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Page 46

“But who was the line written about?” Gamache asked both men.

“It can’t have been anyone famous or we’d have remembered,” said Marois. “Probably some poor artist who sank into oblivion.”

Tied to this rock of a review, thought Gamache.

“Does it matter?” asked Castonguay. “It was twenty years ago or more. You think a review from decades ago has anything to do with her murder?”

“I think murder has a long memory.”

“If you’ll excuse me, I have some phone calls to make,” said André Castonguay.

Marois and Gamache watched him walk off toward the inn and spa.

“You know what he’s doing, don’t you?” Marois turned back to his companion.

“He’s calling the Morrows, to convince them to meet with him.”

Marois smiled. “Exactement.”

The two men strolled back toward the inn and spa themselves.

“Aren’t you worried?”

“I’m never worried about André. He’s no threat to me. If the Morrows are foolish enough to sign with him then he’s welcome to them.”

But Gamache didn’t believe it for a moment. François Marois’s eyes were too sharp, too shrewd for that. His relaxed manner too studied.

No, this man cared a great deal. He was wealthy. He was powerful. So it wasn’t about that.

Fear and greed. That was what drove the art world. And Gamache knew it was probably true. So if it wasn’t greed on Marois’s part, then the other must be true.

It was fear.

But what could this elderly, eminent dealer be afraid of?

“Will you join me, monsieur?” Armand Gamache extended his arm, inviting François Marois to walk with him. “I’m going into the village.”

Marois, who had had no intention of walking down into Three Pines again, considered the invitation and recognized it for what it was. A polite request. Not quite a command, but close enough.

He took his place beside the Chief Inspector and both walked slowly down the slope and into the village.

“Very pretty,” said Marois. He stopped and surveyed Three Pines, a smile on his lips. “I can see why Clara Morrow chose to live here. It is magical.”

“I sometimes wonder how important place is to an artist.” Gamache also looked out over the quiet village. “So many choose the great cities. Paris, London, Venice. Cold water flats and lofts in Soho and Chelsea. Lillian Dyson moved to New York, for instance. But Clara didn’t. The Morrows chose here. Does where they live affect what they create?”

“Oh, without a doubt. Where they live and who they spend time with. I don’t think Clara’s series of portraits could have been created any place other than here.”

“It’s fascinating to me that some look at her work and see just nice portraits of mostly elderly women. Traditional, staid even. But you don’t.”

“Neither do you, Chief Inspector, any more than when you and I look at Three Pines we see a village.”

“And what do you see, Monsieur Marois?”

“I see a painting.”

“A painting?”

“A beautiful one, to be sure. But all paintings, the most disturbing and the most exquisite, are made up of the same thing. The play of light and dark. That’s what I see. A whole lot of light, but a whole lot of dark too. That’s what people miss in Clara’s works. The light is so obvious they get fooled by it. It takes some people a while to appreciate the shading. I think that’s one of the things that makes her brilliant. She’s very subtle, but very subversive. She has a lot to say, and takes her time revealing it.”

“C’est intéressant, ça,” Gamache nodded. It wasn’t unlike what he’d been thinking about Three Pines. It too took a while to reveal itself. But Marois’s analogy had its limits. A painting, no matter how spectacular, would only ever be two dimensional. Is that how Marois saw the world? Was there an entire dimension he missed?

They started walking again. On the village green they noticed Clara plunking down beside Ruth. They watched as Ruth fired chunks of stale bread at the birds. It was unclear if she was trying to feed them or kill them.

François Marois’s eyes narrowed. “That’s the woman in Clara’s portrait,” he said.

“It is. Ruth Zardo.”

“The poet? I thought she was dead.”

“It’s a natural mistake,” said Gamache, waving at Ruth, who gave him the finger. “Her brain seems fine, it’s only her heart that’s stopped.”

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