But when does the lifeboat become the prison ship?
When does the drug start working against you?

Turning round Clara stared at the piano. Mariana had
dropped her hands to the keys, and they were doing
the most remarkable thing. They were finding the
notes. In the right order. The music was astonishing.
Fluid and passionate and natural.
It was gorgeous, but it was also typical. She should
have known. The untalented brother was a brilliant
painter. The mess of a sister was a virtuoso pianist.
And Thomas? She’d always presumed he was as he
seemed. A successful executive in Toronto. But this
family was fuelled by deceit. What was he, really?

He expected people to play fair. Rules meant order.
Without them they’d be killing each other. It began
with butting in, with parking in disabled spaces, with
smoking in elevators. And it ended in murder.
True, he had to admit, it was a bit of a stretch but it
was descended from the same line. Trace it back far
enough and a murderer probably always broke the
rules, thinking himself better than the rest. He didn’t
like rule-breakers. And he especially didn’t like them
when they came wrapped in purple and green and
scarlet shawls with children named Bean.

‘I’ve been raised in a family of hypocrites, Inspector. I
promised myself I wouldn’t be like them. I wouldn’t
hide my feelings.’‘Quite easy when there’re none to hide.’
That silenced her. He’d won the point, but was losing
the interview. It was never a good sign when the
investigator was doing all the talking.
‘Why show all your feelings?’

Her smiling face grew serious. It didn’t make her
more attractive. Now she looked glum and ugly. ‘I
grew up in Disney World. It looked good from the
outside. It was meant to. But inside everything was
mechanical. You never knew what was real. Too much
courtesy, too many smiles. I grew frightened of smiles.
Never a cross word, but never a supportive one
either. You never knew how people really felt. We kept
things to ourselves. Still do. Except me. I’m honest
about most things.’

Peter smiled tightly. ‘Curiosity wasn’t something
rewarded in our home. It was considered rude. It was
rude to ask questions, rude to laugh too loud or too
long, rude to cry, rude to contradict. So, no, I wasn’t

As he spoke he looked out of the French doors of the
library, across the mint-green wet grass and to the
misty lake beyond. A low cloud clung softly to the
forest. He could hear birds and insects, and
sometimes a splash as a feeding trout or bass
jumped. And he could hear the wah-wah of a siren
and the irritated honking of a horn.
purest-folly:(by Daniel Tsao).

Paris.The City of Light mingling with the wilderness. What a
world we live in, he thought.
rosewash:vanilla-velvet: rosy posts here ♡

But Armand always said people react differently to
death, and it was folly to judge anyone and double
folly to judge what people do when faced with sudden,
violent death. Murder. They weren’t themselves.
But privately Reine-Marie wondered. Wondered
whether what people did in a crisis was, in fact, their
real selves. Stripped of artifice and social training. It
was easy enough to be decent when all was going
your way. It was another matter to be decent when all
hell was breaking loose.
Her husband stepped deliberately into all hell every
day, and maintained his decency. She doubted the
same could be said for the Morrows.

You’ve taught us we make our own world. What was
that Milton quote we were raised with?
‘The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n.
Remember those walks in the park? You’d take Annie and me
and recite poetry all the way there. That was one of
your favourites. And mine.’Sometimes parenting was standing up and doing
what was unpopular.

He wanted her to know him. To explain this familiarity he suddenly felt. It was
disquieting. ‘Everyone gets a second chance. But not a third.’
He’d fired a man that day. Pierre had seen it. It was
horrible.This was Elliot’s third chance. He’d have to fire Elliot.
Once the investigation was over and the police gone.
It was no use doing it before that, since Elliot had to
hang around anyway.
Years after the firing his father had quietly invested
hundreds of thousands of his own dollars in helping
the man he’d fired start his own company.
He’d given him a third chance after all. But

Patenaude wasn’t just weak, letting others, even kids,
walk all over him. Beauvoir didn’t like weakness.
Murderers were weak.
‘Have you ever been walking down the street
and smelled something, and suddenly you’re
someplace else? It’s as if the smell transports you.’
With anyone other than the Chief Inspector he’d feel
foolish saying that.
‘I do. But it’s more than that,’ said Gamache. ‘A
feeling goes with it. I’ll suddenly feel melancholy or at
ease or calm. For no reason, except the scent.’
‘Oui, c’est ca. Especially an emotion.

