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Seattle Times Review of Murder in Passy 3/17/11
SF Chronicle review 3/20/11
Boston Globe 3/28/10 Book Review section
New York Times Book Review Section 3/14/2010
Forever young, forever stylish, forever in love with Paris — forever Aimée.
featured author on Redroom
“The ninth mystery in Cara Black’s irresistible series set in Paris …
might well be the book we’ve been waiting for. Aimée Leduc, Black’s
adorably punkish sleuth, is in her element…one of this colorful
series’s most scenic itineraries.”—New York Times Book Review
SF Chronicle review
Cara Black featured on Amazon Kindle Mystery Page and her Q&A on
the Kindle Blog
Jen’s Jewels blog Hartford County Library and interview
Murder in the Latin Quarter in USA Today, NYTimes, Entertainment Weekly
Shelf Awareness Book Brahmin daily enlightenment for the BookTrade
Play list for the Aimée Leduc Series
Murder most Parisian in 'Rue de Paradis'
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Murder in the Rue de Paradis
An Aimée Leduc Investigation
By Cara Black
Soho Crime; 305 pages; $24
Cara Black loves Paris when it sizzles.
Of course, as the readers of her seven previous novels about quirky-chic private eye Aimée Leduc know, Black just plain loves Paris. Her latest book, "Murder in the Rue de Paradis," takes place in the sweltering month of August, in 1995, when every Parisian who can deserts the city, leaving it to the tourists and those who can't flee. Aimée has to stay - she has work to do. And then her old boyfriend, investigative journalist Yves Robert, turns up. Against her better judgment, she sleeps with him, and to her astonishment, he proposes marriage.
But in the morning he's gone. Permanently. His body is found on the rue de Paradis. His throat has been slit, with a distinctive curling flourish at one end of the incision.
The police are no help: They arrest a suspect who dies in custody, but Aimée is certain that when Yves left their bed it wasn't for an assignation with the junkie street hustler the cops arrested. Still, the police are happy to consider the case closed, given that the force has more than it can handle with a series of bombings linked to an Islamic terrorist group.
Aimée's attempt to find out who killed Yves will get her involved with Kurdish nationalists, their Turkish opponents and a sinister Iranian hit woman. Aimée gets shot at, dislocates her shoulder, nearly winds up with her own throat slit and breaks a heel on her Manolo Blahniks.
Black, who lives in San Francisco when she isn't seeking out the pith and marrow of Paris, creates strong characters: Aimée is sort of a cross between Juliette Binoche and Angelina Jolie playing Lara Croft; her assistant, the dapper 4-foot-tall René Friant, tries (and invariably fails) to keep her out of trouble. And there's a memorable villain in the assassin Nadira, whose efficiency and ingenuity are matched by her fanaticism.
Black also crafts a well-shaped plot. Readers who are knowledgeable about the conventions of murder mysteries may spot Yves' killer early on, but Black introduces enough ingenious fake-outs and red herrings to keep us off-balance. And even if you guess who did it, the question of why remains - although there Black cheats a little, having withheld the evidence that might have enabled Aimée (and the reader) to figure things out sooner.
But where Black really shines is at creating atmosphere. Her pages are alive with particulars - the sights, sounds, smells, geography and history of the quartier of Paris where the novel is set. She makes the multicultural neighborhoods of the 10th arrondissement three-dimensional, providing more than just a backdrop; they serve as a framework for action, of which there is plenty. And even better, Black makes the setting thematically relevant. For example, while seeking to understand the conflicts between Turks and Kurds and Sunni and Shia that may have had something to do with Yves' murder, Aimée is taken blindfolded to the hiding place of an exiled Turkish novelist, the object of a fatwa. After he explains who the various parties to the conflict are, she is guided from his hiding place by an elderly Jewish man. Again blindfolded and swathed in a chador, she can perceive only "the pungent smell of sandalwood incense and what sounded like muffled Hindi coming from somewhere in the hallway."
When they pause in the old man's apartment so she can remove the blindfold and the chador, she sees a wall filled with old photographs: "Black-and-white snapshots from the forties. ... Now she noticed the yellow stars on the men's lapels and the women's sweaters, the uniformed Wehrmacht soldier to the side.
"Her throat caught. 'They worked in the quartier?'
" 'At Lévitan, next door. And at Bassano and Austerlitz, the other labor camps on the Left Bank.'
" 'Labor camps? I had no idea.'
" 'Few do. Under L'Opération Meuble, the Boches took skilled workers from internment camps: jewelers to repair clocks, artisans to restore furniture and musical instruments, women couturiers to bleach and press linens - you name it - all looted from Jewish déportés apartments.' "
Leaving his apartment, Aimée "kept to the shadows and turned right into rue du Château d'Eau. The streetlight illuminated a building plaque. Jean Cazard and Pierre Chatenet, both eighteen years old and members of the Red Cross, shot by Germans, August 14, 1944. Just days before the Liberation. There were fresh lilacs in a vase fastened to the plaque. She shivered and hastened her steps. The past clung to these cobblestones and buildings as if it were just yesterday."
