The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe.pdf
April 1990: French-Algerian judge Anne Marie Laveaud has been living and working in the French Caribbean département of Guadeloupe for more than a decade, but her days are still full of surprises—for example,the fact that every witness Anne Marie interviews grills her about when she's going to get remarried. She is only just starting to investigate the increasingly suspicious suicide of a high-profile environmental activist and media personality when she is pulled off the case. Is it because she was getting too close to the truth?
But the new case she's been assigned takes precedent. The body white female French tourist—only 24 years old—has been discovered on a nudist beach, where it seems the young woman was raped and murdered. The victim's remains offer no clues about her final hours—she was found without any of her belongings, and it seems she was dead at least three days before anyone spotted her corpse. What turned this woman's vacation in paradise into a final nightmare?
As always, the story of a murdered white woman has attracted the attention of international media. Furthermore, the economy of Guadeloupe, so dependent on the tourist industry, could suffer a terrible hit if this case isn't brought under control with some quick, impressive police work.
Praise for Another Sun
"In Another Sun, Timothy Williams takes us on a tour of an island we think we know something about, but goes deep into the true Guadeloupe as only someone intimately familiar with the place can truly go. Anne Marie Laveaud is a woman of sharp smarts and tenacity, and the storyline offers fresh surprises throughout."
—Sarah Weinman, editor of Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives
"Another Sun evokes an atmospheric Guadeloupe layered by witchcraft, vestiges of French colonialism, and domestic terrorist movements, yet grounded by the heart. An intriguing novel with a unique main character in Judge Anne Marie Laveaud."
—Cara Black, national bestselling author of Murder Below Montparnasse
“Fans of Williams’s other books and readers who enjoy their crime fiction set in exotic locations will welcome Anne Marie with open arms.”
“Williams delivers a saga of dying French colonialism in 1980 Guadeloupe—a story as convoluted as the racial strains afflicting he island’s diverse, contentious population.... Laveaud, despite a strong sense of justice, is buffeted endlessly by the strong winds of change that engulf one mere murder.... [A] tapestry of colonial misrule.”
“Another Sun is a complex, atmospheric novel, made all the more fascinating by Williams’ painstaking attention to sensory, sociopolitical, and historical detail, and by the author’s obvious passion for the written word.”
—Mystery Scene Magazine
"Another Sun is a distinct, involving, and entertaining addition to the top rank of crime fiction."
—International Noir Fiction
"In Another Sun Williams provides an interesting view into the politics and race relations of a small island under colonial rule.... Not everyone welcomes the ruling power and intrigue abonds...."
"A tale of envy and greed and sex envenomed by the inevitable racism of colonial politics."
“Williams captured the essence and spirit of Guadeloupe and its people beautifully. His story telling style is notably subtle, often requiring his audience to come to conclusions about crucial plot markers of their own accord.”
—Booklover Book Reviews
"Dark, gritty. This one is really interesting."
—Good Morning Texas
"The writing here reveals a veteran’s confidence and at the same time features an enthusiasm you might expect from an author much earlier in his career. The complex interactions between the characters are handled delicately and their feelings and intentions are conveyed in language both subtle and plain. This novel has restored my faith in the possibility of finding something new in a sea of the familiar. Highly recommended."
"You may think you know where this well plotted novel is going but Timothy Williams has some major and even unsettling surprises in store for you...and the issues this story raises will linger long after you finish it."
Praise for the Commissario Piero Trotti series
"Subtle, tense and gripping."
"A chilling education, a scalpel-sharp exploration of Italy's body politic. Timothy Williams knows the ABC of corruption—Andreotti, Berlusconi, Craxi—and is a convincing and compelling voice."
"Stylish and excellent. Those who like Dibdin will eat it up."
—The Observer, "10 Best Modern European Crime Writers"
"The ageing moody Trotti is a subtle and convincing creation; the other characters are portrayed with depth and sensitivity, and the Italian atmosphere is authentically beguiling. First-rate in every way."
"Williams' pared-down descriptions and staccato dialogue are a constant pleasure."—Financial Times
"Simple but stylish...convincingly Continental...[Williams's] plotting [is] impeccable."
"Big themes, lots of cynicism and the overall impression of powerlessness when faced with corruption....Timothy Williams is a major contender."
—Tangled Web UK
CWA award-winning author Timothy Williams has written five crime novels set in Italy featuring Commissario Piero Trotti, including Converging Parallels, which is part of Soho Crime's Passport to Crime collection. In 2011, The Observer placed him among the ten best modern European crime novelists. Born in London and educated at St. Andrews, Williams has taught at the universities of Poitiers in France, Bari and Pavia in Italy, and at Jassy in Romania. He has lived in the French West Indies, where he teaches, since 1980.
Wednesday, May 16, 1990
“You’re looking for me?” The woman was attractive, but her face appeared tired, the eyelids dark. There were wrinkles about her soft brown eyes. She placed a pile of exercise books on the table beside her handbag.
“Yes, I am Madame Dugain. I teach French and Latin. Your child is in which class?”
Anne Marie moved towards the table. “It’s about your husband.”
For a moment the expression went blank, devoid of emotion, while the eyes searched Anne Marie’s face. “I have already made a statement to the police judiciaire.” Madame Dugain drew a chair—a school chair with a steel frame and a plywood seat—towards her. “Several statements.” She leaned wearily against the backrest.
