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Murder in the Marais (An Aimée Leduc Investigation) Paperback – January 4, 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 212 customer reviews
Book 1 of 15 in the Aimee Leduc Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The initial installment of a projected series of mysteries set in Paris, this standout first novel introduces dauntless private investigator Aim?e Leduc. The French-American, whose specialty is computer forensics, is confronted with a seemingly mundane task: to decipher an encrypted photograph from the '40s and deliver it to an old woman in the Marais (the historic Jewish quarter of Paris). When Aim?e arrives at the home of Lili Stein to present the photo, however, she finds the woman dead, a swastika carved into her forehead. Thus begins a thrilling, quick-paced chase involving neo-Nazis, corrupt government officials and fierce anti-Semitism. With the help of her partner, Ren?, a computer hacking expert, Aim?e uncovers tantalizing clues relating to German war veteran Hartmuth Griffe, the Jewish girl he saved from Auschwitz, a French trade minister and other enigmatic figures. But the data Aim?e and Ren? come up with only takes them so far. In order to understand the true motive behind the killing, Aim?e must delve into history, confronting older residents of the quarterAwho'd prefer she leave the past aloneAand doing some undercover work. The suspense is high as she fraternizes dangerously with the enemy, even becoming briefly involved with an Aryan supremacist. Black knows Paris well, and in her first-rate debut she deftly combines fascinating anecdotes from the city's war years with classic images of the City of Lights. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although set in Paris in the early 1990s, Black's new series start harks back to World War II crimes. Private investigator Aim?e Leduc becomes involved when she discovers the body of an elderly Jewish woman whose forehead has been inscribed with a swastika. With the arrival of a German trade delegation, meanwhile, the existence of a powerful covert group comprising former SS officers becomes clear. Aim?e's subsequent investigation exposes the connection between a war-time romance gone wrong and the modern-day murder. Literate prose, intricate plotting, and multifaceted and unusual characters mark this excellent first mystery. Strongly recommended for most collections.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: An Aimée Leduc Investigation (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (January 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569479992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569479995
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,307 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 15 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Murder in the Marais" is a good beginning novel. It's descriptive, often intriguing in the construction of the Paris setting and characters. The plot has its moments, and the reader gets caught up in some very intriguing puzzles which inter-weave history, religion, and human passion.
But Cara Black has some fine tuning to do before she can become a truely good author. First, simplify a little. There are too many puzzles which are irrelevant, and details which don't add much to the progression of the story--fashionable coats, torn photographs, footprints leading nowhere. There are a clutter of characters, too: many of them enter and exit without making much impression or contribution to the story.
And finally, there's the heroine, Aimee. She's truely a superwoman: she can leap buildings, kick the heck out of some pretty strong men, and inspire some wolf whistles even after emerging from a garbage canister. She's good in bed, and great with computers. She carries her assistant, the dwarf, around like he's a rag doll, and she saves Paris from neo-Nazis. By the end of the novel, the reader is truly tired--of the convoluted plot, of the over-populated landscape, and of Aimee. It almost felt as if Cara Black was tired of it all as well: the ending came swiftly, suddenly, and without balancing out the complications of plot.
But in spite of those remarks, I will read another novel by this author: there's a great deal of promise in her writing and in her finished product.
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Format: Paperback
I bought the book at a university bookstore because I wanted something to read while waiting for my husband to complete a meeting with an architect and I'd already finished reading the book I had with me. Partly I bought it because of the beautiful buildings in the cover photograph (arcitecture on the brain, I guess), partly because I like mysteries, and partly because, like other readers, the premise intrigued me. Overall, while I didn't love it, I enjoyed it a lot. To say the least, I wasn't as disappointed as some were. While I agree with the reviewer that Aimee Leduc is a bit reminiscent of Stephanie Plum (without the bike shorts, Morelli, and Ranger to save her from herself), I disagree that reading the book was a waste: it wasn't.

It begins strongly with a very interesting question - how much exactly does our past influence our present and, more importantly, the present of those too young to know the past? Specifically, Black asks what happened to all of the Nazis who escaped, who blended into the Allied woodwork. Could they be around still? Could our lives' paths cross? What would happen if they did?

Soli Hecht, a Nazi hunter and old friend of investigator Aimee Leduc's father, hires her to decipher the meaning behind an encrypted Israeli military file containing half of a photo of a cafe in occupied Paris. Aimee takes the case reluctantly, not enjoying personal contact work, as her field is more computer related security; however, she is sucked in by a combination of financial necessity, curiousity, conflicted feelings about her late father, and the corpse she finds while attempting to deliver the results of her initial investigation.
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to like this book. I TRIED to like it. Alas, I could not. More ridiculous scenarious unfold in just one day of the narrative than should appear in the entire book. The plot devices seem contrived (e.g., Jew-hater discovers he's half Jewish), and the action laughable. The main character, despite all her swashbuckling chutzpah, could not hold my interest. The writing seems amateurish, and while I enjoy the Parisian references, they seem forced and gimmicky. I'm one Francophile who couldn't stomach it.
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Format: Hardcover
Aimee Leduc, the young computer-whiz detective in this terrific first novel, is a compelling creation: brave, confident, smart and street smart, great with a keyboard and a gun. Leduc finds herself engulfed in a murky world of frightened Parisian Jews, old Nazis, and violent young neoNazis as she tries to find out who killed an elderly Jewish woman in the Marais district of Paris. Black's portrait of Paris--both present-day and wartime--is rich and accurate: Paris was and is precisely like this. Her plot is deliciously complex and grips you tight. The characters in Murder in the Marais, even those we meet only momentarily, are well drawn. And most fascinating of all is Aimee Leduc herself, a young woman we grow more and more fascinated by as the plot unfolds. Leduc, who witnessed her policeman father's murder by terrorists, grapples with her private turmoil, but remains proud and capable. I enjoyed her complexity: defending friends, hacking into Interpol, seducing a handsome thug, downing a vicious attacker, and, of course, escaping danger dressed in the latest Issey Miyake. By the satisfying end of Murder in the Marais, I found myself hooked on Aimee Leduc, and I very eagerly await more adventures of this terrific new detective.
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Format: Paperback
Pretty nifty series debut set in the old Jewish quarter of Paris. PI Aimée Leduc is unbelievably tough, occasionally foolish, and sometimes weak willed over the course of this mystery which involves events concerning the Nazi occupation, collaborators, survivors, modern day neo-Nazis, and a somewhat unclear EU agreement. The atmosphere is excellent, and the mystery pretty solid, although it's a shade too fantastical for my taste, with too many coincidences and the unmasked villain at the end is kind of unlikely. And despite the premise that the hero and her dwarf partner (Why a dwarf? smacks of trying to be clever in a throwaway manner.) are computer security experts, I found many of the computer hi-jinks unlikely at best, and a weak way of advancing the plot. The other main flaw was that there were a number of French errors throughout, which is a pretty silly mistake to make in a book set in France. Those minor caveats aside, it's a pretty strong mystery that will make you want to visit the Marais on your next trip to Paris.
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