Gamache had never seen Three Pines in summer.
The leaves of the maple, apple and oak trees
obscured slightly the old homes round the village
green. But that made them all the more magical, as
though half hiding their beauty only added to it. Three
Pines revealed itself slowly, and only to people with
the patience to wait, to sit quietly in one of the faded
armchairs in the bistro, sipping Cinzano or cafe au
lait, and watch the changing face of the venerable
To their right the white spire of the chapel rose, and
the Riviere Bella Bella tumbled down from the
millpond then meandered behind the homes and

Villagers walked dogs and ran errands or, more
precisely, strolled errands. Some could be seen with
their floppy gardening hats and gloves and rubber
boots kneeling in the moist gardens, snipping roses
for bouquets. Each home had an abundant perennial
bed. Nothing designed, no new species, none of the
latest horticultural offerings. Nothing that wouldn’t have
been found in gardens by soldiers returning home
from the Great War. Three Pines changed, but it
changed slowly.

Where most visitors went to the Louvre, the Tuileries,
the Tour Eiffel, Armand Gamache went to a quiet
courtyard garden behind a tiny museum.
And there he paid his respects to men long dead.
For that was the musee of Auguste Rodin. And
Armand Gamache went to visit the Burghers of

The kitchen had the most wonderful aromas, but more than
anything it smelled of calm. Odd, she thought, for a
place so filled with activity. Assistants in crisp white
aprons were chopping herbs and cleaning early
vegetables taken from the kitchen garden or dropped
off by the local organic farmer, Monsieur Page. They
baked and kneaded, they stuffed and stirred. It was a
regular Dr Seuss book. But then cooking was an intimate act. An act of
artistry and creation. But neither did she want to leave this kitchen, this little
world the chef created. Perhaps because she
seemed so totally oblivious of her body, her face, her
clunky mannerisms, there was something refreshing
about her.Madame Dubois was her opposite. Plump,
composed, refined and beautifully turned out, even in
the Quebec wilderness.But both women were genuine.
And Chef Veronique Langlois had something else,
thought Lacoste, watching her gently but clearly
correct the technique of one of her young assistants,
she had a sense of calm and order. She seemed at
The kids gravitated to her, as did Pierre Patenaude

It was a charming smile, without artifice. He wasn’t
what she’d call an attractive man, not someone you’d
pick out at a party or notice across a room. He was
slim, medium height, pleasant, refined even. He
carried himself well, as though born to be a maitre d’,
or a multi-millionaire.There was an ease about him. He was an adult, she
realized. Not a child in adult’s clothing, like so many
people she knew. This man was mature. It was
relaxing to be around him.
He ran his Manoir in much the same way Chief
Inspector Gamache ran homicide. There was order,
calm, warmth about the Manoir Bellechasse, radiating
from the three adults who ran it, and impressing the
young adults who worked there. They learned more
than another language from these people, Lacoste
knew. Just as she learned more than homicide
investigation from Chief Inspector Gamache

‘Go on,’ said Gamache. He trusted Agent Lacoste’s
feelings.Beauvoir didn’t. He didn’t even trust his own.

‘I’m saying strange things happen to people who live
on the shores of a lake together, for years. This is a
log cabin. No matter how large, no matter how
beautiful. It’s still isolated.’
‘There are strange things done ‘neath the midnight
By the men who moil for gold.‘

What killed people wasn’t a bullet, a blade, a fist to
the face. What killed people was a feeling. Left too
long. Sometimes in the cold, frozen. Sometimes
buried and fetid. And sometimes on the shores of a
lake, isolated. Left to grow old, and odd.

He stared at the hole and tried to feel something.
Tried to remember Julia as a girl. His older sister.
Born between the boys, like being born between the
wars. Trodden upon and mauled as the boys tried to
get at each other. They’d squashed and trampled her
in the middle.

So sure of yourself.Always fitting in. Well try being an artist in a family of
intellectuals. Try being tone deaf in a family of
musicians. Try being taunted all the way to class, not
by other kids, but by your own brother, yelling “Spot,
Morrows ran and hid in smiling cynicism and dark
‘The first generation makes the money, the second
appreciates it, having witnessed the sacrifice, and the
third squanders it.

