Wednesday, 15 February 2017

An interview with…

Gendarme Jacques Forêt from the village of Messandrierre.

AW  Hello Jacques and welcome to my blog.  Would you like to tell us a little about yourself and your family?
The Seine, central Paris
JF  There’s not that much to tell.  I was born in Paris.  My father worked at a large printing firm and my mother trained as a teacher.  I grew up in Paris with my sister Thérèse.  She’s married now and has two sons.  I joined the police in Paris and worked in investigation until I came to Messandrierre.

AW  So why did you leave your job in investigation in Paris?  Surely the pay must have been a lot better and why choose Messandrierre - it's a long way from home and very small?
JF  Yes, the village is a long way from home and I do miss my sister and the boys and papa.  I needed to recover from a serious injury.  Police work can be dangerous, you know, especially on some of the investigations I handled whilst in Paris.  It was Vuillard, my old boss, who suggested this area as a good place to work and Messandrierre needed a new policeman.  Everything just seemed to fit into place at the time.

AW  And how is the work here in comparison with Paris Jacques?
JF  Slow.  Very slow.  It's a very different kind of work, but there is less stress.  However, there is not quite so much enjoyment, in the same way that there used to be when I knew I had to resolve a complex case.

AW  And the serious injury you sustained.  Are you able to tell us anything about that?
JF  Not really.  It was a gunshot wound and I was on duty at the time, which is why I can't really say much about the circumstances.  The case still has not been fully resolved and there are no convictions yet.  Afterwards I needed some time to recuperate and it caused me to think very seriously about my role in investigation.

AW  It can’t have been easy coming from Paris to a tiny mountain village, Jacques.  How did you find the transition?
Lac Charpal
 JF  The villagers are very nice people…but it’s true, they all kept their distance to begin with.  I think, I hope, I haven’t made any enemies whilst I’ve been here because all I want is to do a good job and to keep everyone safe.  Yes, I have differences of opinion with some of the Farmers but that's it, really.  They have their faults.  We all do.  I think you have to take the time to get to know people and I know I have gained their trust now, but I think, deep down, I will always be the Policeman from Paris to them.

AW  You say you miss your family and your nephews…do you have any plans for a family of your own at some point in the future?
JF  Hmm...that’s a difficult question.  I would like to have someone to share my life with and I would like a son of my own…but…

AW  Are you saying there is no one in your life at the moment Jacques?
JF  Not exactly.  Just that it’s complicated.  I met Beth for the first time a year ago and I don't know if she will be back this summer or not.  But I hope so.

Eiffel Tower, Paris
AW  OK, my last question Jacques.  If you could bring one thing to Messandrierre from Paris what would it be?
JF  Le Tour Eiffel!!  It's a magnificent structure and when I was a child my papa told me that if I wanted to be a policeman I would have to grow as tall as the tower!  I haven't, of course, but I could see it in the distance from my bedroom window as I was growing up.

Thank you Jacques.  You can read more about Jacques’ life in the village in the novel ‘Messandrierre’, published by Crooked Cat Books and available as a paperback or in e-format using this link :


  1. Lovely interview! Makes me want to read the book.

    1. Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. It's always great to get feedback, so thank you for taking the time to record your thoughts. And if you do decide to read the book, I hope you enjoy it.