Anne Marie sat down on the other side of the table. On the formica top there were a couple of tin lids that had been used as ashtrays.
The far wall was covered with pinned-up notices concerning the different teaching unions. Beneath the drawing pins, the paper rustled relentlessly; the doors to the staff room were wide open and a mid-morning breeze kept the air cool. Through the shutters, Anne Marie could see a flame tree that had started to blossom.
“My husband is dead—isn’t that enough?”
Anne Marie nodded sympathetically. “He died under strange circumstances.”
“He was hounded to death.”
“I don’t think anyone hounded your husband.”
Madame Dugain shook her head. “I’d rather not talk about these things.”
The eyes flared with brief anger. “You understand?”
The two women were alone in the silent staff room of the Collège Carnot.
(Somewhere children were singing. In another building a class burst into muffled laughter.)
“I know how painful it is to lose someone you love.” Anne Marie held out her hand. “I’m Madame Laveaud. I’m the juge d’instruction.”
Madame Dugain took the proffered hand coolly, keeping her distance. “I really have nothing to say to an investigative magistrate or indeed to anybody else.”
“I asked the head mistress for permission to speak to you.”
Madame Dugain folded her arms against her chest. She was wearing a dress that went well with the brown, liquid eyes. A necklace, matching gold earrings. Black hair that had been pulled back into a tight bun. Her lipstick was a matte red.
“On Saturday, April twenty-first, three officers of the police judiciaire visited your husband in his offices in the Sécid Tower. They had a search warrant and they were seeking information concerning accusations made against your husband—”
“Everybody accused Rodolphe.”
“Accusations that as director of the Centre Environnement, he had been misappropriating funds.”
“My husband’s not a criminal.”
“Your husband received money from the government—from the Ministry of Employment—in order to recruit and train young people under the Youth Training Scheme. There were six young people working for him at the institute. Their salaries, funded entirely with government money, were paid into the Institute’s account.”
“I know very little about my husband’s financial affairs.”
“Your husband’s accused of employing two of the young people in his small business in Abymes and paying them with the government allowances.”
“I’ve given the police as much information as . . .” She bit her lip. “My husband would never have taken money that wasn’t his.”
Anne Marie touched Madame Dugain’s arm. “Given the circumstances, I don’t think any good can be achieved by continuing with the enquiry.”
The corners of her mouth twitched. “My husband and I were happy. We’d been married for seventeen years. You don’t think my children and I have suffered enough?”
Somewhere an electric buzzer sounded, followed almost immediately by the sound of scraping chairs and the scuffling of feet as the pupils left their desks at the end of their lesson.
“Just supposing that your husband was guilty of these accusations . . .” Anne Marie shrugged. “A fine—twenty thousand, thirty thousand francs. Not a lot of money—not for your husband.”
Madame Dugain flinched.
“He could’ve paid that sort of money,” Anne Marie said.
“Rodolphe was innocent.”
“It’s not for thirty thousand francs that an influential and well-respected member of the community decides to do away with himself.”
France Antilles, April 23, 1990
Mr. Rodolphe Dugain, better known to most television viewers as Monsieur Environnement, died on Saturday, April 21, of multiple internal injuries after throwing himself from the fourteenth story of Sécid Tower block in central Pointe-à-Pitre.
If the rumor had been circulating for some time that the police judiciaire were making enquiries into the Centre Environnement, the sudden and untimely death of Monsieur Dugain, one of the major and most respected figures in the cultural Who’s Who of our département, seems to have taken Guadeloupe by surprise. The shock can be still felt in the University, where Monsieur Dugain held a lectureship in natural sciences, as well as in the corridors of the RFO television station, where he regularly broadcast his popular nature programs.
On Saturday morning, three officers of the Service Régional de la Police Judiciaire presented themselves at the offices of the Centre Environnement. According to eyewitnesses, Monsieur Dugain appeared his normal, jovial self, not allowing his good humor to be affected in any way by the presentation of a search warrant. According to sources, he offered a drink to the three men. Then, while the officers were looking for documents and other information—the nature of which as yet has not been revealed by the parquet—Mr. Dugain managed to slip from the room. Once on the far side of the steel front door, he locked it, making prisoners of the police officers. Taking to the stairs, Mr. Dugain climbed from the third to the fourteenth floor of the tower block. On the top floor, he made his way to the observation window and from there jumped to his death, landing on a car parked on the sidewalk of the Boulevard Chanzy. Mr. Dugain died immediately on impact. The vehicle was badly damaged and several people were taken to the nearby Centre hospitalier, suffering from shock.
A crowd of onlookers soon gathered around the macabre spectacle. Yet again in Guadeloupe, the lamentable behavior of rubbernecks and passersby hindered the fire and ambulance services in the execution of their duty.
Mr. Dugain, who was a Freemason and an ex-secretary of the Rotary Club, was born in Martinique 57 years ago. He leaves a wife and their two children, as well as two children from an earlier marriage.
There will be a memorial service at St. Pierre and St. Paul on Tuesday at ten o’clock. The inhumation will take place at the municipal cemetery at midday.
“My husband is dead.”
“I need to know why he died.”
Madame Dugain raised her eyes. “Is that important?”
“You said he was hounded to death by the police.”
“The police, the media, whoever else—it doesn’t matter. Not now.”
A moment of hesitation. “You don’t believe my husband was innocent?”
“Innocent or g...