Monday May 22, 2017

Treasa Levasseur traces her ancestry to Québec City through Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series

While exploring Québec City through the pages of Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead, Treasa Levasseur learned that she has ancestral roots in the province.

While exploring Québec City through the pages of Louise Penny's Bury Your Dead, Treasa Levasseur learned that she has ancestral roots in the province. (Emma-Lee Photography/Little, Brown And Company)

Listen 9:13

Musician and singer Treasa Levasseur has been crisscrossing the country as a performer. She's also put on a lot of mileage as a reader, visiting Canadian cities and towns in the pages of books. For this column, she travels through Québec City via Bury Your Dead, the sixth novel in Louise Penny's award-winning Inspector Gamache mystery series. 

Discovering her connection to Québec City

The last time I was in Québec City, I was on my very last road trip with my Dad. My Dad always loved to travel across the country. We went to Québec City to visit some family and we went to the Plains of Abraham. As is turns out, my grandmother is part of the lineage of Jean Côté, who married the daughter of Abraham Martin, who is the Abraham of the Plains of Abraham. 

Doing her research

In researching this book, I discovered that my grandfather's side of the family — they came very early to Canada in the early 1600s — were master joiners and architectural sculptors. My ancestors had a hand in erecting many of the statues and buildings in Québec City. Not only did I take a trip to Québec, on some level I bring it with me wherever I go.

Weaving mystery and history together

This body is found in a basement. But, as it turns out, it's tied to the long-standing search for the body of Samuel de Champlain, which has been missing for hundreds of years. All the little plot points of the story create this elegant map. Québec City stands as a metaphor for Gamache. I think it stands as a symbol of both belonging and otherness.

Treasa Levasseur's comments have been edited and condensed.