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My little French visitor has written a letter. That surprised me until I discovered it’s an assignment from his teacher. He and his classmates were asked to write a letter of introduction, telling a little about themselves and then something of what each of them wants for the future.

Chère Madame Noyer,

Pierre MancelleMy name is Pierre Mancelle and I am eight years old.  I live with my parents in the village of Messandrierre.  My maman is a music teacher but not in a school.  She has students who come to the house and sometimes she goes to their houses.  Sometimes she teaches in school when another teacher is sick.  My papa sings at the opera house in Marseille, so he is often away. But I have my own phone now so that I can talk to him when he’s not in rehearsal or on stage.  We have an apartment in Marseille that is near the opera house and also close to the old port.  Papa lives there when he’s singing but comes home when he’s not.  He also goes to Lyon and Paris to sing too.  He’s not famous or anything like that.  He’s a tenor and he sings as part of the company, but he does understudy sometimes.

I like music, but not opera, it’s too complicated.  I like playing my recorder. I also like riding my bike around the village and going on patrol with Gendarme Jacques Forêt, except he’s not a gendarme in the village any more.  He works in Mende now.  So I have to do my detective work with Gendarme Clergue instead.  He’s OK… but it’s not the same.

Just like at home.  It’s not the same.  The family is changing.  It’s always been only me and maman and papa, but soon I won’t be on my own any more.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  Maman says, that as the eldest, I will have to take on new responsibilities.  Papa says that I will still be ‘the man of the house’ when he isn’t there.  And grandpapa says that I will always be just as precious to maman and papa as I always have been.  But I’m not so sure…

I know I want to be a detective like Jacques.  Maman says I have to call him Monsieur Jacques.  But he lets me call him Jacques when its just us two and when he was a gendarme he let me call him Gendarme Jacques when we were working on cases together.  But now he’s working in Mende I only see him at weekends when he brings Madame Elizabeth to the village.  I wish I could see him more often because he would know what to do.  He knows what to do about everything.  He would know what to do about one of the boys who are always hanging around outside school.  A boy I don’t like….

Ah, I was wondering when he’d get to the point, if ever. If you want to know more, you can find out in Montbel by talented Crooked Cat author, Angela Wren… that is, you will be able to when it’s released on 13th November.

Montbel by Angela WrenAbout Montbel

A clear-cut case?

A re-examination of a closed police case brings investigator, Jacques Forêt, up against an old adversary. After the murder of a key witness, Jacques finds himself, and his team, being pursued.

When a vital piece of evidence throws a completely different light on Jacques’ case, his adversary becomes more aggressive, and Investigating Magistrate Pelletier threatens to sequester all of Jacques’ papers and shut down the investigation.

Can Jacques find all the answers before Pelletier steps in?

Montbel is the third Jacques Forêt mystery and can be found on Amazon.

Angela Wren.

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Angela can be found on Amazon US, Amazon UK, her website, her blog, Facebook, Goodreads and Contact an Author.

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This might be the end of Letters from Elsewhere. I feel it’s time for something new. But not just now. I’m too busy working on my own future at the moment. So, don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while, but don’t be surprised if you do. And I’ll still be around on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.

Miriam Drori

Miriam Drori, reading from her non-fiction book: Social Anxiety Revealed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letters from ElsewhereMy last visitor  in the series Letters from Elsewhere, at least for the time being, is also a first. He is the first character to return. He must have enjoyed it here, while all the others… no, let’s not go there!

Gendarme Jacques Forêt first appeared in October, when he shared excerpts from three letters he wrote to his father in Paris. Now he’s come to share three more excerpts from letters to his father.

1 Grande-rue
Messandrierre
February 2009

MessandrierreEntrancetothevillageHow’s maman?  Again, you didn’t say much in your last letter papa and I’m worried.  I realise how difficult it must be for you, but I just need to know that she’s all right.

Tell Francis that I send my best wishes for his new job.  It can’t be easy for him to be starting work again after such a long period of redundancy.  I’m sure Thérèse will be relieved.  When I was home at Christmas I thought she looked very tired and drawn.  And when you write back, papa, don’t forget to let me have all the news about those nephews of mine.

March 2009

…you’re right; the job’s not going so well.  Fournier is a difficult man to please and we don’t see police work in quite the same way.  I’m beginning to wonder whether leaving Paris for the rural gendarmerie was the right decision.  But then, I think about the easy pace of life down here, the more regular hours and I realise that perhaps it is not so bad after all.  And, of course I have what I could call my own ‘patch’.  The villagers have accepted me, I think and I seem to be the first person they come to these days, so that’s a good outcome.

April 2009

MessandrierreChurchBellTower…yes I’m travelling up to Paris on the 9th and I will be with you and maman for the whole of Easter.  I’m looking forward to it and I’d be happy to take the boys wherever they want to go.  It will be good to catch up with them and Thérèse as well.  Perhaps, whilst I’m there, you and I can take a look at the laptop that I brought you last year.  Keeping in touch would be so much easier, papa, if you would just use the computer.

You ask about Beth…well, there’s nothing much to say.  I haven’t heard from her recently.  I’ve thought about phoning her…but now I’m not so sure that she will want to hear from me.  If she comes back to Messandrierre, she comes back.  I’m no longer certain that she will.  At the moment I’m concentrating on my work…

Your only son,
Jacques

About Messandrierre

MessandrierreCoverArtSacrificing 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?

But, as the number of missing rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way.  Steely and determined Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

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.

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Where is this blog going next? Watch out for the next post, which will appear on this very blog as soon as I’ve worked out the answer to that question.

 

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
Messandrierre
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,
Jacques

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.