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Murder Below Montparnasse (An Aimée Leduc Investigation) Hardcover – March 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Beleaguered Parisian investigator Aimée Leduc has a couple of new problems: her best friend and partner, Rene Friant, has decamped to Silicon Valley, and, equally disturbing, Aimée is having trouble fitting into her vintage Dior. All that pales in comparison, however, when she receives a phone call from a Russian manwho wants her to find a lost painting and who claims to have known Aimée’s long-vanished mother. Any mention of Maman sends Aimée into high gear, and that turns out to be a very good thing as the plot strands start raining down on her like golf-ball-sized hailstones: the missing painting is an unknown Modigliani, a portrait of Lenin done when he lived in Paris, and its allure prompts multiple murders in the quartier below Montparnasse, where latter-day revolutionaries continue to plot and counterplot; Rene has his own crisis when it turns out his new bosses are crooks; and let’s not forget the Serb who is determined to kill Aimée and her friend Saj. Longtime fans of the series will turn pages frantically, hoping to finally meet Aimée’s mother, and, as always, Black directs traffic with panache. --Bill Ott


Praise for New York Times Bestselling Murder Below Montparnasse

The Strand Magazine Best Books of 2013

"Francophiles and mystery-novel lovers alike will devour investigator Aimée Leduc's latest outing, which takes her through the gorgeous if treacherous world of black-market art in Paris, as she safeguards a long-lost Modigliani painting."
Entertainment Weekly

"As always, with airfares so high, Black offers armchair travelers a whirlwind trip through the City of Light."
—Carol Memmott, USA Today

“Aimée Leduc, the appealing sleuth in this series...is always zipping around on her pink Vespa, carrying out some "quick and dirty" computer security job. But she keeps up a running commentary on whatever quartier of the city her work takes her to. Here it's the unfashionable backside of Montparnasse.... This unassuming neighborhood is a rich one for the purposes of a plot that hangs on a Modigliani canvas and involves Russian émigrés and Surrealist artists, including some who live on in legend.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

“[Black's] tone is lighter than in most other Euro-noir. After all, this is Paris....The spice in this tale, set in 1998, involves a long-hidden, newly stolen Modigliani that Leduc is hired to retrieve. Before she can even begin hunting, her client is killed.... Fortunately, Leduc has a network of loyal friends to aid in her escapades. Pity the knife-wielding villain who offends that infallible sense of style.”
Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

"Aimée Leduc is never less than chic."
—Adam Woog, The Seattle Times

"For those who love or long for Paris, Cara Black's Murder Below Montparnasse is an intriguing wander through the streets of the French capital."
—Noir Journal

"A breathless tale of double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses as the private eye finds herself at the heart of a century-old plot that incorporates not only the great painters of the avant garde but also one Vladimir Illyich Lenin."
The Irish Times

“Thoroughly and intriguingly plotted, as always...[grabs] the reader from its opening pages to its heart-rending denouement.  Further, the Paris setting, especially its Montparnasse locale, is marvelously evoked by Black, a frequent visitor to France.  A visitor she may be, but she writes of The City of Lights like a native Parisian.”
—Ted Hertel, Deadly Pleasures

"Brisk, engaging.... Another great Aimée Leduc read; fans will be intrigued by the new developments."
—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“Aimée [goes] into high gear, and that turns out to be a very good thing as the plot strands start raining down on her like golf-ball-sized hailstones...Longtime fans of the series will turn pages frantically, hoping to finally meet Aimée’s mother, and, as  always, Black directs traffic with panache.”

"Black is an old pro with a ear for language and dialogue and a gift for knowing just when to pop the next surprise."
The Denver Post

"As usual, Cara Black imparts her love for Paris. Here she vividly sketches the past glamour of Montparnasse."  
New York Journal of Books

"Murder Below Montparnasse is fast-paced, exciting and interesting."

