You are Inspector Gilles Maintenon of the Surete?
Some of your homicide cases are being explored by author Louis Shalako?
One of your cases is detailed in ‘Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery?’
Are you the hero of your own story?
I am never the hero, Madame. Standard operating procedure is to reduce risks as much as possible for all concerned. This includes the guilty as well as the innocent.
What is your problem in the story?
A young man is accused of murder, and what little evidence there is definitely implicates him and no other. But I did not believe him capable of murder under these particular circumstances. Most of us would kill, and justifiably so, to protect our families and our own lives.
How do your friends see you?
I have never asked. We remain friends after many years, so I suppose I’m all right to get along with.
How do your enemies see you?
My enemies see me from the wrong side of a set of steel bars or a police desk.
How does the author see you?
I think he sees me as an extension of himself…a useful tool, to misquote the Socialists.
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
No, but he tried very hard.
What do you think of yourself?
I try not to think about it too much.
What are your achievements?
Several hundred murderers have been guillotined, and many more reside for the term of their lives in new surroundings, partly due to my efforts as well as the efforts of my colleagues and brother officers.
Do you have any special weaknesses?
I have the romantic’s tendency to dream, which I believe to be incurable. If I run out of cigars, I can be pretty miserable. There are a few others.
Do you have any skills?
I am thoroughly trained in the art of detection and criminal psychology.
If you had not become a policeman, what would you have done with your life?
I have asked myself that question many times.
What do you want?
Perhaps it is a question of what I don’t want—I don’t want to die alone. In that sense, I am no different than anyone else. But in answer to your question, I have everything that I need…except love.
What makes you angry?
I should say that crime makes me angry, but that would be a half-truth. Certain types of crime are merely pathetic, and I have more than my share of compassion for both victim and perpetrator. What makes me angry, really angry? Violence makes me angry. It resonates with me. I could be like that all too easily. My job is to prevent it, or, when that fails, as it so often does, to bring the miscreants to justice. I have learned to govern my passions accordingly. Otherwise I would not be able to do my work. And, I think my life could have turned out very differently. This was something I only learned recently.
Are you lucky?
Yes, I probably am, but I never rely on luck. Hard work, clear thinking, persistence and teamwork are the key to success as a gendarme.
What in your past had the most profound effect on you?
My wife. Even now, I can barely speak her name without blinking back tears.
Was there a defining moment of your life?
I wanted to be a professional cyclist. You must understand the romance of the early days of the sport. I was very young. But my father convinced me to become a gendarme. It was a secure job, and the pay was the best I could hope for. My father had little schooling, and he saw it as a way out of the crushing poverty he had accepted as his own fate. He wanted better for all of us. My father was not exactly lavish with his praise. I can only think of three times in my life when he said he was proud of me. When I was accepted into the Police Nationale, was one of those times. He cried at the ceremony.
Is there anything else about your background you’d like to discuss?
No, not particularly.
‘Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery’ is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in e-book and print.