Letters from Elsewhere

Letters from Elsewhere: Jacques Forêt

Letters from ElsewhereMy guest today comes straight from the fictional village of Messandrierre in the Cevennes. He’s a local Gendarme called Jacques Forêt. You can get to know him via these excerpts from three letters he wrote to his father in Paris.

Jacques’s creator, Angela Wren, includes other excerpts from Jacques’s letters on her new blog. And you can also find Jacques in the cosy crime story, Messandrierre – or rather, you will be able to once it’s published at around the turn of the year.

1 Grande-rue
February 2008

Jacques Forêt …papa, keeping in touch would be so much easier if you used the laptop I brought for you and maman when I was home last month. I know tinkering with your precious English Norton in the courtyard is more interesting than getting involved in modern technology, but it would help me a great deal if you could at least try.

I was up on the col at the weekend on my BSA and the engine failed again. It was a long 10k walk home and mostly in the snow. It’s been very cold here…


March 2008

Jacques Forêt2            …Messandrierre? What can I say? It’s much the same, papa. I’m beginning to think the village is always the same. Delacroix and the Rouselles are still feuding and I doubt that they can even remember the origin of the issue that really sets them against each other. The Pamiers keep themselves to themselves, and I’ve realised that life here just meanders through the seasons. So very, very different from Paris.

            I’m really sorry to hear that Francis has been made redundant. That’ll make things very difficult for them and the boys. I’ve still got the money from the sale of my place in Paris. It’s sitting in the bank doing nothing except earning interest and, as yet I’ve no intention of investing in a property here. Francis and I have had our moments over the years but I wouldn’t want see my little sister and the boys in difficulty. So, if you can papa, have a quiet word when you next see Thérèse and let her know she can come to me for help if she needs to and I’ll call her tonight and say the same thing even though it will be useless. But if she hears it from you she’ll take notice.

 June 2008

Jacques Forêt3             …I knew I shouldn’t have said anything in my last letter. And I suspect it is maman that really wants to know. Well, her name is Beth and she was staying in one of the chalets on the edge of the village. She’s funny and clever and easy to talk to and vulnerable and shy and she’s English. And it’s complicated. Perhaps we should keep that last bit to ourselves eh? I don’t want maman making assumptions and jumping to the wrong conclusions and then worrying about me. And, just for the record, Beth is nothing like Madeleine. She’s back in England now and it feels as though there is whole in my life. We’re keeping in touch. Well I’ve messaged her a couple of times. I’m not sure where this might go but…

…give my love to maman and tell her that I’m relieved that she’s beginning to feel better. I had no real idea the long-term prognosis was not good until your last letter. Make sure you tell her I’m all right and that I’ll come home as soon as I can.

Your only son,

About Messandrierre

Sacrificing his job in investigation following a shooting in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a rural gendarme. Will he find the perpetrators before his lover Beth becomes a victim?

About Angela Wren

Having completed a twenty-year career as a Project and Business Change Manager, Angela now works as an Actor and Director at Doncaster Little Theatre and has been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. Her work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout her adult life.

She enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of her stories are set in France where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year.

By Miriam Drori

Author, editor, attempter of this thing called life. Social anxiety warrior. Cultivating a Fuji, edition 3, a poignant, humorous and uplifting tale, published with Ocelot Press, January 2023.

7 replies on “Letters from Elsewhere: Jacques Forêt”

The book should be out at the end of the year. I will post a message as soon as the publication date is finalised.

Can’t wait to read Messandriere; Crime and murder in small French villages is an interesting subject. Should be very good.

I really hope you will enjoy the story when it finally hits the shops at the end of the year. To me everything about France is interesting, even the fictional stuff!

The letters are dated 2008 to fit in with the very beginning of the story which starts in 2007 and then moves to 2009 and the mystery that is the focus of the plot. I agree maman would worry which is why Jacques asks his father to keep that bit to himself. Jacques and his papa have always been close and I believe that papa would honour Jacque’s wishes especially as he will be reading the letter to maman who is partially sighted.

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