on tour September 4-15, 2017
Jacques Forêt, a former gendarme turned investigator, delves into the murky world of commercial sabotage – a place where people lie and misrepresent, and where information is traded and used as a threat.
The Vaux organisation is losing contracts and money, and Jacques is asked to undertake an internal investigation. As he works through the complexity of all the evidence, he finds more than he bargained for, and his own life is threatened.
When a body of a woman is found, it appears to be suicide. But as the investigation takes another turn, Jacques suspects there is more to it.
Who is behind it all…and why? Will Jacques find the answer before another person ends up dead?
toussaint – all saints’ day, sunday, november 1st, 10.00am
At his desk in Mende, Pelletier was reading the initial report of the previous day’s death whilst he waited for Jacques Forêt to arrive. The building was unusually silent and he was still smarting from the verbal drubbing his wife had given him for having to be at work. Very much aware that he was foregoing a chance to see how much his recently born granddaughter had changed and grown, he sighed and slumped down in his chair. Missing much of this precious time with his own children when they were young because of his work was something he now bitterly regretted.
He pushed his mind back to the scene of the crime when he heard the door of the outer office open and then click shut again. Jacques, his long navy winter coat buttoned against the day’s chill wind, strode into Pelletier’s room.
“I’ve brought coffee,” he said placing two insulated silver containers on the desk. Discarding his coat on the back of a nearby chair, he sat down and smiled. “What does the pathologist’s report say?”
“It’s only a preliminary one at the moment, so it is hurried, and it doesn’t tell me anything I don’t know already.” Pelletier pushed the thin file across the desk to his visitor.
“And you’re sure you want me to look at this?”
“Yes. I know you’re no longer on the force, Jacques, but yesterday you arrived at the scene just as I was leaving. You had a reason for being there, and I want to hear more about that. Also, I value your opinion as an ex-policeman.” Pelletier removed his rimless spectacles and began to polish the lenses with his handkerchief.
Jacques glanced through the meagre number of pages searching for the single relevant line he required.
Death by exsanguination from a knife wound to the left wrist.
“And the estimated time of death is recorded as sometime after noon on Friday…” Jacques said out loud as he looked up from the file. “Well, that fits.”
“With what?” Pelletier replaced his spectacles.
“I now work for Alain Vaux of Vaux Investigations. One of our staff has not been into the office since last Thursday, and there has been no explanation from her either. She was due in the office yesterday as well but did not turn up, nor did she make contact to let us know why she was absent.” Jacques quickly flicked through the other pages and then placed the folder on the desk.
“Ah. But that does not explain why you were in that building in Merle as I was about to leave it.”
Jacques bristled. “In part, it does. Her manager, Madeleine Cloutier, has a regular meeting on a Friday afternoon in Rodez and, if she comes into the office first, always leaves at about eleven, eleven-thirty at the latest. On Friday, she asked me to check on Aimée, her absentee team member, if she didn’t come in after lunch. At around three-thirty I called her office number and it was switched to voicemail, and when I called Aimée’s mobile immediately afterwards, it was switched off. When she didn’t come in for work yesterday, I called her again, at different times and got the same result. I decided to visit to see if she was OK.”
This one started out slow for me. It’s not often I say that about mystery novels, but it did. I’m not sure why; perhaps my mind wasn’t in quite the right set. And it had been so long since I’d read the previous novel, Messandrierre. But, it did pick up, and by halfway I was intrigued. Who was behind the sabotage? There are so many possibilities, so many people with motive and desire. As with the first book, I did not entirely expect the result (though one or two characters tweaked my interest there). So in that way it was satisfying.
I think the main reason why it took so long to get into is that the characters did not seem as vivid as Messandrierre’s. The townsfolk in that book seemed to have stronger personalities and were more memorable. I had a hard time remembering names in the first bit of this novel.
It is good though, and worth reading if you like mysteries, particularly the corporate espionage types.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m an actor and director at a small theatre
a few miles from where I live in Yorkshire in the UK.
I did work as a project and business change manager
– very pressured and very demanding –
but I managed to escape and now I write books.
I’ve always loved stories and story telling
so it seemed a natural progression, to me, to try my hand at writing.
My first published story was in an anthology,
which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ and published in 2011.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work.
My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical.
I also write comic flash-fiction
and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.
My full-length stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.
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