May 14, 2007

Book Review: Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis by Cara Black

Cara Black's mystery novels are each set in a different neighborhood of Paris. Her most recent in the series is Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis (2007).The main character in the series, Aimee Leduc, owns a detective agency with her business partner, Rene, a four-foot dwarf who is a computer whiz. They work mainly in computer security and together they provide systems administration, systems management, and computer security to businesses, government agencies, and whoever else can help pay their bills.

In the novels, Aimee gets caught up in the lives of the Parisians in the different quarters of the city - the young and the old, immigrants and long time residents, people who remember the war and the lives changed by the war. As she solves crime after crime in the city, she also uncovers old secrets and ghosts, stories of guilt and grief, love and hope. Paris is steeped in history and its old buildings, even the underground sewers and tunnels, the river Seine, the cobbled streets all work their way into her interesting and original plots.

I've read all the books in the series and have listed them all below as I was impressed with the story line, the characters, and the novels' strong sense of place.

(Did I forget to mention that the main character has a bichon frise like mine? Aimee's dog is named Miles Davis, after the jazz musician. Mine is called Harvey though my sons named him Double-Oh-Seven James Bichon.)

Cara Black lives in San Francisco but travels often to Paris. and is working on her next Aimee Leduc mystery, which is probably also set in Paris. The title of each of her previous novels indicate the area of the city in which her plot is centered: Murder in Montmartre (2006), Murder in Clichy, Murder in the Bastille, Murder in the Sentier (nominated for the Anthony Award, 2003), Murder in Belleville, and her first, Murder in the Marais (1999).

Here's an interview with Cara Black done by crime writer, Peter Lovesey, for mystery readers.org's At Home Online. See http://www.mysteryreaders.org/athomeblack.html

Cara Black in turn interviews Shanghai native and mystery writer, Qiu Xiaolong, author of the Chief Inspector Chen Cao series, Death of a Red Heroine and A Loyal Characer Dancer. See http://www.mysteryreaders.org/athomeqiu.html

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