The Ninth Victim – Excerpt 15

‘For what it is worth,’ said Valjean, ‘ I believe that you are an innocent man, but who gains by attempting to place these crimes at your door?’

‘I can honestly say that I have no idea who could despise me that much, I admit it frightens me a little ….. That much suppressed hatred.’

‘The only advice that I can offer is that you see only people that you trust implicitly, be wary of strangers and try not to place yourself in harm’s way.’

‘Thank you, Alain for your advice, I will endeavour do as you advise.’

‘My pleasure, now I will take my leave, I have already taken up far too much of your time, but at least we are parting amicably,’ stated Valjean as he shook de Peysac’s hand.

As Valjean walked to his car, he wondered who it was that wished to involve de Peysac in a series of murders, it was obviously someone with good reason to hate him, but who?

That evening when he met with his colleague, Fouchet, Valjean outlined all the information that he had gleaned from his interview with de Peysac. ‘First I am totally convinced of de Peysac’s innocence, against my own misgivings, I both liked and believed him. I have no idea how this all fits together, but my gut feeling tells me that de Peysac is not the perpetrator nor the accomplice, somehow I see him as the victim!’

‘So, we are back where we began?’ queried Fouchet.

‘Not entirely, we have now established that de Peysac is innocent, all we have to do is find the person or person’s who are trying to establish his guilt.’

‘So, what would you like me to do, broaden our investigation?’ asked Fouchet.

‘I would like you to begin with the victims, I have a feeling that somehow the answer lies with them. Check if any of them knew each other and if any of their relatives made threats of any kind to de Peysac. Also any information you can unearth on Raoul Dupin, his interest in de Peysac makes me wonder about his own motives.’

‘ You consider Dupin might be a suspect?’

‘Not at this stage, I just think he seems a little too eager to blame de Peysac.’

‘In the meantime, I plan to interview the woman, she is not a suspect, but in time she may well be, if what de Peysac tells me is true and I have no reason to doubt him, there are one or two little inconsistencies that I would like to clarify?’

(C) Damian Grange 2021

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