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Page 32

But Beauvoir, with an effort, kept his mouth shut. Mostly because he couldn’t think of anything intelligent to say about art.

Castonguay and the Chief Inspector were now discussing trends in modern art, with Castonguay lecturing and Gamache listening as though rapt.

And François Marois?

Jean Guy Beauvoir had all but forgotten him. He was so quiet. But now the Inspector shifted his eyes to Marois. And discovered the quiet, older man was also staring. But not at Castonguay.

François Marois was staring at Chief Inspector Gamache. Examining him. Closely. Then he shifted his gaze to Beauvoir. It wasn’t a cold look. But it was clear and sharp.

It froze Beauvoir’s blood.

The conversation between the Chief Inspector and Castonguay had segued back to the murder.

“Terrible,” said Castonguay, as though voicing a unique and insightful sentiment.

“Terrible,” agreed Gamache, sitting forward. “We have a couple of photographs of the murdered woman. I wonder if you’d mind looking at them?”

Beauvoir handed the photos to François Marois first. He looked at them then passed them on to André Castonguay.

“I’m afraid I don’t know her,” said Castonguay. To give him grudging credit, Beauvoir thought the man looked pained to see the woman dead. “Who was she?”

“Monsieur Marois?” Gamache turned to the other man.

“No, I’m afraid she doesn’t look familiar to me either. She was at the party?”

“That’s what we’re trying to find out. Did either of you see her there? As you can see in one of the pictures, she was wearing quite a remarkable red dress.”

The men glanced at each other, but shook their heads.

“Désolé,” said Castonguay. “But I spent the evening speaking to friends I don’t often see. She could’ve been there and I just didn’t notice. Who was she?” he asked again.

The photos were handed back to Beauvoir.

“Her name was Lillian Dyson.”

There was no reaction to the name.

“Was she an artist?” Castonguay asked.

“What makes you ask?” said Gamache.

“Wearing red. Flamboyant. Artists are either complete bums, hardly wash, drunk and filthy most of the time, or they’re well, that.” He waved toward the pictures in Beauvoir’s hand. “Over-the-top. Loud. ‘Look at me’ types. Both are very tiring.”

“You don’t seem to like artists,” said Gamache.

“I don’t. I like the product, not the person. Artists are needy, crazy people who take up a lot of space and time. Exhausting. Like babies.”

“And yet, you were an artist once, I believe,” said François Marois.

The Sûreté agents looked over at the quiet man by the fireplace. Was there a satisfied look on his face?

“I was. Too sane to be a success.”

Marois laughed, and Castonguay looked annoyed. It wasn’t meant as a joke.

“You were at the vernissage at the Musée yesterday, Monsieur Castonguay?” Gamache asked.

“Yes. The chief curator invited me. And of course Vanessa is a close friend. We dine together when I’m in London.”

“Vanessa Destin-Brown? The head of the Tate Modern?” asked Gamache, apparently impressed. “She was there last night?”

“Oh yes, there and here. We had a long discussion on the future of figurative—”

“But she didn’t stay? Or is she one of the guests at the inn?”

“No, she left early. I don’t think burgers and fiddle music’s her style.”

“But it is yours?”

Beauvoir wondered if André Castonguay had noticed the tide shifting?

“Not normally, but there were some people here I wanted to speak with.”

“Who?”

“Pardon?”

Chief Inspector Gamache was still cordial, still gracious. But he was also clearly in command. And always had been.

Once again Beauvoir shot a look over to François Marois. He suspected the shift came as no surprise to him.

“Who did you particularly want to speak to at the party here?” Gamache asked, patient, clear.

“Well, Clara Morrow for one. I wanted to thank her for her works.”

“Who else?”

“That’s a private matter,” said Castonguay.

So he had noticed, thought Beauvoir. But too late. Chief Inspector Gamache was the tide and André Castonguay a twig. The best he could hope was to stay afloat.

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