Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #6)


“I know you all have keys. I know it would be easy for one of you to let him in.”

“But why would we?” asked Mr. Blake.

“Do the names Chin, JD, Patrick and O’Mara mean anything to you?”

Again they thought and again they shook their heads. Like the Hydra. One body, many heads. But of a mind.

“Members, perhaps?” he pressed.

“I don’t know about JD, but the others aren’t members,” said Winnie. “We have so few I know their names by heart.”

It struck Gamache for the first time what an interesting English expression that was. To commit something to memory was to know it by heart. Memories were kept in the heart, not the head. At least, that’s where the English kept their memories.

“May I have a list of your members?” he asked. Winnie bristled and Porter jumped in.

“That’s confidential.”

“A library membership list? Secret?”

“Not secret, Chief Inspector. Confidential.”

“I still need to see it.”

Porter opened his mouth but Elizabeth jumped in. “We’ll get it for you. Winnie?”

And Winnie, without hesitation, did what Elizabeth asked.

As he left, membership list folded in his breast pocket, Gamache paused on the top step to put his heavy gloves on. From there he looked across to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and the rectory facing the old library.

Who would have the easiest time letting someone into the Lit and His, unseen? And, if lights were turned on after closing time, who was most likely to see it?

The minister, Tom Hancock.

After first going to the stone home Gamache found the minister at his office in the church, a cluttered and comfortable back room.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, but I need to know if you saw Augustin Renaud at the Lit and His a week before he died.”

If Tom Hancock was the one who’d let them in he would almost certainly deny it. Gamache wasn’t expecting the truth, only hoping to surprise a fleeting look of guilt.

But he saw none.

“Renaud was there a week before he died? I didn’t know that. How’d you find out?”

Alone among them Hancock hadn’t tried to argue. He was simply, like the Chief, baffled.

“His diary. He was to meet four others there, after hours we think.”

Gamache gave him the names but the minister shook his head. “Sorry, they mean nothing, but I can ask around if you like.” He paused and examined Gamache closely. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Help. I need help. Gamache shook his head, thanked him, and left.

When he got back to 9¾ Ste-Ursule, Émile was still reading.

“Any luck?” He looked up.

Gamache shook his head and took off his coat, brushing snow from it. “You?”

“I was just wondering about these. Did you notice them?”

Gamache walked over to the table and looked down. Émile was pointing to the diary page, the one that mentioned the meeting at the Lit and His with the four men. At the bottom of the page, in very small but legible writing, were two numbers.

9-8499 and 9-8572.

“A bank account? A license plate maybe? They’re not reference numbers,” said Gamache. “At least, not Dewey Decimal numbers. I noticed them too, but he has so many numbers scribbled everywhere. The diary’s littered with them.”

They didn’t seem to be phone numbers, certainly not for Québec. Map coordinates? Not like any he’d ever seen.

Gamache glanced at his watch. “I think it’s time to visit Monsieur Patrick. Will you join me?”

Émile snapped the diary shut and stood, stretching. “It’s amazing, all this paper and yet nothing new. All the research had been done by other people before him. You’d think in all those years Augustin Renaud might have found something new.”

“Maybe he did. People aren’t usually murdered because nothing’s happened. Something happened in his life.”

Gamache locked up and they made their way along the narrow streets with Henri.

“All this was forest in Champlain’s time?” said Gamache, as they walked along Ste-Ursule. Émile nodded.

“The main settlement stopped at about rue des Jardins but it wasn’t all that long after Champlain’s death that the colony expanded. The Ursulines built the convent and more settlers came once they realized it wasn’t going away.”

“And that fortunes could be made,” said Gamache.