Bethan Roberts’ My Policeman: its ending, explained

Bethan Roberts’ My Policeman

Harry Styles’ recent movie, My Policeman, is based on the 2012 book by the same name, written by Bethan Roberts. It’s a love triangle along with a homosexual relationship in times it was criminalized.

The article contains spoilers (for both).

What is the love triangle and how is the book set??

The book is divided into 5 parts, each told alternately by Marion and Patrick. They include the current times told only by Marion (1999) and the earlier times, 1957 and later, when this all started, by both.

Marion, a schoolteacher later on, is in love with Tom, her best friendSylvie’s brother. From that point forward, she’s written about him in her diaries and fantasised about him.

Patrick is a late 20’s man, a museum curator who is knowledgeable and charming. He meets Tom one day while filing a report on behalf of an old lady. Patrick was struck by Tom’s beauty, charm and his conduct. He too, started a journal describing his emotions, referring to Tom as ‘my policeman’ in them.

Tom, the object of both their affections. He’s around the age of Marion, served as a caterer in the Corps, then joined the police. He’s a sea swimmer, follows a set routine and loves his job.

Marion’s accounts about the past

From the very start, Marion had been very invested in the relationship with Tom. But there seemed to be no spark. In her accounts, which she’s writing as a confessional journal, she describes her fantasies about them, how she came to be a teacher and later, how she felt around Patrick.

The current times shows Patrick moved in at their place and being taken care of by her. Apparently, he suffered from a double stroke and in his late 70’s, when she found him. Something happened to the dynamic which resulted in this huge excommunicado situation.

Patrick’s account of the past

Patrick’s life as a closeted gay man was very difficult- to some extent. Especially in the relationship sector- which he had none of. In his accounts he mentions a guy, Michael, with whom he had an affair (or relationship) and who committed suicide due to balckmail by some unknown person.

With Tom, however, Patrick was wildly in love with. They got together on the task of Patrick drawing him as part of a project for the museum. Meeting at his office, then home, eventually led them being sexual.

Soon, the three together would be off somewhere or the other, having their own feelings for Tom, their own benefit from the meet-ups.

Marion and Tom’s honeymoon and revelations

Their relationship wasn’t exactly what she’d imagined. There were moments of disappointment which she suppressed. In some ways, she did have an idea about both of their feelings, but didn’t want to admit it.

It’s after her friend, Julia comments about Patrick’s sexuality and her getting to know both were going to Venice together does all hell break loose. So disturbed by these revelations coming to surface, she wrote about Patrick’s sexuality to his boss, anonymously. A secret which only her best friend Sylvie knew.

Patrick’s arrest, and the effect to everyone’s life

Some coincidence led to a false accusation for Patrick as sexually invert, apart from the letter. In his effort to keep Tom’s name clear, he pled guilty. His account describes his state in prison, later turning almost manic. All this time, it was Marion who came to visit once (out of guilt) and never Tom.

Tom didn’t even be near Patrick in the current times. Both Marion and Tom had friction in their relationship, moving into separate rooms, working at opposite schedules after the arrest. Something had broken.

What happened at the end? Did secrets get revealed?

She gave this confessional journal to Tom, pleading him to read to Patrick in his deteriorating condition. Meanwhile, she was off packing her bags, deciding to leave him. Before she goes out, she checks up on both, keeps a ‘today’ note on the table and that’s where the story ends.

It’s not revealed what their reaction to the confessions are. Not revealed where Marion goes, for how long. Does Patrick even make it? The whole plot excluded Tom’s point-of-view. Never do we get to know about his feelings. This ambiguity is both saddening and intriguing.

Talking to Vogue about the love triangle and the film, author Bethan Roberts said that for the book, she,”…loved exploring the drama of the jealousies and the longings, and the way in which they both create a fantasy of Tom.”