Gamache’s alarm went off at five thirty the next
morning and after a refreshing shower he dressed,
picked up his notebook and left. The summer sun was
just up and wandering in the lace-curtained windows.
Nothing stirred, except a loon calling across the lake.

Was there an invisible world, Gamache wondered. A
place where diminished people met, where they
recognized each other? Because if he knew one thing
about Julia Martin it was that she too was invisible.
The sort others cut off in conversation, cut in front of in
grocery lines, overlook for jobs though their hand
might be raised and waving.

Settling into the chair on the wooden dock Gamache
sipped coffee and stared at the lake and the forested
mountains all around. He cradled the delicate cup in
his large hands and let his mind wander. Instead of
forcing himself to focus on the case he tried to open
his mind, to empty it. And see what came to him.
What came to him was a bird, a footless bird. Then
Ulysses and the whirlpool, and Scylla, the monster.
The white pedestal.

‘No, Chief Inspector, I’ve never been a prisoner. I
wouldn’t allow it.’‘Some people have no choice, monsieur.
Terrible,’ said Finney. They sat quietly, each in his
own thoughts. The mist was slowly burning off the lake
and every now and then a bird skimmed the surface,
hungry for insects. Gamache was surprised how
companionable it felt, to be alone with this quiet man.

‘The surroundings aren’t the issue,’ said Gamache
quietly. ‘The interior is. Your body can be standing in
the loveliest of places, but if your spirit is crushed, it
doesn’t matter. Being excluded, shunned, is no small
‘I couldn’t agree more.’ Finney leaned back again into
the deep Adirondack chair. Across the lake a couple
of Oh Canada birds called to each other. It was just
after seven.Bean’s alarms would have gone off by now.
‘Did you know that Henry David Thoreau and Ralph
Waldo Emerson were friends?’‘They were. Thoreau was once thrown in jail for
protesting some government law he believed violated
freedom. Emerson visited him there and said, “Henry,
how did you come to be in here?” Do you know what
Thoreau replied?’‘No,’ said Gamache.
‘He said, “Ralph, how did you come to be out there?”
After a moment Finney made a strangled noise.
Gamache turned to look. It was laughter. A soft,
almost inaudible, chuckle.

‘He was my best friend.’ Finney broke away,
reluctantly, from the scene on the lake. ‘We went
through school together. Some people you lose track
of, but not Charles. He was a good friend. Friendship
mattered to him.’‘What was he like?’‘Forceful. He knew what he wanted and he generally
got it.‘What did he want?’‘Money, power, prestige. The usual.’

He always said she had the best mind of any of them. Not, perhaps, the
best brain. But the best mind. But she was busy having fun.’

The Morrows could be counted on to choose the right
fork and the wrong word. Their comments were
always casual. And when confronted they’d look hurt,
offended, perplexed. How often had Clara apologized

Gamache smiled, understanding it now.
On the outside the Morrows were healthy, attractive
even. But you can’t diminish so many people without
diminishing yourself. And the Morrows, inside, had all
but disappeared. Empty.

But he wasn’t convinced the sculptor was right. He
thought there might be quite a bit of the Burghers in all
of them. He saw all the Morrows, trudging along,
chained together, weighed down by expectation,
disapproval, secrets. Need. Greed. And hate. After
years of investigating murders Chief Inspector
Gamache knew one thing about hate. It bound you for
ever to the person you hated. Murder wasn’t
committed out of hate, it was done as a terrible act of
freedom. To finally rid yourself of the burden.

Pelletier tilted his palms towards the blue sky.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ asked Beauvoir,
suddenly annoyed. ‘God murdered Julia Martin?’‘He is a serial killer,’ said Pelletier, without humour.

‘People like you, Colleen.’
She raised her eyes to his.
‘I watch and listen,’ he continued. ‘I read people. It’s
what I do for a living. Are you listening?’
She nodded.‘Those young women like you. If one good thing’s
come of all this pain, it’s that you’ve found some real
friends here.’

