It gives me great pleasure to welcome author Angela Wren to the blog today. Angela is a Francophile and writes a series of detective novels set in the Cévennes, featuring investigator Jacques Forêt. Merle, the latest in the series, is published on 5th July by Crooked Cat Books.
Angela: Thanks for inviting me onto your blog today, Vanessa. Coffee would be great please. Black and weak is fine, thank you. Vanessa: Not French strength, then…!
… Over the last 18 months or so I’ve been busily writing book 2 in my Jacques Forêt series of stories. The book is now complete and I thought your readers might want to know a little more about it.
Merle, like its predecessor, Messandrierre, is set in the Cévennes in the south of France. The title of this story is a real French word, unlike Messandrierre, which is a corruption of the name of a real place. It means blackbird, but it is also used as a girl’s Christian name and as a surname.
Capitaine Mathieu Merle, was one famous, or perhaps more accurately, infamous holder of the surname. Mathieu Merle (1548-87) was a Huguenot captain who was feared during the religious wars in France. But he spent some time in Mende, the préfecture city of the département of Lozère. This city features in the story and is where my fictitious suburb of Merle is located.
In Messandrierre, the story followed Jacques as he unravelled a police investigation into the mysterious disappearances of travellers to the tiny village of Messandrierre. At the end of that story, Jacques had a decision to make and his love interest, Beth Samuels, had some serious thinking of her own to do.
Merle begins a few months after the end of the first book and…
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?
And here is a little taster from the very beginning of the story.
La fête des morts
It was the tightly scrunched ball of paper that captured the attention of Magistrate Bruno Pelletier. His trained eyes swept around the room, only glancing at the naked body in the bath, and came to rest once more on the small, ivory-white mass, challenging and silent against the solid plain porcelain of the tiles. He stepped over the large pool of dried blood, iron red against the white of the floor, and, with gloved hands, he retrieved the object. Carefully prising the paper back into its customary rectangular shape, he stared at the contents and frowned as he read and re-read the single six-word sentence printed there.
“Je sais ce que tu fais.”
After a moment, he dropped it into an evidence bag being held open for him by the pathologist.
All hallows’ eve, 2009
Merle is published on July 5th and is available for pre-order.
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Copyright © Vanessa Couchman, Angela Wren 2017, all rights reserved.