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The Tree of Liberty
by Nigel Baldwin



Nigel Baldwin - The Tree of Liberty

BBC Radio 4



"The Tree of Liberty" is the umbrella title for four separate detective stories set during the French Revolution. In September 1791, a new constitution has been proclaimed, defining France as a constitutional monarchy, a weak government (appointed by the king) and a strong assembly. The people are now for France, not for the king. For many, those days are long gone and good riddance.

It is during this time that Jacques Lacroix receives a promotion and leaves Paris for Amiens to be Lieutenant General in the Police Judiciare. His wife, Charlotte, is very happy for the change of scenery as Paris was a city in chaos and it was only going to get worse.

Jacques' new job is to investigate crimes and find criminals, though during these days of the revolution, it's becoming increasingly difficult for him to distinguish between criminals, agitators and counter-revolutionaries. But Lacroix's arrival is bad news for criminals and police alike since he has a fearsome temper unmatched even by those unfortunate bears baited on the Pont Neuf. Because Jacques is a great big bear of a man, sometimes he lacks something in the subtleties of expression.

To help him along he has a Sergeant called Georges Monet, 45, nine years his senior. There is no love lost between them, but as a new lieutenant-general in a provincial town, Monet is the best sergeant he could have because no-one knows more about the streets of Amiens.

Original music composed by Paula Gardner.

Directed by Alison Hindell in Wales.



1) 'Friends in High Places' (Monday 13th March 1995)

On a cold, crisp morning in December 1791, twenty minutes outside Amiens, near the village of Grisolles, the murdered body of a poor young girl is pulled out of the Somme. It is the body Simone Beauchamp, who was last seen the night before at the salon of Madame Giradoux where she was causing a disturbance, as witnessed by Charlotte, Jacques's wife. Charlotte was at the salon to eavesdrop on the conversation of two men in high places who happened to be there, Monsieur Robespierre and Monsieur Dupont. After the disturbance, Charlotte noticed Simone and Robespierre together, as if they knew each other. Could the great Maximillain Robespierre be tied into the murder? Jacques Lacroix intends to find out even after being warned off by his superior, General Roland.



With David Calder [Jacques Lacroix, Lieutenant General in the Police Judiciare], Brian Hibbard [Georges Monet, Jacques's Sergeant], Kathryn Pogson [Charlotte Lacroix, Jacques's Wife], Steve Hodson [Marcel Didier], Christian Rodska [General Roland], Ian Rolands [Antoine Dupont], Matthew Morgan [The Surgeon], Brendan Charleson [Maximillain Robespierre], Bethan Jones [Mme Rives], Lesley Rooney [Madame Giradoux], and Simon Ludders [Duval, a Guardsman in the Police Judiciare].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

60 minutes.



2) 'To be a Pilgrim' (Monday 20th March 1995)

An alleged conspiracy by the Pilgrims of Jerusalem sets Jacques Lacroix off on the wrong trail when he should be looking closer to home. In the meantime, he needs to protect the identity of the sorceress Madeleine Bonniface who is helping him solve what appears to be a ritual killing.

With David Calder [Jacques Lacroix, Lieutenant General in the Police Judiciare], Brian Hibbard [Georges Monet, Jacques's Sergeant], Kathryn Pogson [Charlotte Lacroix, Jacques's Wife], Frances Tomelty [Madeleine Bonniface], Steve Hodson [Marcel Didier], Christian Rodska [General Roland], Sue Roderick [Mme des Chats], Matthew Morgan [The Surgeon], and Simon Ludders [Duval, a Guardsman in the Police Judiciare].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

60 minutes



3) 'Health of a Nation' (Monday 27th March 1995)

A doctor is mysteriously murdered as the Reign of Terror begins. His son soon confesses to the murder but he's got an alibi, so why would he lie? Meanwhile, the English steal a painting by France's foremost artist and Lacroix's prediction about the king is proved sadly wrong.

With David Calder [Jacques Lacroix, Lieutenant General in the Police Judiciare], Brian Hibbard [Georges Monet, Jacques's Sergeant], Kathryn Pogson [Charlotte Lacroix, Jacques's Wife], Frances Tomelty [Madeleine Bonniface], Sue Roderick [Mme Elizabeth Dupre], Simon Ludders [Duval, a Guardsman in the Police Judiciare], Andrew Wincott [Antoine Ferrier], Robert Harper [Georges Dupre, Elizabeth's Son], Steve Hodson [Panchaud, the Money Lender], and Matthew Morgan [The Surgeon].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

60 minutes



4) 'Moon Conjunct Uranus' (Monday 3rd April 1995)

Madeleine Bonniface warns Lacroix that his astrological configuration means trouble ahead when he investigates the death of a young girl at a chateau where magic is practiced illegally. When her death is linked with a secret magical sect, the evidence seems to point at Lacroix being the murderer.

With David Calder [Jacques Lacroix, Lieutenant General in the Police Judiciare], Brian Hibbard [Georges Monet, Jacques's Sergeant], Frances Tomelty [Madeleine Bonniface], Simon Ludders [Duval, a Guardsman in the Police Judiciare], Bethan Jones [Madame Josephine], Steve Hodson [Challier, the Half-wit], Matthew Morgan [The Surgeon], Christian Rodska [General Roland], Robert Harper [Jean, the Stable Lad], Andrew Wincott [Michel], and Sara Harris-Davies [Simone].

Other parts played by members of the cast.

60 minutes

Jim

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