• With

    Fils de personne

    , Jean-François Pasques succeeds Véronique de Haas on the Quai des Orfèvres prize list.

  • This amateur writer draws his inspiration from his daily life as a policeman and hopes that this prize will help to break the image of the police.

  • Interview with this former chemist who worked for fifteen years in the former premises of the Parisian PJ and for ten years has been a captain in Public Security in Nantes.

“It is both a great emotion and a tremendous recognition.

This award is a monument to me.

Jean-François Pasques, 51, is still struggling to realize.

His novel,

Fils de personne

, won the Quai des Orfèvres 2023 prize on Tuesday evening, arguably the most prestigious literary award for a French thriller.

The prize, awarded by a jury made up of police officers, magistrates and journalists on the basis of anonymous manuscripts, was presented by actor Richard Anconina and the prefect of police at the premises of the Paris judicial police.

An “extremely strong” symbol for this professional policeman who worked for fifteen years in the former premises of the Parisian PJ.

“This is my eighth novel, says this former chemist.

I published five of them with a very small publisher.

Then I climbed a floor with two mystery novels that sold about 2,500 copies.

But there, what awaits me is another dimension.

Winning the Quai des Orfèvres prize guarantees its winner a minimum print run of 50,000 copies from Fayard editions.

The 2022 winner, Véronique de Haas, has already sold

175,000 copies of her

red Muse .

“It's dizzying.

But it's also very pleasant, ”smiles the policeman, who has been working for public security in Nantes for ten years with the rank of captain.

"I don't need imagination to write"

Initially, Jean-François Pasques explains that he started writing for him, as an outlet after trying days of work at the PJ.

“I received a lot of emotions during the investigations and I freed myself from them a little by writing short stories in the evening.

It pleased a publisher, a book came out and, one thing leading to another, I continued to write.

His daily life as a policeman then fed his inspiration.

“When you practice this profession, you don't need imagination to write.

I had the chance to meet an inexhaustible source of characters, situations, settings.

Reality can be very surprising, whether in horror or in certain beauties.

I just have to open my eyes, take what interests me and bring added value with a writing job.


Son of Nobody

, in which an inspector tries to solve a crime and three disappearances by collaborating in spite of himself with a psychologist, is no exception to the rule.

“There are lots of little details extracted from reality, assures its author.

And the two big cases that make up the plot are cases that I experienced and that I transposed into literature.


"Writing gives another vision of the policeman"

If he says he devotes himself to writing "only in his spare time", Jean-François Pasques has not managed to hide his passion from his colleagues.

" They're up-to-date.

I have also received a lot of nice messages since last night!

But I always try to compartmentalize things.

When I'm at work, I'm the police captain.

I have to keep a cool head.

“Leaving the police station to become a full-time writer is not on the program either, even with the Quai des Orfèvres prize.

“I will continue to do my job with the same commitment and loyalty.

I make it a point of honor.

Writing is an accessory pleasure.


In the meantime, the one who is already preparing a ninth novel, hopes that this literary reward will help to break the image of a profession sometimes unloved by the French.

“Writing helps break the clichés.

It gives another vision of the policeman.

There is a certain sensitivity in words that is not expressed in the context of work.

This may surprise the reader.

It also allows you to get closer to the people.



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  • Nantes

  • Pays de la Loire

  • Polar

  • Culture

  • Police

  • Literature

  • Books

  • Paris

  • Ile-de-France

  • Federal police