Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cara Black, MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS (March Publication)

I love this image of Cara Black with her newest Aimée Leduc investigation: MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS. This is the 15th in the well-liked series, and Aimée is at a critical point in her career and her personal life: She's a single mom to a six-month-old, struggling to keep her detection and security business profitable, while sleep-deprived and always late for everything (for those who don't have kids, here's the thing about it -- with each addition to the household, it's harder and harder to get somewhere on time).

MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS open in Paris (of course!) with the detective once again racing the clock, trying to complete a surveillance task and still get home in time for her own darling baby's christening. But what should be a sweet (and brief) event with little Chloé and a few friends turns personally menacing, with the unexpected arrival of her ex-lover, father of her baby -- and he's not there to reconcile with her, but to introduce his newly acquired wife, as well as a hunger to take custody of the baby.

Small wonder that the arrival of an important clue to Aimée's own past, in the form of a boy who is a French Gypsy, one of the Romany people known in Paris as les manouches. The boy needs immediate help for his mother, who's in a hospital, on her deathbed, insisting on revealing only to Aimée a secret about Aimée's own (long-dead) father. It's a dangerous secret, one with roots in the Second World War, the concentration camps, and people still living who have betrayed each other.

Black does a masterful job of keeping the threads of suspense pulled taut, and braiding this complex investigation that puts Aimée Leduc and her family, friends, and career at risk in two directions at once. No, you don't need to read the others in the series before this one, although it would help you grasp why this detective wears Louboutin heels while on stake-out and considers a vintage Courreges dress to be part of her surveillance uniform -- so you may want to indulge in the others after devouring this latest title. The series is cleverly set in the 1990s, so technology has almost no role in the detection, and a quick mind and open heart and a team of allies are the essentials of the job. From Soho Crime, of course! (March 3 release.)

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