Cara Black’s riveting 19th installment in her New York Times bestselling Parisian detective series entangles private investigator Aimée Leduc in a dangerous web of international spycraft, post-colonial Franco-African politics, and neighborhood secrets in Paris’s 12th arrondissement.
Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc is about to go onstage to deliver the keynote address at a tech conference that is sure to secure Leduc Detective some much-needed business contracts when she gets an emergency phone call from her daughter’s playgroup: Aimée’s own mother, who was supposed to pick Chloe up, never showed. Abandoning her hard-won speaking gig, Aimée rushes to get Chloe, annoyed that her mother has let her down yet again.
But as Aimée and Chloe are leaving the playground, Aimée witnesses the body of a homeless woman being wheeled away from the neighboring convent, where nuns run a soup kitchen. The last person anyone saw the dead woman talking to was Aimée’s mother, who has vanished. Trying to figure out what happened to Sydney Leduc, Aimée tracks down the dead woman’s possessions, which include a huge amount of cash. What did Sydney stumble into? Is she in trouble?
Set in 1999, bestseller's Black's gripping 19th Aim e Leduc investigation (after 2018's Murder on the Left Bank) opens with Parisian PI Aim e abruptly leaving a tech conference right before her keynote presentation on hearing that her American mother, Sydney, has failed to pick up Aim e's nearly one-year-old daughter, Chlo , from the child's playgroup. When Aim e arrives, she sees the body of a homeless woman being taken away from a nearby convent that operated a soup kitchen. Sydney was the last person seen talking to the woman. Aimee's subsequent investigation turns up connections to the Ivory Coast and international spies. As usual, Black takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of Paris, both the well- and less-well-known sections, and Aim e never leaves home without oozing style. Though the momentum falters now and then in the book's second half, a taut, well-choreographed final confrontation more than compensates. Longtime fans and newcomers alike will have fun.