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Murder on the Quai: An Aimée Leduc Investigation


Murder on the Quai: An Aimée Leduc Investigation

MURDER ON THE QUAI is the ideal novel for both fans of and newcomers to Cara Black’s terrific Aimée Leduc Investigation series. As this is a prequel, it is easy for anyone to jump right in without having read any of the prior novels. Regular readers of the series will also be in for a treat as they get to see a younger version of Aimée and discover how she got interested in the P.I. business.

Set in 1989, MURDER ON THE QUAI finds a college-aged Aimée in the midst of her medical degree. For those new to the party, you should know that each of Black's titles refers to a different section of Paris. A quai is an embankment path, and in this case refers to an area along the Seine. Aimée is fortunate to live in a 17th-century apartment that she shares with her father and sometimes her grandfather. Her father runs a detective agency, while her estranged American mother has disappeared seemingly without a trace.

It is only when the fall of the Berlin Wall calls her father off to Germany on a mysterious errand that Aimée is left at a crossroads. With a colleague of hers at medical school sabotaging her work and now destined for failure and possible expulsion, Aimée is forced to reexamine her life. Against her father's wishes to stay out of his business while he is away, she decides to answer a request to assist with an investigation case.

"Dive into this novel with the knowledge that you will have no better tour guide to the wonderful and exciting City of Light than Cara Black and the infectious Aimée Leduc."

A woman named Elise Peltier, a second cousin to Aimée’s father, is in need of help, and Aimée is anxious to step in during his absence. A month prior, Elise's father had been murdered on the quai. His body was found tied and bound with a bullet in the back of his head. The police had gotten nowhere, and Elise was eager to find out what had caused this brutal act of violence. Being new at the P.I. game and more than a little naive, Aimée takes Elise and her story at face value. We will soon learn that what Elise is not telling Aimée may put her directly in harm’s way.

MURDER ON THE QUAI spends some time jumping back to World War II as a group of French soldiers were involved in the disappearance of a Nazi gold transport in the French countryside in 1942. This theft had deadly repercussions that included the assassination of political figures and the deaths of over 60 innocent people. Could this act be behind the murder of Elise’s father? When another body of an elderly male is found murdered in similar fashion, it doesn't take a seasoned detective to quickly surmise that the newest victim was related to the first as both were involved in the gold heist.

Meanwhile, the mysterious mission Aimée's father is on in Germany involves finding his estranged American wife --- information he has kept from Aimée and never shared with her.  We find out via backstory that her mother had good reason for dropping out of sight.  Regrettably, the danger involved in this situation will shortly reach her doorstep in unexpected fashion.

Aimée continues to bumble through her first case and is hospitalized after being nearly killed by a phony cab driver who had intentions of taking her out. She is no fool, and it does not take her long to discover that Elise was not being entirely forthright about anything --- particularly her father's involvement with the Nazi gold. The trouble is she was sucked in by a family sob story and is now desperate to find a way out before someone actually kills her.

MURDER ON THE QUAI is a thrilling read that I hope makes newcomers to this outstanding mystery series want to check out the previous 15 installments. The ending involves a shocking and sudden event that fans of the series will expect, but others will be stunned by. Dive into this novel with the knowledge that you will have no better tour guide to the wonderful and exciting City of Light than Cara Black and the infectious Aimée Leduc.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on July 6, 2016

Murder on the Quai: An Aimée Leduc Investigation
by Cara Black

  • Publication Date: May 2, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • ISBN-10: 1616958081
  • ISBN-13: 9781616958084