Fact & Fiction intersect at the Literary & Historical Society (also known as the Morrin Centre) in Old Quebec City. A trap door became for me a moment of double vision: BOTH an element of the real history of the first prison in Quebec City AND the portal to an imagined murder scene. Part of the intrigue of this museum comes from being known by more than one name. Under the name "The Morrin Centre", it is one of Trip Advisor's most highly recommended Quebec City attractions. But I located my review here because of the murder mystery "Bury Your Dead" by Louise Penny, which uses its nickname, "The Lit & His". Last winter, as I read this page turner set in Old Quebec, I recognized place names & way-finding points from a summer long ago, spent living on one of the narrow side streets. Could the "Lit & His" actually be a real place? YES! Imagine my delighted surprise today to find myself able to take a guided tour of the Morrin Centre with my guide Benoit. It exceeded my expectations. But you would not need to have a clue about the fictional connection to appreciate this Museum. There are a number of very well presented displays of the multiple incarnations of this beautiful building -- the cells & punishment devices from its period as a prison, grafitti carved on the floor by prisoners, and the very old chemistry lab & darkroom from its period as a college. But the beautiful & historic Anglophone library was the highlight for me -- serene place-holder in Canada's ongoing reality of the "two solitudes" of the French & English cultures. I suggest a preliminary reading of the novel. I am currently here doing a DIY walking tour, using highlighted passages from the book and the GPS way-finding on my smartphone. I gather now that I am a week too early to take a commercial tour that is now being put together on this theme. But my solo one has had the added charge of doing my own digging. Either way, the overlay of fictional "book marks" onto real "land marks" is a playful twist that enlivens the tourist experience.
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