Black deftly makes the history of the city resonate with the contemporary conflicts that swarm around her characters. And by doing so, she lifts her novel out of the narrower confines of the genre in which it resides. "Murder in the Rue de Paradis" is a page-turner, but some of its pages invite you to linger and reflect.
Charles Matthews lives in Mountain View and blogs about books and other topics at charlesmatthews.blogspot.com
Murder in the Bastille
is Ian Rankin's UK Waterstone Bookshelf Reading Choice!!
Starred Library Jornal Review on Murder in the Rue de Paradis
Bookslut Review on Muder in Montmartre and Murder on the Iles Saint Louis
Read what authors and Reviewers say about MURDER IN CLICHY
from crimespree #5
Cara Black's series is amazing. It gets better
with each book, each outing
fleshing out her characters more and more. With her unique voice she also
brings the streets of Paris to life right in your hands while you read.
Round this out with tight plotting and a story that seems to have it's own
power source and you've got a great reading experience. MURDER IN CLICHY
may be the best one yet.
After the events in the last book people are
a bit worried about the danger
that Aimee seems to attract. To help ease her mind and the minds of her
friends she looks to meditation. Of course nothing is easy for Aimee,.
Because of this pursuit of a inner peace she ends up doing a favor for a
nun, pretty harmless right? Except for the part where she gets shot in the
course of doing this favor. And that is just the beginning of what's in
store in this great book. Cara Black writes Paris like a native, and rights
characters like they are beloved family. A winning combination in a winning
Read what authors and Reviewers say about MURDER IN BELLEVILLE
"Cara Black and Aimée Leduc are to Paris what Sara Paretsky and V.I. Warshawski are to Chicago...delightful."
Stuart M. Kaminsky
.."Parisian PI Aimée Leduc returns in Black's atmospheric second look at the City of Light's dark corners...blurring the edge between mystery and thriller, Black makes April in Paris more spinetingling but more beautiful than ever."
"After a first-class debut in 1999's Anthony-nominated MURDER IN THE MARAIS, sassy detective Aimée Leduc returns (in MURDER IN BELLEVILLE), offering an intriguing glimps of Paris's gruff Belleville district...the suspense begins immediately...(Aimée) smarlty hones in to pull off a thrilling finale that nicely exhibits the author's creative skills."
Black's portrait of urban France is not only beautiful and accurate, it is also shot through with the natural tension of a country trying to juggle the ideals of liberte and egalite with a berave new multi-racial world.
Sonoma Index Tribune
Read what the Reviewers say about MURDER IN THE MARAIS:
"Combines an arresting World WAr II background with a fine Parisian atmosphere...gets the sights and sounds of Paris just right." Sarah Smith
"Aimée Leduc, PI extraordinaie, travels rooftiles and sewers, halls of power and electronic Webs to uncover the city's ugly foundations that continue to shape its present." Laurie R. King
If the cobblestones of the old Marais district of Paris could only talk, they might tell a tale as haunting as the one Cara Black spins in her evocative debut mystery, MURDER IN THE MARAIS...the thoughtful story uses the murder of a Jewish war survivor as a window on the still unsettled past. Aimée Leduc, the gutsy young sleuth who is hired by a hunter of Nazi war criminals investigates...related in flashback scenes about a Gestapo officer and the Jewish girl who loved him, the memories are sad enough to melt stone.
NY Times Book Review
This standout first novel introduces dauntless private investigator Aimée Leduc...a thrilling quick-paced chase involving neo-Nazis, corrupt government officials and fierce anti-Semitism. The suspense is high. Black knows Paris well and in her first-rate debut she deftly combines fascinating anecdotes from the city's war year with classic images of the City of Lights.
*Publishers Weekly starred review
An accomplished, absorbing debut whose matter-of-fact heroine can't predict the ways her simple case of multiple murder will end up end up entangling the economic future of Europe.
Literate prose, intricate plotting, and multifaceted and unusual characters mark this excellent first mystery. Strongly recommended for most collections.
The characterizations are strong, the action non-stop, and the evocation of both occupied Paris and the contemporary city is awash in vivid detail, right down to a tour of the Paris sewers. Most of all , though, it's the rough-and-tumble Aimée who gets this series off to an explosive start.
Cara Black distinguishes herself with Murder in the Marais...impressive debut...appeal(ing) to both the heart and mind...an extrememly good example, too, of what a mystery novel can do. Paris comes alive, beautiful, sinister and complicit.
San Francisco Chronicle