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Murder in the Latin Quarter (An Aimee Leduc Investigation, Vol. 9) Hardcover – March 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two weeks after Princess Diana's death in Paris in 1997, an illegal Haitian immigrant named Mireille walks into Aimée Leduc's office, claiming that Aimée's late father was also her father. Before Aimée can learn more, Mireille disappears, leaving only a cryptic note with an address in the Latin Quarter, the setting for Black's twisty ninth Aimée Leduc investigation (after 2008's Murder in the Rue de Paradis). At the address, an old building housing a comparative anatomy research facility, Aimée finds the corpse of a well-dressed black man with his ear cut off. The complex plot, which involves Haitian politics, history and culture as well as world trade and geopolitical corruption (not to mention Aimée's quest to discover if Mireille is really her half-sister), at times threatens to overwhelm the book. Still, Black creates an indelible portrait of a Parisian neighborhood as she explores how the past continues to collide with the present, with unpredictable and far-reaching results. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Black returns to two of her favorite themes in this latest Aimée Leduc novel: immigrants in Paris and the family history of her heroine. As usual, Aimée, a computer-security analyst forever entangled in murder investigations, finds herself balancing paying clients against freelance sleuthing, and this time the mystery involves a Haitian woman who claims to be Aimée’s sister. Is Mireille really the offspring of a long-ago liaison between Aimée’s late father and a Haitian woman, or is she somehow part of a scam connected to Paris’ Haitian community? The body count grows as Aimée follows the trail through the Latin Quarter and the Sorbonne to what may be an international scandal involving aid to Haiti. Black’s ability to combine the landscape of Parisian neighborhoods with the intricate politics of the city’s many immigrant communities is what gives this series its appeal, despite the somewhat formulaic plot structure. Aimée’s ongoing search for her father’s murderer and any trace of her vanished mother adds depth to the stories, and that family angle is heightened here with the possibility of a sibling. A solid outing in a dependable series. --Bill Ott

Free eBook Companion to the Series
The Aimee Leduc Companion provides a detailed overview of the characters and locations in Cara Black's Aimee Leduc Investigation series.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; First Edition edition (March 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569475415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569475416
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,494 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

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Lazy Day Gardener on March 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Murder in the Latin Quarter" is the ninth Aimee LeDuc offering. Aimee, the blonde Parisian detective, is approached by a Haitian woman claiming to be her half sister. Is this the scam Aimee's partner Rene suspects, or is the hopeful Aimee going to have a family again? And since this is, after all, a detective series, the erstwhile sister is at the center of a murder. A famous Haitian scientist has been murdered and his research is missing.
As usual, descriptions of Aimee's thrift shop designer creations and local cafes and side streets play a big part in creating the Parisian atmosphere. And it's that atmosphere that is the strongest element of the novels. The reader who loves Paris is given an opportunity to return and wander the streets, have a cup of decent coffee, and remember the sights and smells - some good and some not.
But to be honest, this is my ninth Aimee novel and I can no longer tell them apart. Aimee is chased by mecs [the poor bad guys], the rich bad guys are caught at the end, her clothes get dirty but she resourcefully finds others that look great, she persuades her usual sources/friends to help her out in her emergencies, her partner Rene tries unsuccessfully to get her to focus on the profit areas of their business but ends up risking life and limb to get her out of trouble.
I agree with a previous reviewer - it's time for Aimee to grow up. For a series character to retain the reader's interest, she has to change and grow. To age and mature and learn from her mistakes.
This is my last automatic Cara Black buy. From now on I'll wait for the reviews and see if Aimee is stretching a bit. I love Paris, but even Paris grows and changes.
But if you haven't read any of the series, by all means read. I suggest that you start with the first in the series "Murder in the Marais."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on May 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This series always provides an interesting mystery involving Paris. Aimee Leduc is surprised one day when she is visited by a pretty Haitian mulatto, Mirielle, claiming to be her half-sister. This leads Aimee into a wild series of events involving Haitian politics and at least three murders. Mirielle disappears, and Aimee is determined to find her and discover the truth of their relationship.

Despite warnings by both her partner and her godfather police official, Aimee plods on, seeking Mirielle and investigating the murders, placing herself, as usual, in all kinds of danger. These efforts give the author the opportunity to give wonderful descriptions of the Latin Quarter and its various institutions.

Written with interesting historical descriptions, and deep character portrayals, the novel is the ninth in the series. A tenth is in the works for 2010 publication, something to which we can look forward. Recommended.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David Island on May 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Compelling narrative it is not! Charming it is not! "Murder in the Latin Quarter" is not Cara Black's best tale by a long shot. It's a truly weird plot with uninteresting "scientific" substance about an obscure topic that never grabs the reader's imagination. The story is populated by strange and unlikable characters, many from Haiti. There's way too much breathless, contrived tension, running and barely escaping the flics or the bad guys, too many completely unbelievable near-death episodes, and too many just plain not-to-be-believed scenarios.

Among the worst subplots is the entire not-to-be-believed-for-one-second story of Aimee's alleged half-Haitian sister -- simply a bad farce.

The main problem for me was Black's apparent blending of - or confusion with - a detective story on one hand and a blah James Bond spy thriller on the other. She fails completely at this mix. Aimee Leduc is smart and resourceful (like Cara Black, no doubt), does sleep around a bit, and leans too much of friends when she's in a jam (half the book). While Paris is very interesting geographically, historically, and culturally, Black regales us with too many touristy descriptions, especially the overdone and terribly boring visits to the Catacombs of "Subterranean Paris."

Black was clever in tying the timeline of her story to the days immediately following the car crash death of Princess Diana, particularly in how Aimee used the panicked police department to help her (rather dishonestly) locate bad guys' van. Aimee's apparent amorality about absolutely everything is rather disturbing. She is hardly the epitome of an upstanding citizen and may in fact suffer from some sociopathic tendencies. And, what was that very strange and patronizing connection to the Haitians and AIDS?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terry B on March 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is always a joy to re-visit Paris with stylish sleuth Aimee Leduc. I can see the buildings and characters she describes perfectly in my mind's eye.
In this book, Aimee is visted by a woman who says she is her sister from Haiti and the chase never lets up from there.
But who is chasing whom? I found this one of the most exciting and intriging Leduc mysteries. My curiousity was always up and I delayed reading the ending for a few days which I like to do when I am really enjoying a book. I have read all the Leduc books and always find Aimee an interesting combination of chic and strength.
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