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Murder in Saint-Germain: An Aimée Leduc Investigation


Murder in Saint-Germain: An Aimée Leduc Investigation

If I ever want to spend some time in Paris --- in my mind --- I have no need to do anything more than reach for a Cara Black mystery. Her series featuring Aimée Leduc is an absolute delight. Having never been to Paris, other than the simulated version at Epcot, I find it easy to escape there through Black's writing, which is so authentic I can almost taste the freshly baked French bread.

After taking us back in time to Aimée's college days in MURDER ON THE QUAI, we now return to the present time, which is 1999. It is here where we find the action in MURDER IN SAINT-GERMAIN, the 17th title in this terrific series, each installment of which is set in a different region of Paris. In fact, when you visit the author’s website, you can actually view a map of Paris with each Aimée Leduc cover hovering over the corresponding region.

MURDER IN SAINT-GERMAIN jumps right into the action quickly. The very first page details a beekeeper attending to his hives when he comes across a human hand sticking out from the hedges that surround the apiary. This death, later determined to be a murder, will return later on as part of Aimée's latest investigation.

"Similar to Donna Leon in her terrific Venice series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, Cara Black imbues her fiction with moral and social issues impacting modern-day Europe."

This novel combines two separate investigations that eventually overlap in a clever way. The first is when Jules Dechard, a well-known art history professor and critic, approaches Aimée about looking into his email account for fear that his incoming and outgoing messages may have been tampered with. The second situation arises when Suzanne Lesage, a Brigade Criminelle agent to whom Aimée owes a favor from a prior novel, comes to her in frantic fashion. Suzanne has good reason to be acting so out of sorts as she believes she has just seen a ghost. Not just any ghost, but one that looks exactly like Mirko Vladić.

This internationally feared criminal was responsible for multiple crimes against humanity, not the least of which included the rape and murder of eight-year-old girls. Suzanne swears that Mirko was killed in an explosion, yet the man she saw at a local Paris convenience store looked exactly like him. Aimée indicates that her strength is more along the lines of cybercrimes, but since she owes Suzanne big time, she agrees to look into the circumstances to determine if Mirko is still among the living and now in Paris.

Aimée finds footage that shows the individual in question, and he very well could be Mirko. She decides to dig further and finds out that the Serbian villain and his terror network are always one step ahead of her. When more deaths occur --- including the one found by the beekeeper --- it points directly to Mirko's work. Aimée now is in constant fear for her own life as well as those of her colleagues at the office, plus her infant baby girl, Chloe.

Aimée is continuously guided through this series by the sage wisdom of her late father. One thing he has taught her is that there are no coincidences with criminals, only mistakes.  When it looks like both of the cases she is working blend together, she begins to fall victim to her own fear. As members of Suzanne's team continue to get picked off one by one, it seems there is nowhere safe for Aimée to hide herself and her loved ones. The only choice is to do whatever it takes to stop the killer at the top of this deadly pyramid of fear before all is lost.

Similar to Donna Leon in her terrific Venice series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, Cara Black imbues her fiction with moral and social issues impacting modern-day Europe. In fact, MURDER IN SAINT-GERMAIN is chock full of these subjects. A typical Aimée Leduc novel has plenty of time to show off the beauty and civility that is Paris and all its bustling neighborhoods. This book is different in that Black has Aimée buried in a pile of issues so large that the narrative doesn't have a moment to breathe, let alone show off the exquisite beauty that is the City of Lights.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 9, 2017

Murder in Saint-Germain: An Aimée Leduc Investigation
by Cara Black

  • Publication Date: May 8, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • ISBN-10: 1616959002
  • ISBN-13: 9781616959005