Thursday Interview: Simon Retsky


– Now Mr. Retsky, you’re not very well-known. In fact, being a minor charatcer in an as yet unpublished novel, it could be said that you are literally a nonentity. Does that bother you?

– Not especially. I’ve never hankered after stardom. Small as my role is, I’m quite happy not to be centre stage.

– What exactly is your role?

– I run a small supermarket in Sentabour, the village in Provence where Magali Rousseau lives – she’s the main character in One Green Bottle, the detective. She saw I was looking for a part-time cashier and applied for the job, which I gave her. She looked a bit down on her luck at the time.

– So it was out of the kindness of your heart?

– Oh, no, she was clearly a bright woman, quick on the uptake. My fear was that she’d get bored – it’s hardly the most exciting of jobs, after all. But she coped with it very well.

– And I suppose she kept you up to date on the progress in her investigation?

– Not at all. She was very discreet, secretive in fact. Of course, we all found out afterwards she wasn’t a qualified private detective, which explained it. There was quite an outcry. What with that and the murder, it was a story such as Sentabour hasn’t seen in many a year. And hopefully, will never witness again.

– So you contributed nothing to the investigation yourself?

– No, I’d say my contribution was in helping Magali find her feet at a time when she needed to get herself back on track. She tends to have her head in the clouds, and it did her good to sit at the till – she said so herself. We got on well together. I’m a bit of a gossip, I must admit, and she loved listening to my stories. Well, I know everyone in Sentabour, of course. She’d only arrived a few months before and for her it was the best introduction to the village she could have.

– Any plans for when the novel comes out? A celebration, perhaps?

– I haven’t been told when it will be yet. Some time this year, but not for a few more months. When it does come out, I’ll probably just have a quiet drink with Magali and a few friends. And then get back to the shop. I’m happy enough just to have been included. She could have worked in a different shop altogether, and I wouldn’t have been in the book at all then. Now that’s what I call a nonentity!

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