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.
From the Hardcover edition.
Set amid the madness of the 1998 World Cup final, Black's well-crafted 14th Aim e Leduc investigation (after 2013's Murder Below Montparnasse) finds the Parisian PI, who's five-months pregnant, ready to take a break and ponder her future as a single mom. Aim e has reduced her workload, taking mostly cases involving cybercrime, but the disappearance of 13-year-old Zazie Duclos, the daughter of good friends and an Aim e wannabe, snaps her back into active investigator mode. Further complicating the disappearance in addition to World Cup fever and a daring heist is a string of recent rapes by a serial pedophile that the police appear to have put on the back burner. Despite her pregnancy, Aim e throws her whole self into the mix, risking life and limb to rescue the girl. A strong sense of place and a deliciously twisted plot more than compensate for some stilted dialogue.