Fini! Well, for this year. I understand Ms. Black is pretty reliable and produces a book roughly every 12 months, but what I mean is that I set out to read all the books in the Aimee Leduc Investigations series as part of my Cannonball Read. Mission accomplished.
What did I learn? Perhaps barreling through an entire series of any length, binge-watching-media-content-style isn’t the best idea. When the stories and writing are engaging and insightful and fun it’s a breeze. When the quality falls off or an odious character dominates a book, then it can be a grim slog. Also, genre fiction can have its formulas and limitations which become glaringly obvious if you are reading the books back to back. Still, I’m not sorry I did it.
In this book, released earlier this month, Aimee is easing back into work six months after giving birth to her daughter, Chloe. She starts with an easy surveillance job, but in true form, she is still late for her daughter’s christening, hoping the burp cloth and not her vintage Courreges, got all the pureed aubergine. With her friend Martine as godmother and her partner Rene as godfather, Aimee stands at the altar under the watchful eye of her godfather Morbier and some of her papa’s former colleagues. Just as the ceremony gets under way, Melac, her estranged lover and Chloe’s father makes a breathless entrance, with a new woman in tow. They haven’t spoken in six months and Aimee is incensed that Melac has the nerve to show up unannounced. After the christening, Melac announces his intent to have his name placed on the baby’s birth certificate as father and sue for joint custody. Naturally, tempers flare and they are all summarily ejected from the church by the priest.
On the way home, Aimee is accosted by a young manouche, a gypsy. He claims that his mother is dying and needs to tell Aimee something about her father. They must leave for the hospital immediately. He presents a worn Leduc Detective business card with “Always come for help. Anytime, Anyplace” written in her papa’s hand on the opposite side. Naturally against all advice from Rene and Morbier, she sets out to see if this woman does indeed know anything about her father’s death in a bombing at the Place Vendome. When she arrives at the hospital, the woman has been kidnapped. Her chance to learn anything is gone or at the very least, out of reach once again.
This tale brings more of the mystery of her father’s death, the police corruption that he may or may not have had a part in and Morbier’s role in it all into better focus. The mystery and subsequent murders are directly tied to it and each new revelation has Aimee reeling. On top of that she is fighting for the custody of her daughter and each time she puts herself into danger, she jeopardizes her bid for sole custody. The book races to a heart-pounding cliff-hanger and I’m just a little bit sad that I will have to wait another year or so to see what happens next. C’est la vie.