unfortunate since the storylines in the books were excellent. This seems like a new trend on tv adaptations -HBO’s “Station Eleven” was interesting, but veered far off the outstanding novel. Thankfully, the BBC adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novels have more respect for the original material. The Three Pines Mystery movie, while it had some weaknesses, at least kept the same plot as the book.

I agree, David, et al.
I honestly see almost nothing in common with the books, other than the characters having the same names. I have the same questions as you – why switch Olivier and Gabri? Why are Myrna and Clara so young, and why doesn’t Clara have any food in her hair? Where is the focus on food, and the goodness of people? Why make Isabelle a single mom? How does that advance the plot in any way? Why is the church not white clapboard, and most important WHERE ARE THE PINE TREES? (that really burns my britches). That church doesn’t even seem to have the memorial windows that are mentioned in almost every book.

And what is up with Arnot and his wife being all buddy/buddy with Reine Marie and Armand? What was that about? That whole scene was completely overwrought and silly. Except that it wasn’t funny.

Seriously, can you imagine any humour in this series at all? Can you imagine Clara saying, “Don’t you mean an emotional vampire in a frying pan?” (pretty much my all time favorite thing anyone has ever uttered)

No, I really have nothing good to say about this series. It’s far too dumbed-down, American style, formulaic garbage, as Ruth would say.

To all those who think this series is a good match for the books, I am genuinely baffled, and would be open to hearing what you think is the same.

Whew! I feel good getting that off my chest. I’m F.I.N.E!! 😉

I don’t remember that Isabelle Lacoste was either a single mom or her being indigenous! I believe that her having a husband was mentioned in the books.

Yes, I think she was… And I thought she was French-Canadian. But I like the idea of trying her to the Indigenous story.

It infuriates me that Gabri and Olivier characters have been switched. Louise Penny clearly presented Gabri as the front man of the Bistro. Very outgoing, short, chunky and witty. Olivier is tall, blond and refined. Why switch these very delightful characters?

I noticed the same thing and it is infuriating. It’s such a shame that the tv series was not adapted in a way that the books deserve to be.

I was confused at first by the switch of the Gabri and Olivier characters, and then really annoyed. I understand that producers must work with what and who they can get. But it seems that they had the right actors but placed them in the wrong characters regarding Gabri and Olivier. I found most of the series entertaining, and really appreciated the acting of Alfred Molina and Roussif Sutherland. I especially enjoyed the character of Bea, who was spot on. I liked the tie in and “artistic license” changes with having the LaCoste character be indigenous. On the other hand the story of the dysfunctional Morrow family at the hotel, which was supposed to be in the country, was disappointing. The scenes of dysfunctional family interaction seemed strained and not convincing. The characters did not seem genuine. That said, I thought the series overall was entertaining, intriguing and worth watching. I have read all the novels , including the latest, twice and three times for most of them. I am okay with most of the changes, and as mentioned the “artistic license” employed. I surmise that the town they found for most of the scenes, did not have three enormous pine trees in the center. But the moderately-sized trees they got, seem to be the biggest they could get from a local nursery. Living in a neighborhood with 150 foot white pines, I found it amusing that the trees in the town center were so comparatively small. Nevertheless, they were there, and still a nice focal point in the series’ production. Two thumbs up for this entertaining series overall.

So annoyed that Gabri and Olivier were switched! And Clara is too young. Book storylines are very different. But I don’t dislike the series as some others do. I think it’s well done, and thankfully it dropped the excessive descriptions and storylines about how fat certain characters were, that were really off putting and made me want to give up on reading the series (same with Agemt Nichol – at least in the show she’s not quite as annoying).

I have not yet watched the tv series but I have just finished #2 in the written series. Question: what was the Arnot case? It’s mentioned several times but was never discussed in book #1. Must I read the whole series to get answers and understanding?
I’m confused. I did love descriptions of Three Pines.

Thank you. .. I’ve been saying all along that they were switched. That’s why I’ve been searching this thread.

I was trying to give the series a fair shot but I just couldn’t. When the grizzly bear waltzed out onto an Eastern Townships road, and then the cops forced an almost blind girl to get out of the car while shouting, “I’ve got the bear covered!” I burst out laughing. What a travesty of an adaptation. The only reason I continued watching was that I did like that they incorporated the MMIW plot line and I wanted to see how they would resolve that. Otherwise I was as disappointed in the poor script-writing and characterization as everyone else who loves the books. I won’t be back for season 2, but would rather reread the books!