"This series gets better and better with each book, and I can't wait to see what sort of trouble Aimée gets into next!"
—Kittling Books

"Dressed in black leather leggings, ballet flats, a retro-Pucci silk tunic topped by a flounced jacket, sitting on a Recamier sofa, her bichon frise Miles Davis beside her, discussing the latest case with her associates, dwarf-like computer expert René Friant and down-at-the heels aristocrat Saj de Rosnay, she can only be Aimée Leduc, the most famous private detective in Paris."
—The Baton Rouge Advocate

"Black’s writing is wonderfully evocative, making you feel like you’re walking on the streets of Paris with Aimee or ducking into a bistro with her. Even if you haven’t read any of the previous books, you can jump into the series with this novel without much effort, and with the reward of reading a wonderfully crafted and involving mystery."
—Suspense Magazine

Praise for the Aimée Leduc series

"Forever young, forever stylish, forever in love with Paris—forever Aimée."
New York Times Book Review 

"Transcendently, seductively, irresistibly French."
Alan Furst, author of Night Soldiers
"Wry, complex, sophisticated, intensely Parisian.... One of the very best heroines in crime fiction today."
Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series
"So authentic you can practically smell the fresh baguettes and coffee."
—Val McDermid, author of The Mermaids Singing

“[Cara Black] is on to a good thing: each of her novels is set in a colorful Parisian neighborhood—and there are a lot of them. The cumulative result of reading this addictive series is a sort of mini-tour of the city, as seen through a filter of fictional murder.... Leduc is always a reliable and charming guide to the city's lesser-known corners.”
The Seattle Times

“Black creates rich, plausible characters, giving them individuality and depth.”
San Francisco Gate
Brilliant.... Turn to the Aimee Leduc series for edge-of-your-seat action and intelligent commentary on the world and the past.”
“Cara Black never fails to bring Paris alive in each of the twelve books.”
—Murder By Type

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: An Aimée Leduc Investigation (Book 13)
  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; Signed edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616952156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616952150
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cara Black lives in San Francisco with her bookseller husband, Jun, and their dog. She's a NYTImes and USATODAY bestselling author, a San Francisco Library Laureate, Macavity and three time Anthony award-nominee for her series, Aimée Leduc Investigations, set in Paris Cara Black is the national bestselling author of 14 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara has received numerous accolades for her novels, including multiple nominations for the prestigious Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris--the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture--and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at such noteworthy conferences as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Hebrew.
Cara was born in Chicago but has lived in California's Bay Area since she was five years old. Before turning to writing fulltime, she tried her hand at a number of jobs: she was a barista in the Basal train station café in Switzerland, taught English in Japan, studied Buddhism in Dharamsala in Northern India, and worked as a bar girl in Bangkok (only pouring drinks!). After studying Chinese history at Sophia University in Tokyo--where she met her husband, Jun, a bookseller, potter, and amateur chef--she obtained her teaching credential at San Francisco State College, and went on to work as a preschool director and then as an agent of the federally funded Head Start program, which sent her into San Francisco's Chinatown to help families there--often sweatshop workers--secure early care and early education for their children. Each of these jobs was amazing and educational in a different way, and the Aimée Leduc books are covered in fingerprints of Cara's various experiences.
Her love of all things French was kindled by the French-speaking nuns at her Catholic high school, where Cara first encountered French literature and went crazy for the work of Prix Goncourt winner Romain Gary. Her junior year in high school, she wrote him a fan letter--which he answered, and which inspired her to make her first trip to Paris, where her idol took her out for coffee and a cigar. Since then, she has been to Paris many, many times. On each visit she entrenches herself in a different part of the city, learning its secret history. She has posed as a journalist to sneak into closed areas, trained at a firing range with real Paris flics, gotten locked in a bathroom at the Victor Hugo museum, and--just like Aimée--gone down into the sewers with the rats (she can never pass up an opportunity to see something new, even when the timing isn't ideal--she was headed to a fancy dinner right afterwards and had a spot of bother with her shoes). For the scoop on real Paris crime, she takes the cops out for drinks and dinner to hear their stories--but it usually turns into a long evening, which is why she sticks with espresso.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cara Black's thirteenth Aimée Leduc mystery, "Murder below Montparnasse," focuses on a priceless portrait that, having lain unnoticed for more than seventy years in a cellar, suddenly resurfaces. A host of greedy individuals are desperate to get their hands on this painting; some are willing to kill for it. Aimée, a private investigator, becomes embroiled in what will turn out to be a dangerous investigation involving Serbian thugs; Russian oligarchs; political activists; an elderly man, Yuri Volodya, who claims to know Aimée's mother; and a handsome detective who retrieves stolen art works.

