Title: Murder in the Marais
Author: Cara Black
Publisher: Soho Crime, 2003
Paperback, 360 pages
Genre: Private Investigator, #1 Aimée Leduc mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
First Line: Aimée Leduc felt his presence before she saw him.
Aimée Leduc lives in an inconvenient apartment in an ideal location (an island in the River Seine in Paris), and she's a private investigator specializing in computer forensics. She has an apparently mundane task: decipher an encrypted photograph from the 1940s and deliver it to an old woman living in the Marais, the historic Jewish quarter of Paris. When Aimée tries to deliver the photo, she finds the woman dead, a swastika carved in her forehead.
With the help of her partner, René, Aimée uncovers clues relating to a German war veteran, the Jewish girl he saved from Auschwitz, and other shadowy figures. In order to understand the real motive behind the killing, Aimée has to question reluctant older residents of the Marais and to go undercover in an Aryan supremacist group.
I loved reading this book for its bringing Paris to life, and for Black's inclusion of fascinating tidbits like this:
He referred to white and brown sugar, the metaphor for right-wing conservatives and leftist socialists. She knew that in many households political leanings were identified by the kind of sugar sitting in sugar bowls.
The plot line involving World War II collaborators was fascinating, and although I didn't feel as though I had a very good sense of Aimée or her partner René, I look forward to learning more about them as I read more of this series.