MURDER IN SAINT-GERMAIN
By Cara Black
Publisher: Soho Crime (June, 2017)
Kindle edition: $14.99
* The paperback edition of this book will be released May 8, 2018.
An Aimée Leduc Investigation set in Paris (Book #17)
Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
Paris, July 1999. Aimée Leduc, proprietor of Leduc Detective, is staying closer to home now, taking routine IT security jobs with little risk attached. The hysteria of Y2K and the possibility that all computers might crash give her more work than she can handle. Baby Chloe is eight months old, and Aimée is dealing with the demands all working mothers face, including keeping herself safe for her child.
It has been ten years since Aimée’s father was murdered, the victim of corruption in the Paris police force. She blames her godfather, Morbier, who is now in critical condition from a gunshot she herself bears some responsibility for. She’s trying to shut out the past, refusing to visit Morbier in the hospital even though he keeps asking for her. She has also shut out Chloe’s father, who abandoned her when she was carrying their baby and married someone else. In neither case is she successful.
Aimée has a lucrative contract with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, updating its security system; it’s boring, but stable. While on the job, she is approached by one of the school’s professors, who is clearly distraught. He offers her a bundle of money to do what he says is an uncomplicated job: finding out who’s been sending certain emails. With Aimée, few jobs are ever uncomplicated, and this one is no different.
Suzanne Lesage, an old acquaintance who is an agent for an international group tasked with hunting down war criminals from the former Yugoslavia, seeks Aimée out with a plea for help. She claims that one of the worst Serbian warlords, a man whose death she and her team had witnessed, has somehow turned up in Paris. Her colleagues and higher-ups all put it down to her PTSD, but she swears she has seen him.
Aimée is inclined to agree with them, but she owes Suzanne a favor. She and her team scour the streets and businesses where the man was supposedly seen. Days go by with no sign of him, but two of Suzanne’s team die in bizarre accidents, raising Aimee’s suspicions that Suzanne might not be imagining things.
On the home front, Melac, her ex-lover and Chloe’s father, shows up out of the blue wanting to be part of the baby’s, and Aimée’s, life. She is suspicious of his seemingly noble request, not without reason, but she does allow him to baby proof her apartment.This is another stellar entry in the Aimée Leduc series. All the flavor of Paris, its unique and ancient architecture, the history to be found around every corner, the wildly diverse population, come through in vivid detail. The plot is intricate, with Aimée careening between different cases with perfect timing and fortitude. The blend of her detective work, the challenges and delights of motherhood, her mixed feelings about Melac, and her turmoil about confronting her disgraced godfather, intertwine in perfect harmony. As always, highly recommended.
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