Black makes good use of her Parisian settings and clearly has a thorough knowledge of historical figures, events, and locales. However, this is an awkwardly constructed and rambling novel that fails to generate a great deal of suspense and excitement. Leduc is an awkward and impulsive sleuth who, in her desperation to reconnect with her long-lost mother, rushes around like a bull in a china shop. Instead of devising a strategic plan, she improvises, with predictably poor results. In addition, Leduc's best friend, René Friant, an expert in computer programming, design, and security, is lured to Silicon Valley by an irresistible job offer. He finds out, to his woe, that everything may not be as it seems.

Thanks to its muddled plot, poorly developed characters, and sluggish pace, "Murder under Montparnasse" fails to impress. Most dispiriting of all, Leduc displays few of the qualities that make a detective exceptional. Aimée is determined enough, but she fails to interrogate witnesses and hunt down clues with the skill and finesse of a great investigator. The author redeems herself to some extent by staging a few surprises in the final chapter, but even they fail to compensate for the book's haphazard narrative, clumsy dialogue, and one-dimensional cast.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By eyes.2c on March 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
That Aimée! I love everything about her. She lives in an antiquated Parisian apartment and has a penchant for vintage fashion labels. I adore her fashion descriptions. Like her vintage black Chanel jacket, a signature affectation. If I can't have Paris at the very least I would like Aimée's vintage clothing. She chooses the wrong men, the right friends, and her wardrobe is always one that I'm envious of. Her love affairs fail, her personal life is a mess, she fights with and uses the police, she is determined and shrewd, a loyal friend and a great character.
When Saj and Aimée run down a mysterious man, Aimée has fears of Serb or Russian gangs being involved. Was the unknown Serb's death really a result of the accident or something more sinister? On the trail of a undiscovered painting of Lenin by Modigliani, bodies once more litter her investigative path. Meanwhile Renee has departed for Silicon Valley and glory where ambition and greed collide. Now Aimée is enmeshed in a dangerous case with only Saj to help.
Aimée Leduc has brilliant and creative investigative strengths, but at heart is a lonely waif continually turning towards the whispered mystery of the mother who abandoned her. Aimée's mother is a ghost on her psyche's horizon...
Aimée chases dangerous shadows and thugs around the dark places of Paris in high heeled boots, along cobblestoned alleyways, through dubious ivy trailing courtyards and climbs over broken down walls or zips around narrow Parisian streets n her trusty Vesper. Other times she might rely on her taxi karma to escape a tricky situation.
Aimée Leduc is a woman of dark secrets, capable of a honed single mindedness, and a survivor of tragic circumstances.
Her internal dialogue is always wonderful--wry, dramatic and revealing.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nash Black VINE VOICE on March 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cara Black's MURDER BELOW MONTPARNASSE is my first Aimee Leduc, but it will not be my last. I loved the complex mix of characters, but at times I got impatient wanting the story to move forward while stalled in the "guided tour" of all the backstreets of Paris.
Other details in the story were perfect as to Rene's problems with American amenities.
Aimee is summoned to the home of an old Russian by the lure of both money and vaque hints of his knowing her mother. Yuri Volodya wants her to locate his father's missing painting by Modigliani, but before she can arrive a man falls infront of Rene's special car that is being driven by Saj. Trying to dodge the man Saj rams a car that turns out to belong to Yuri.
From this point on things get worse as Aimee is driven to discover who tortured and murdered Yuri, locate the rare painting, find her mother, and stay alive as several factions are determined to obtain the canvas.
A good read.
Nash Black, author of SANDPRINTS OF DEATH
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Grandma TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Murder Below Montparnasse (Aimee Leduc Investigation) should have been a great read. Au contraire, I had to force myself to read this, despite the missing Modigliani. With very little in the way of a plot, a confused profusion of Ukrainians, Serbians and made up definitely-not-Russian "Russian" names, the text is littered from beginning to end with essentially meaningless and more-than-a-little pretentious psuedo-"French", a chore to wade through.

Grandma's $0.02 - Et Voila! Quelle catastrophe! Non! Non! (or is it the Nyet that magically appears . . . )
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