Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14) by Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14) by Louise Penny

Author:Louise Penny
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
ISBN: 9781250066206
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 2018-11-27T08:00:00+00:00

CHAPTER 24

“Excuse me,” said Chief Inspector Beauvoir, ceding his place to Inspector Dufresne. “I’ll leave you with the Inspector and Chief Superintendent Gamache.”

He got up, and after nodding to his inspector he caught Gamache’s eye.

Gamache, of course, knew exactly what Beauvoir was about to do. The same thing he’d done when he was head of homicide.

Beauvoir had listened to the family. Now it was time to meet the dead man. Or as close as he could come.

Beauvoir walked from room to room, looking in. Sometimes going in.

Agents were photographing. Taking samples. Opening drawers and closets.

They acknowledged him.

“Chief.”

Beauvoir nodded back but was, for the most part, silent. Watching. Taking it in. Not monitoring their activity but absorbing the surroundings.

It was always an odd feeling, walking around a person’s home uninvited. Seeing it as they’d left it in the morning. Not realizing they’d never return. Not realizing it was the day of their death.

There was something solid, comfortable, restful about this place. It was a home, not a trophy.

The colors were muted. A soft blue-gray for the walls. But there were touches that seemed almost playful.

A lime-green geometric print on the curtains in the master bedroom. Vintage Expo 67 posters were on the walls of the hallway.

Some clothes were tossed casually on a chair in the bedroom. There were balled-up tissues in the wastepaper basket. Some loose change sat on the chest of drawers, along with a framed photo of Baumgartner with his children. A boy and a girl.

On the bedside table, there was a nonfiction book about American politics and a copy of L’actualité newsmagazine.

Taking out a pen, Beauvoir pulled open the drawer. More magazines. Pens. Cough drops.

He closed the drawer and looked around for evidence of someone else living there. Or visiting. Overnight.

No one else’s clothes, or toothbrush, seemed to be there.

If Baumgartner had a partner or a lover, there was no evidence.

Beauvoir walked down the hall and turned the corner into the room Baumgartner used as a study. And stopped dead.

He didn’t know much about art. Did not recognize any artist. With one exception. And that exception was on the wall, over the fireplace in the study.

It was a Clara Morrow. And not just any “Clara,” it was a copy of her painting of Ruth. But not just Ruth.

Clara had painted the demented old poet as the aging Virgin Mary. Forgotten.

Embittered.

A clawlike hand gripped a ragged blue shawl at her neck. Her face was filled with loathing. Rage. There was none of the tender young virgin about this grizzled old thing.

Ruth.

But. But. There. In her eyes. Was a glint, a gleam.

With all the brushstrokes. All the detail. All the color, the painting, finally came down to one tiny dot.

Ruth as the Virgin Mary saw something in the distance. Barely visible. Hardly there. More a suggestion.

In a bitter old woman’s near-blind eyes, Clara Morrow had painted hope.

Beauvoir knew that most people who looked at the painting saw the despair. It was hard to miss. But what they did miss was the whole point of the painting.



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