Gamache stared at the dishevelled man in front of
him. ‘Be careful, Peter. You have a good spirit, but
even good spirits stumble, and sometimes they fall.
And sometimes they don’t get up.’

Both men knew that one day Beauvoir would step
forward. And both men knew the burned and desolate
spot Gamache sought wasn’t exclusive to the
murderer. The reason Armand Gamache could go
there was because it wasn’t totally foreign to him. He
knew it because he’d seen his own burned terrain,
he’d walked off the familiar and comfortable path
inside his own head and heart and seen what
festered in the dark.And one day Jean Guy Beauvoir would look at his
own monsters, and then be able to recognize others.
And maybe this was the day and this was the case.

‘What did you think of him?’
‘He was a type I knew. I’d never have married him.
Too wrapped up in work and society and right and
wrong. Not morals, of course, but things like dessert
forks and thank you notes and proper clothing.’
‘Forgive me, Madame Dubois, but all those things
clearly matter to you, too.’ ‘They matter by choice, Chief Inspector. But if you
showed up in a striped shirt and a polka-dotted tie I
wouldn’t ask you to change. Monsieur Morrow would
have. Or he’d have made certain you knew it was
offensive. He was easily offended. He had a very
keen idea of his place. And yours.’ She smiled at him.
‘But there’s always more to a person, and you say you
got to know them quite well.’
‘‘I liked Charles Morrow. For all he was pompous he
had a sense of humour and a lot of good friends. You
can tell a lot about a man by his friends, or lack of
them. Do they bring out the best in each other, or are
they always gossiping, tearing others down? Keeping
wounds alive? Charles Morrow despised gossip. And
his best friend was Bert Finney. That spoke volumes
about the man, a mon avis.

‘He has nowhere to go. Do you know why we’re all sohappy here, monsieur? Because it’s the last house onthe road. We’ve tried everywhere else, and don’t fit in.Here we fit. Here we belong. Even the kids who cometo work are special. Seekers. And they stay as longas they choose.
Her Victorian parents had made clear two
things: the husband must be obeyed, and she must
never show weakness, especially to that husband.
And so she’d bathed her beautiful baby, and cried.

‘No, we got the murderer, there’s no doubt. But I also
knew there was someone else in Three Pines I felt
was capable of murder. Someone who needed
watching.’‘Clara,’ said Lacoste. Emotional, temperamental,
passionate. So much can go wrong with a personality
like that.‘No, Peter. Closed off, complex, so placid and
relaxed on the surface but God only knows what’s
happening underneath.’

‘Look.’ He pointed into the night sky. ‘It’s Babar.’
He swirled his fingers around, trying to get her to see
the elephant shape in the stars.
‘Are you sure? It looks more like Tintin.
‘No, he’s grazing, resting,’ said Gamache. ‘Even the
most magnificent of creatures needs a rest. Pegasus
knows how to soar and chase and glide. But he also
knows how to be at peace.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed … and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of.
Beauvoir looked over and saw the chief, his eyes
closed and his head tilted back, but his lips moving,
repeating a phrase.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue,
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights …
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
‘Where’s that from?’ asked Beauvoir.
‘A poem called “High Flight” by a young Canadian
aviator in the Second World War.’

She radiated rage now. He felt his face would bubble
and scald. And he knew why none of the Morrow
children had ever been this close.

Grief was dagger shaped and sharp and pointed
inwards. It was made of fresh loss and old sorrow.
Rendered and forged and sometimes polished. Irene
Finney had taken her daughter’s death and to that
sorrow she’d added a long life of entitlement and
disappointment, of privilege and pride. And the
dagger she’d fashioned was taking a brief break from
slashing her insides, and was now pointed outward.
At Armand Gamache.

