Thursday, 26 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 14

Résumé of chapter 14 - from original French by Frencheuropean.

The 'flying squads,' comb the surrounding area. Stéphane spends the night at the police station while Laurence stays with the boys.

At seven o'clock in the morning, her husband returns with Inspector Paolo Andreotti, who speaks very good French. Well-built and with a youthful appearance, he has a lopsided smile, which gives him a deceptively idiotic look.

They sit down in the kitchen while the police search the lounge. Laurence remarks, with interest, that there are too many people in such a small space.

"Laurence stared at the totally innocent soles of the police officers' shoes, which were erasing the traces of her secret." They were erasing the traces, which could have revealed the accident.

Stéphane produced an account of the events up to the arrival of the police. Laurence, practically shaking, says she confirms what her husband has said, but Andreotti comments that that is not enough and that she must relate what happened when she went back with the cucumbers, without her husband.

"When I opened the lounge door, my son was already asleep. I hugged him.
- What time was that?
- It was early in the evening: perhaps 21.15

- Did you close the door when you left?

- The front door?

- Did you lock it?
- I believe so. I wouldn't have left the children without doing that."

Laurence is quite satisfied with her answers. Not so difficult after all! Andreotti is perplexed: no evidence of tampering with the shutters, a locked door. In search of a significant detail, he asks Laurence what she did with the cucumbers. She says she doesn't know. Andreotti notes that they are sitting on a small piece of furniture in the entrance hall.

The investigation begins with the customary enquiries about the Macands' activities.

A photo of Madec will be posted on every public building in Tuscany before the evening comes.

In the course of the day, Laurence toughens herself. The memory of Madec's body slips away, little by little, like a little raft drifting towards the horizon. Stéphane, totally disoriented with sadness and worry, nevertheless reckons that his dear wife, Laurence, will never be the same.