(p. 31) "My English isn't very good. It's OK, but you should hear the head librarian speak French. At least, I think she's speaking French. She clearly thinks she is. But I can't understand a word. In the entire interview she spoke French and I spoke English. It was like something out of a cartoon. She must think I'm a moron. So far all I've done is grinned and nodded and I think I might have asked whether she's descended from the lower orders."
"Why did you ask that?"
"I didn't mean to. I wanted to ask if she had access to the basement, but something went wrong," he smiled ruefully. "I think clarity might be important in a murder case."
"I think you might be right. What did she say to your questions?"
"She got quite upset and said that the night is a strawberry."
Langlois sighed a puff of frustration. "Will you come in? I know you speak English. I've heard you at conferences."
"But how do you know I wasn't mangling the language too? Maybe the night is a strawberry."
(p. 37) "I understand that the night is a strawberry," said Gamache, smiling slightly.
"Oh, you heard about that, did you?" Elizabeth smiled. "Poor Winnie. No ear for languages. Reads French perfectly, you know. Always the highest marks in school, but can't seem to speak it. Her accent would stop a train."
(p. 62) Winnie Manning came in next and confirmed that the night was indeed a strawberry, but added that the English were good pumpkins and that the library had a particularly impressive section on mattresses and mattress warfare.
(p. 141) ...Winnie had greeted them, given them the bilingual brochures, and invited them to join. She'd even given some of the more brazen a brief tour of the library, pointing out the fine pillows on the walls, the collection of figs on the shelves, and asking if any of them would like to become umlauts. Not surprisingly, few did. But three people actually paid twenty dollars and joined, shamed into it by Winnie's obvious kindness and handicap.
"Did you mention that the night is a strawberry?" Elizabeth asked when Winnie returned with a membership payment.
"I did. They didn't disagree."