‘I loved my father then and I love him now. It’s pretty
simple,’ he said.
‘I loved my father then and I love him now. It’s pretty
simple,’ he said.
‘He doesn’t deserve it. I’m sorry, but it’s the truth, and I
have to speak it. The truth will set you free.’ She
seemed almost sorry.‘I believe it,’ he said. ‘But I also believe it’s not the
truth about others that will set you free, but the truth
about yourself.’Now she bristled.
‘I’m not the one who needs freeing, Mr Gamache. You
refuse to see your father clearly. You’re living with a
lie. I knew him. He was a coward and a traitor. The
sooner you accept that the sooner you can get on with
your life. What he did was despicable. He doesn’t
deserve your love.’‘We all deserve love. And at times pardon.’
‘Pardon? Do you mean mercy, forgiveness?’ She
made it sound like an oath, a curse.
‘Yes. I found a book last night about the Hundred
Years War between England and France. At that time
the first son of any family inherited, the second was
given to the church, the third might make a good
marriage, but the fourth? Well, the fourth had to make
his own way.’
‘Difficult times.’
‘For martlets. And I remembered what Charles
Morrow most feared about his own children, four of
them as it turned out. He was afraid they’d squander
the family fortune.’

‘As it happens, yes. But of all of them Peter was the
most fragile. He has an artist’s soul and a banker’s
temperament. Makes for a very stressful life, being so
in conflict with himself.’
‘On the night she died Julia accused him of being a
hypocrite,’ Gamache remembered.
‘They all are, I’m afraid. Thomas is the opposite of
Peter. A banker’s soul but an artist’s temperament.
Emotions squashed. That’s why his music’s so
‘But without pleasure,’ said Gamache. ‘Unlike
Finney said nothing.
‘But I haven’t told you the most

‘Do you know why it’s always drawn without feet?’
Finney remained silent.‘Because it’s on its way to heaven. According to
legend a martlet never touches the earth, it flies all the
time. I believe Charles Morrow wanted to give that to
his children. He wanted them to soar. To find, if not
heaven, then at least happiness. Oh, I have slipped
the surly bonds of earth,’ said Gamache. ‘You quoted
the poem “High Flight” when we first talked.’
‘Charles’s favourite. He was a naval aviator in the
war. And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
The words went out into the world and joined the
golden sunshine streaming through the gathering
clouds and onto the water and the dock and warming
their faces. The words joined the glittering waves and
the bobbing insects and butterflies and birds and
shimmering leaves.

earth-song:“Tiny Visitor” by Sue Holland  fairy-wren:European Bullfinch(Photo by mars shangareev)
Armand Gamache closed his eyes and walked deep
into the shadows, deep into the longhouse where all
his experiences and memories lived, where everyone
he’d ever met and everything he’d ever done or
thought or said waited.

Instead he continued to stare at the younger man, so neat, so perfectly turned out,
and in such turmoil. It was that turmoil that made him
such a gifted investigator, Gamache knew. Yes, he
collected facts and assembled them brilliantly, but it
was Beauvoir’s discomfort that allowed him to
recognize it in others.‘There’s nothing to be ashamed of, but there is a lot to
be aware of. Be careful.

‘Be careful,’ Gamache whispered. ‘You’re making
hurting a habit. Spreading it around won’t lessen your
pain, you know. Just the opposite.’

He sponsored a woman he’d met in Bergen-
Belsen to come to Canada and live with us. Zora was
her name. She became my grandmother, and raised
me after my parents died. She taught me that life
goes on, and that I had a choice. To lament what I no
longer had or be grateful for what remained. I was
fortunate to have a role model that I couldn’t squirm
my way around. After all, how do you argue with the
survivor of a death camp?’Gamache actually chuckled, and Peter wondered at
this man who’d lived every nightmare and was happy
while Peter had every privilege and wasn’t.
They walked out of the tunnel of maple trees and into
the light, dimmed by cloud. Both men stopped. Some
fiddle music reached them.

She told him and his eyes widened, surprised. She
was right, of course. And so many vaguely troubling
things suddenly made sense. The world-class chef
hidden away. The army of young English workers.
Never older, never French. Why she never greeted the
guests. And why she lived, year round, on the shores
of an isolated lake.

The last thing they needed was to lose the searchers. It happened. How
often had the lost reappeared and the searchers
disappeared, only to be found as bones years later.
The Canadian wilderness didn’t give up her territory
or her dead easily.
She looked at Gamache as though he was
responsible. And he knew he was. He’d been slow,
allowed himself to be misdirected by his own
prejudices. He’d accused Beauvoir of being blinded
by emotion, but he had been too.
‘You sit here, safe and warm with the old women and
children,’ hissed Mrs Finney. ‘Hiding here while others
do the difficult work.’