From Publishers Weekly
A small act of generosity leads to murder in Anthony-nominee Black's beguiling fifth outing for savvy and sensitive Parisian PI Aimée Leduc (after 2003's Murder in the Bastille
). Still reeling from injuries sustained in her previous adventure, Aimée agrees to help a middle-aged Vietnamese nun, Linh, by delivering an envelope to Thadée Baret. When Aimée meets Thadée for the drop-off, he hands her a bag of precious jade; soon after, an unseen gunman murders Thadée. Who was Thadée? Why did he give Linh the jade? Who wanted him killed? Once it becomes apparent Aimée is involved in something bigger and more dangerous than at first seemed the case (a government surveillance team threatens her; her partner, René, is kidnapped), even more questions arise. Readers may feel in the dark at times, and it's consoling to know that Aimée is often just as baffled. As usual, the author renders the city in dazzling detail. She paints an especially rich portrait of the curious Clichy neighborhood, a district made up of "Aristocrats with de la
before their name," and "immigrants with -ski
, or khabib
at the end of their names." Weaving culture, history and suspense, Black scores again.
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Aimee Leduc, the computer-security expert who can't seem to stay out of murder investigations that take her to some of Paris' rougher neighborhoods, is at it again in this fifth episode in a consistently satisfying series. Previous installments have found the intrepid Leduc working in various blue-collar and immigrant districts around the city (Murder in Belleville
, Murder in the Marais
, etc.), and this time she lands in a neighborhood, Clichy, in which Old World wealth sits jowl to jowl with a growing Vietnamese population. The murder she investigates--after a Vietnamese man is shot on the street and dies in her arms--affords plenty of opportunity to experience all aspects of Clichy's multifaceted personality. As always, Black seamlessly integrates fascinating historical material about both Paris itself and the immigrant groups in the story (the history of jade and its role in Vietnamese culture drive the action here). The mystery plot creaks a bit--too many blind alleys--but Leduc's irrepressible appeal and Black's signature ability to use Paris as a character provide ample compensation. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved