Once again zipping around the narrow streets of Paris on her pink motorbike, Aimée Leduc returns in the seventeenth novel in Cara Black’s popular series. Murder in Saint-Germain finds Aimée dealing with issues on both the professional and personal front.
There are two mysteries at play in Murder in Saint-Germain – seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum. First Aimée is asked to use her computer hacking skills to help in an investigation of blackmail and scandal at her temporary workplace, the École des Beaux-Arts. This requires Aimée to call on not only her technical skills, but also her ability to manipulate interpersonal relationships.
At the other end of the spectrum is a case that could have global impact. Her old friend Suzanne Lesage – who happens to be a member of the counterterrorism squad – approaches Aimée to ask her assistance in a very sensitive matter. It seems that Suzanne believes that she has recently seen a man on the streets of Paris who looks an awful lot like Mirko Vladić, a Serbian war criminal believed to be have been killed during one of Suzanne’s previous deployments. Aimée is not convinced until the mysterious deaths of people within Suzanne’s circle lead her to believe something much bigger is at play.
As if that were not enough to keep her busy, Aimée’s real struggles are on the home front. Her babysitter is going to vacation, so she needs to find a why to juggle her day job, these investigations, and caring for her infant child. Cara Black convincingly navigates the troublesome dilemma of having a new mother as a private investigator. Readers have to believe that Aimée would still do her job, even knowing the risks to this innocent soul. By giving the case global ramifications, readers willingly support Aimée in her decisions, while also fearing for everyone’s safety.
Childcare is not Aimée’s only family issue, however. She has still not fully dealt with the feelings of betrayal she has toward are Godfather. Aimée was shocked to discover his involvement in her father’s death and now that this man is laying in a hospital bed – suffering from wounds Aimée caused – she cannot bring herself to visit him despite encouragement to do so from many people.
Cara Black has an ease to her writing style that makes Murder in Saint-Germain – and in fact, all the books in this series – delightfully leisurely reads. Readers can easily imagine themselves pulling up a chair at an outdoor Parisian bistro for a cup of tea and a few hours of reading Aimée Leduc’s latest adventure. After last year’s prequel novel, Murder on the Quai, this new novel feels a bit like the start of a new phase in Aimée’s life – one that gives hope for many more installments of this series. Regardless of how stressful things get for Aimée Leduc, she never loses that sense of joie de vivre – not all that unlike Cara Black herself.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.