Friday, 27 January 2012

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapters 16,17 and 18

Résumés of chapters 16,17 and 18 - from the original French by Frencheuropean.

Chapter 16

Still single at age 46, Paulo Andreotti lives, as is the custom, with his mother. He is happy with his life and commits a lot of time to his investigations.

It's strange that, if the child was abducted, he didn't make any noise and wake his brothers. No trace of chloroform was detected by the forensic police. What were the cucumbers doing in the entrance hall when they should have been found in the child's bedroom or in the kitchen? Unless it was the child who placed them there before going outside where he was kidnapped?

He is going to re-interrogate everyone, check up on criminal records and alibis.

He feels some affection for Laurence, who reminds him of a former conquest.

He thinks of his best friend, Simone Cazzi, who never had a chance in life: beaten by his parents; born on a February 29th (a present every four years) and who, just when he was happy, having customised the car of his dreams, saw that car crushed in just a few seconds by a bin lorry. He hasn't fared very well since.

Chapter 17

Laurence, who has not eaten in four days, pushes away the image of Madec's body that surfaces from time to time, repeating to herself, "
I didn't kill him," On reflection, she concludes that "what's missing for the case to advance is a guilty party."

Her blood runs cold when Andreotti comes to inform them that the maritime brigade is exploring the coasts, searching for a body. She imagines the return to Granville in shame and sadness.

Andreotti also announces that the press is about to arrive to interview them and advises them to be wary.

Laurence, who flatly refused to begin with, looking offended, is quite happy however when Andreotti makes the remark that the press may be able to help in the search. She then pretends to be resigned to it: "
in that case, of course..."

That evening, she fears the worst when the inspector knocks on the door. He brings them a photo, that of a suspect.

Chapter 18

Ron Murdoch thinks of his past. A teacher in an English school in Italy, he had been sentenced to 16 years in prison in England for interfering with young pupils. He had pleaded guilty, regretting that the death sentence didn't exist. On leaving prison, he found a job in a bar in Leicester. He fled to London because a 20 year-old barman, Magnus, had fallen in love with him and he had sworn never again to associate with young adolescents. Magnus, however, found him and they set up home together.

To please him, Ron, who had just had an inheritance from his mother, offered to take him on holiday. Magnus chose Italy, in a quiet holiday village. Ron hesitated and then agreed. However, shortly before the departure, he takes on to tell Magnus everything about his past. Magnus, knowing everything, reproaches him for having, with that confession, raised a wall between them and he leaves.

Ron leaves for Italy by himself. At the swimming pool, he goes to the rescue of a child who is drowning. Later, he goes to spend two days visiting the monuments of Florence.

On his return, he is visited by the police and the inspector informs him, in a quiet voice, that he is the prime suspect in the abduction of a little boy: Madec Macand.

"Belle Famille," - by Arthur Dreyfus - Chapter 15

Résumé of chapter 15 - from original French by Frencheuropean.

Two days have gone by. Searches have turned up nothing: no one saw anything.

German Shepherd dogs were deployed on the ground, to the great consternation of Laurence, but since it had rained, they found no traces. They couldn't search the chalet, which Laurence had surreptitiously locked from the inside. She had scrubbed the floor and the skirting boards in the kitchen with bleach again.

The Josserands were only told the day after the disappearance. Sylviane and Laurence agree, with some regret, that a holiday is now out of the question. Sylviane suggests taking the boys back. Laurence reckons that the boys are a handicap for her. When they are around, she has to be strong, but when she is strong, she cannot cry. For the media, she has to be able to cry: "truth shines through the tears." And then, with their departure, the Josserands are also one less burden.

The site manager, who is worried about the upheaval caused by the disappearance and the consequences for the customers, is curtly sent packing by Laurence. Laurence then discovers, within herself, an unknown strength: "that which mothers gain during their pregnancy."

A regional newspaper, "France West," tries to contact them by telephone. Stéphane is quite flattered but he is brought into line by Laurence who tells him that it's enough with the police, that "it's a case of abduction," and that they are not going to recount their life for the tabloids.

To herself, however, she imagines the front page of the newspaper, the photos. She hears herself saying: "I insist that the faces of my other two children are blurred," The small world of Granville seemed suddenly quite shabby to her.

"For Madec, Laurence was seeing bigger things."