Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Murder in Pigalle (Aimee Leduc Investigations #14) by Cara Black

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1602 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1616952849
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (March 4 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00F1W08MM

Book Description

June, 1998: Paris's sticky summer heat is even more oppressive than usual as rowdy French football fans riot in anticipation of the World Cup. Private Investigator Aimée Leduc has been trying to slow down her hectic lifestyle—she's five months' pregnant and has the baby's wellbeing to think about now. But then disaster strikes close to home. A serial rapist has been terrorizing Paris's Pigalle neighborhood, following teenage girls home and attacking them in their own houses. It is sad and frightening but has nothing to do with Aimée—until Zazie, the 13-year-old daughter of the proprietor of Aimée's favorite café, disappears. The police aren't mobilizing quickly enough, and when Zazie's desperate parents approach Aimée for help, she knows she couldn't say no even if she wanted to.

Praise for Murder in Pigalle
"The stylish sleuth in Cara Black’s blithe mysteries set in Paris, is making an odd fashion statement in Murder in Pigalle—ill-fitting frocks and low heels. Almost six months pregnant and showing it... But once the investigation takes a detour into the cavernous sewers of the city, she proves she can still find her way home in the dark."
—New York Times Book Review

"Leduc is a refreshing and entertaining guide to Parisian neighborhoods and cultures, especially those that well-established tourist routes typically pass by. Let’s hope she never runs out of districts to scoot around in."
—The Seattle Times

"Chic and utterly charming... This book has a darker tone than earlier ones in the series, but it still has Black's distinctive flair."
Carole E. Barrowman, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"One tough mother-to-be...The treasured Aimée Leduc series keeps to the high standard of the series while nicely deepening Aimée as a character and leading her in a new direction."
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

"The combination of vividly evoked Parisian neighborhoods and a bewitching, stylish heroine continues to make this series as tasty as a chunk of French chocolate."

"Even an unplanned pregnancy can’t slow down Paris detective Aimée Leduc... Black's 14th shows Aimée just as determined as ever to live life on her own terms and stand up for those who can’t."
—Kirkus Reviews
"Of all the books in this series that I've read, Murder in Pigalle is the strongest. I can't wait to see what Cara Black has in store for us next."  
—Kittling Books

"If you have followed this series and its central characters you'll not want to miss this latest installment. On the other hand, if you enjoy atmospheric suspense stories with exotic settings and characters and haven't yet followed Aimee Leduc around Paris, this might be the perfect time to do so."

Praise for the Aimée Leduc series

"Transcendently, seductively, irresistibly French."
—Alan Furst

"Wry, complex, sophisticated, intensely Parisian ... One of the very best heroines in crime fiction today."
—Lee Child
"So authentic you can practically smell the fresh baguettes and coffee."
—Val McDermid

“[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

Excerpt from Amazon © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Paris, June 1998. Monday, 1:15 P.M.

