The Ninth Victim – Excerpt 29

‘ Detective Inspector Valjean, I am glad that we got here in time, your colleague Sergeant Fouchet was most insistent that we came with all haste. He seemed to think that you could be in a dangerous situation.

‘ My thanks to you and your colleagues, and of course, Fouchet, who I will thank in person, but how did you know where to find me?’

‘ I hate to admit it, but since you arrived in Carcassone I have had a tracker installed in your car. i had heard of your reputation as an honest officer, I also suspected Raoul Dupin but he was my superior and did his level best to keep me in the dark about his activities. But like you, I had belief in de Peysac and very little faith in my superior. As you can imagine I was overjoyed when I found that you were coming to oversee the investigation.’

‘But why all the secrecy, why not put me in the picture and allow me to decide?’

‘I know Dupin and the steps he is prepared to take to cover his tracks, this way you could work un hindered and I and my colleagues would have your back.’

‘You will hear no complaints from me, your timing was perfect.’

‘My name is Etienne Dubois, I am or was, Raoul Dupin’s deputy, I was just an officer when Pierre gave himself up and admitted to the crime that he had committed. I have never seen a man so ashamed of what he had done and so determined to take his punishment like a man. I have to admit that I was impressed by his honesty.#

‘Dubois? are you related?’ queried Valjean.

‘ I am Pierre’s cousin, Dupin is not the only one with relatives. I was ordered to take no part in the ensuing investigation, but when I was promoted I went through the files and discovered that my cousin at Dupin’s instigation had received the highest possible sentence and so I decided as a consequence to get involved in the investigation of the murders that followed Pierre’s release. There were other officers involved too, Dupin may be Prefect but he is neither liked nor respected.’

‘Well it would seem that you have all the evidence that you need to convict him, if you take my advice you will lean on Bruno, to my way of thinking he is the weak link in the chain. There is no doubt in my mind that Raoul Dupin is the killer, who would suspect the Prefect of Police?’

‘Only the majority of his subordinates, but getting the evidence was another story. But thanks to you and your colleague we now have a cast iron case against him and his relatives.’

Pierre Dubois, now dressed and cleaned up from his ordeal at the hands of Bruno, came up to Valjean and offered his hand, ‘Thank you! for saving my life and having belief in me, when all the evidence said different.’

Vajean smiled and said, ‘ You convinced me, now you have to convince others and lay the guilt where it really belongs.’


(C) Damian Grange 2021

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