The Ninth Victim – Excerpt 19

‘Marcel is a close friend and an excellent writer, surely his eight best-sellers attest to that. I agree that early in his career I gave him a little help and advise but that is all, any success he has is due to his own talent.’ her answer was as Valjean had expected, a little defensive but not overly so.

‘There was a certain train of thought that suggested that the books were in fact written by you, but published under de Peysac’s name.’ Her face reddened, this time he had obviously hit a tender spot.

‘I am sorry!’ she said angrily, raising her voice, ‘But I take that as an insult to my good name and the reputation of Marcel, my friend.’

‘I too am sorry, it was not my intention to offend you, merely to speculate on the rumours that I have heard in certain quarters.’ Stated Valjean by way of apology.

‘Would you publish a story without verification?’ She questioned.

‘Of course not, that is why I am here, seeking the truth of the matter?’

‘I am sure that you have heard all the stories concerning Marcel and myself?’

‘Only in respect that you are friends, sometimes lovers and you assist him with his career, am I correct in my assumptions.’

‘As, you are interested I will set the story straight, it is high time the rumours were laid to rest. I had married young, my tutor at the Sorbonne. A man much older than me, but a man who thankfully for me, saw my potential. For a while the age difference was of no consequence, but with his encouragement I wrote my first novel. This novel as you know made me a household name, which in turn meant that I had to promote my product.’

‘Initially everything was fine, my husband was aware that certain aspects of our life would change. I was no longer his student, but not yet his equal. The problem arose because I was young and photogenic, the media loved me and the more successful I became, the more bitter my husband became. Neither of us were happy as things were, and having found fame, I was not about to give it all up. And so, we agreed on a less than amicable divorce.’

‘Did you know Marcel de Peysac at this time, was he the reason for your divorce?’

(C) Damian Grange 2021

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