Stepping into the shadowed cool of Passage Verdeau, Aimée Leduc welcomed the reprieve from the late-June heat—but not the barrel of the Uzi blocking her way. Stifling a gasp, she clutched her stomach, felt a flutter.
     “Mind lowering that?” she said to the CRS riot officer standing in her path.
Dim light filtered through the nineteenth-century passage’s glass roof and onto the cracked mosaic under her heels. The smell of old books hung in the narrow passage, heightened the faded charm of the shop fronts.
     “Use the other exit, Mademoiselle . . . er, Madame.”
     What was disrupting traffic this time? Another demonstration? World Cup fever igniting riots? Pre-Fête de la Musique revels? End of exams? This week there was so much to choose from.
     She shouldered her second-hand Birkin bag, prenatal vitamins rattling against the mascara tubes and Beretta summer catalogues. “What’s the problem?”
     She blinked, recognizing the voice and the face under the riot helmet. “Daniel! You had training wheels on your bike the last time I saw you.” It was her godfather Morbier’s nephew. Fond memories returned of pushing him on a rope swing at her grandmother’s Auvergne farm. “Seems you’ve graduated to new toys.”
     “And you’re pregnant, Aimée.” Daniel smiled, slung his Uzi behind his shoulder and kissed both of her cheeks. “Never thought you’d join the bourgeoisie. Married, eh? Someone I know?”
     “It’s complicated.” She averted her eyes. Melac, her baby’s father, didn’t know she was pregnant. He’d taken leave from the Brigade Criminelle to go back to Brittany and sit at his daughter’s hospital bedside—she had been in a coma since a bus accident four months ago.
     “Still working, too,” Daniel said.
     “Cyber crime never takes a holiday.” Thank God for that, or Leduc Detective would be out of business. “Don’t tell me it’s the sewer workers demonstrating again?” A sigh escaped her as she imagined the choked traffic and tar fumes from the hot pavement.
     “Nothing so pungent,” he said. “Security detail.”
     Aimée’s eyes widened. In CRS speak that meant there had been a security threat, patrols and surveillance. “A bomb threat?”
     Daniel’s eyes veiled. “Nothing that exciting.”
     “Zut, Daniel, you used to play with my Lego. Spill.”
     Muttering under his breath, he said, “The powers that be
don’t relish the City of Light being tarnished by corruption . . .”
     But she didn’t catch the rest, as the commander barked an order to advance. His CRS unit continued forward, toward the Grands Boulevards lined by leafy lime trees. Their thumping boots trampled the fallen blossoms, emitting a waft of citrus.
     As Aimée waited at the bus stop near the Opéra, her impatience mounted. Shoppers and office workers filled the zebra-striped crosswalks, traffic clogged the boulevards and, comme toujours, middle-aged hookers plied their trade on rue Joubert behind the Printemps department store. By the time she reached her office building on rue du Louvre, a fine sheen of perspiration dotted her upper lip.
     The shaking wire-cage elevator wheezed up to the third floor. Fishing out her compact, she checked her lipstick then stepped out onto the scuffed landing. Leduc Detective’s frostedglass door was open.
     René had ordered new shelving for a wall module to make room for the crib, and there was a strange man in overalls tapping away at her office wall. Aimée stifled her irritation. All the baby preparation had become a bone of contention between her and René—like a lot of things these days. It was like he was the one having her baby—eat this, not that; exercise, don’t lift.
      Hot recycled air spun from the old fan under the office chandelier, and lemony afternoon light slanted over the parquet floor. She couldn’t wait to nudge off her peep-toe kitten heels, put her feet up and drink something cold. Shuffling noises came from the rear.
     A head of curly red hair popped up from behind Aimée’s desk. It belonged to Zazie, the thirteen-year-old daughter of the café owners on the corner. A worried look shone in Zazie’s eyes. “René’s gone to the tax office, Aimée. Said you should start praying.”
     Aimée groaned. René had spent all last night calculating their revenue. If they didn’t figure something out quickly they’d have to pay a penalty—with what money, she didn’t know. The curse of the last week in June!
     The worker in overalls set his hammer down by their printer.
“Tell Monsieur Friant I’ve taken the measurements,” he said as
he left. “Delivery tomorrow.”
     She could do with an iced espresso right now. And taking
a load off her feet. The hottest June in years! She caught her
     “Are you all right, Aimée?” asked Zazie, her eyes big.
     “Fine.” She let herself down into René’s ergonomic chair and kicked off her heels. The cold wood floor chilled her feet. Almost six months pregnant and still nausea in the morning. “Wait une petite seconde. Why aren’t you in class?”
     Zazie played with the red tassel on her backpack’s zipper, averted her gaze.
     “What’s wrong, Zazie?”
     When she met Aimée’s eyes, her lip quivered. “Mélanie, a girl in my school, was . . . attacked.”
     “Attacked?” Concerned, Aimée took Zazie’s hand. “Sit down. Tell me what happened.”
     Zazie took a school binder labeled Suspect W and pulled out a newspaper clipping. The headline read, Twelve-yearold Lycée student sexually assaulted in home after school.
     Aimée blinked, horrified. “What is Suspect W? Is this some grotesque class project? I don’t understand.”
     “Mélanie’s not the first.” Zazie’s voice quavered. “She’s in the clinic, but she told me things, terrible things.”
     “This is your friend, in the article?” Aimée shuddered. “Zazie, how frightening . . .”
     “Not just frightening. But . . .” Zazie hesitated. “There’s more.” She showed Aimée another clipping, dated from last December. Twelve-year-old victim of brutal sexual assault discovered by parents. “It must be the same person,” Zazie said. “Shouldn’t someone do something to stop it, Aimée?”
     “But you don’t know they’re related,” Aimée said, although her mind was turning. A serial rapist preying on young girls?
     Her skin prickled as she remembered that long-ago afternoon, a hot, humid June just like this one, when she was eight years old. It was soon after her American mother had disappeared. On Île Saint-Louis a man had followed her after school. He’d offered her an ice cream at Bertillon’s on the corner—she could almost taste the cassis-limon. But something in the man’s smile, the way he stroked her bare arm, had made her shiver. “Can’t I tickle you?” She backed away, ran down rue des Deux Ponts around the corner to the quai and into her courtyard.
     Her mind came back to the present at the rrrrrr of Zazie’s backpack zipper, which the girl was still playing with anxiously.
Two similar attacks in a short period of time, both on girls about Zazie’s age—one of them Zazie’s friend. Could Zazie be right? Could it be one man? Had the flics put it together yet, and if not, might there be other victims? Aimée’s stomach clenched.
     “You have to be careful, Zazie. Never let anyone follow you home.”
     Zazie chewed her lip. “I have to do something.”
     “Bien sûr, support your friend, she needs you right now.”
     “Don’t you get it, Aimée?” Zazie shook her head. “Zut, I want to stop him. The police aren’t doing anything. If they were, they would have caught him before he hurt Mélanie.”
Her eyes shone with anger. “If the flics aren’t paying attention, then I have to find him.”
     Not again.
     “Playing detective, Zazie? Don’t be silly. We’ve talked about this.” She strengthened her grip on Zazie’s hand. “Alors! Do you know how dangerous someone like that can be? You can’t take on someone like that on yo...
About the Author

 Cara Black is the author of fourteen books in the New York Times bestselling Aimée Leduc series. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son and visits Paris frequently.

My Review

 Love this series! Every year when I read the latest Amiee Leduc book I want to go back to Paris. Murder in Pigalle is no exception. I had not heard of the Pigalle District before which is an area in Paris around the Place Pigalle, on the border between the 9th and the 18th arrondissements. It is named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle. Most of the action in this book takes place in the 9th arrondissement.

Aimee is six months pregnant in Murder in Pigalle. She is not a happy pregnant lady! She complains a lot and the reader can interpret how unhappy she is adjusting to the changes in her body. She proves though that she desperately wants this baby...but perhaps not Melac, the baby's father. We all know Rene would be a much better father anyways. Aimee open your eyes!

A couple of stories intersect in Murder in Pigalle. A rapist who targets young female musicians is roaming the 9th. What is driving Aimee is that her young friend Zazie is missing and she is desperate to find her. This fast paced story takes place over a few days. Not a lot of mention of Aimee's mother in this one..perhaps the next.

Great addition to a wonderful series.

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