Where has Aimee Leduc been all my life? I read alot of European crime fiction and I can’t believe it took me this long to get to Cara Blacks series about this Parisian private investigator. I’ll be making up for lost time, getting through as much of the 14 book series as I can in anticipation of the 15th book coming out in March.
This tale picks up some months after the end of the last book Murder in Marais. She has healed from the plastic surgery necessary after she was gravely injured on her last case. Anais, sister to her best friend Martine and the wife of the Minister of Defense, calls her in a panic asking for help. They absolutely must meet. When Aimee finally gets to the destination on rue Jean Moinon in Belleville, there is no answer. She waits, then walks up the street, angry that she’s had her time wasted. As she turns the corner she looks back and sees two women leaving the building she had just been ringing. She shouts Anais’ name, who turns and raises her hand in recognition. The other woman gets into a Mercedes and starts the engine, then the car explodes. So begins Aimees newest case amid her own pain at the bad memories the explosion evokes. As she and her partner Rene painstakingly try to unravel this mystery we are led through the streets of Belleville, through the Ministry of Defense and the tense standoff with a group of sans-papiers fighting extradition. This knotty tale weaves the Civil War in Algiers, complex and dirty politics within the Ministry and a humanitarian group being used as a front for weapons being shipped back to Africa to a heart-pounding conclusion.
Ms. Black’s knowledge and love for Paris figures prominently, but it’s her clear prose and captivating protagonist that keeps me clamoring for more.