I totally agree with you. I love the books, love Three Pines. What the script writer has done with the books is inexcusable. And it infuriates me when someone who has never published a thing in their life decides they can take a book loved by thousands and ‘make it better’. The third one is the worst of the lot, not even a nodding acquaintance to the plot of the book. And with the second one, I started laughing at the ‘bear in the road’ bit too. Were there ‘bear crossing’ signs anywhere, do you think? If you shoot a bear with a pistol all youre going to do is make it annoyed. What irks me about the indigenous people story line is it has absolutely nothing to do with the books and they are relying on stereotypes and clichés for the plot.

I agree with all the comments of disappointment expressed so far and for all the same reasons. I too wonder if anyone in production or casting actually read the books. If so, they missed the underlying essence portrayed in each of the characters. And yes, I was cursing in French and English over the exchange of Gabri/Olivier! My husband, who has not read any of the books, was even commenting on the lack of depth to the characterizations. (He has listened to me describe how much I love LP and her ability to instill so much morality, compassion and sense of equality in Armand Gamache.) I like the actor Alfred Molina but his characterization is missing the mark. No fault of his, but of writing /ditecting. I actually picture Gamache as aWalter Pidgeon/Gregory Peck type.

I am a great fan of the british series’ “Vera”/”Shetland” and having read Ann Cleaves’ books, think they capture the essence of the title character well. That was my hope for “Three Pines”. Lucky for me, I received “A World of Curiosities” for Christmas and will delight in my visit to the ‘real’ Three Pines.

I agree with all the comments so far, but it was this one that especially touched me. I’m also a fan of Shetland and Vera – I was also a great fan of Cleeve’s novels, which, I believe, were well adapted to a series. Three Pines belittles Louise Penny‘s work!

Never read the books but was really enjoying the TV show and it’s characters….until the ending of season 1. Yet, I don’t see any mention in all of the negative takes about what really made no sense. How on earth does Gamache turn his back on a 2 time murderer and simply start walking away, expecting him to follow? Was there a death wish I haven’t been paying attention to?

I agree wholeheartedly. As a seasoned homicide detective, why on earth would you walk in front of a man who just confessed to murder?! Also, since when do detectives (LaCoste) leave their phones the car when they are in the middle of an investigation AND expecting a key informant to call? The answer is never.

Just finished the season finale and thought I’d lost my mind and needed to find firm ground to stand on – I could have sworn my favourite bistro/B&B owners had been snatched by aliens, swapped and flung back down to earth!

I’m a HUGE Louise Penny (Gamache and Three Pines) fan and felt a little nauseous after watching the first season. I agree with what many writers mentioned here – great adaptation that now includes important discussions and finally brings real-lived realities of missing and murdered indigenous women to the forefront. I applaud this move. The rest? Felt like I was watching a Canadian crime series but that I wasn’t in Three Pines and I not only didn’t know these characters who I absolutely adore in the books, but actually felt like I didn’t want to know them anymore.

I used to eagerly open the pages of new books (just got my World of Curiosities for Christmas!) just to revisit this warm, inclusive village full of wholesome, flawed, imperfect but loving friends and watching the shows just felt the opposite.

I’m running to bed now just so I can open the book and find the ‘real’ folks that made me fall in love with Three Pines, quirky poets and their ducks, huggable people who should have been very hard to find because Three Pines isn’t on any map (road sign?) and a bistro with everything for sale… here I come!

I agree with many above (s). As an avid fan, I am very disappointed at how much the writers have strayed from the marvelously rich characters and storylines. LP has it all there and yet they chose to reinvent the wheel. For example, Jean Guy adaption missed the mark. No suave brovado upfront. Also, the focus as a second in command seems to be Isabelle, not Jean Guy. ??? Armand /Jean Guy relationship is a foundational storyline. Nicole character, not even close to the rude, brilliant computer misfit. Isabelle not single mom (why, because she’s cast as an indigenous woman, she needs to be single mom? What’s that say?)
Gabri/Olivier switch? WTF? No purpose.
On and on.
Mostly, they present an opposing feel to Three Pines and it’s inhabitants from what I think LP achieved in her writing.
Great adaptations can and have been done. Sadly, this is not one of them.

I agree totally. The series is so not equal to the books that I found myself almost angry as I watched. So disappointing.

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