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About Cara Black
Cara Black lives in San Francisco with her bookseller husband, Jun, and their dog. She's a NYTImes and USATODAY bestselling author, a San Francisco Library Laureate, Macavity and three time Anthony award-nominee for her series, Aimée Leduc Investigations, set in Paris Cara Black is the national bestselling author of 19 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara has received numerous accolades for her novels, including multiple nominations for the prestigious Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris--the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture--and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at such noteworthy conferences as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, and Hebrew. Her first ever standalone, THREE HOURS IN PARIS, comes out in April 2020.
Cara was born in Chicago but has lived in California's Bay Area since she was five years old. Before turning to writing fulltime, she tried her hand at a number of jobs: she was a barista in the Basel train station café in Switzerland, taught English in Japan, studied Buddhism in Dharamsala in Northern India, and worked as a bar girl in Bangkok (only pouring drinks!). After studying Chinese history at Sophia University in Tokyo--where she met her husband, Jun, a bookseller, potter, and amateur chef--she obtained her teaching credential at San Francisco State College, and went on to work as a preschool director and then as an agent of the federally funded Head Start program, which sent her into San Francisco's Chinatown to help families there--often sweatshop workers--secure early care and early education for their children. Each of these jobs was amazing and educational in a different way, and the Aimée Leduc books are covered in fingerprints of Cara's various experiences.
Her love of all things French was kindled by the French-speaking nuns at her Catholic high school, where Cara first encountered French literature and went crazy for the work of Prix Goncourt winner Romain Gary. Her junior year in high school, she wrote him a fan letter--which he answered, and which inspired her to make her first trip to Paris, where her idol took her out for coffee and a cigar. Since then, she has been to Paris many, many times. On each visit she entrenches herself in a different part of the city, learning its secret history. She has posed as a journalist to sneak into closed areas, trained at a firing range with real Paris flics, gotten locked in a bathroom at the Victor Hugo museum, and--just like Aimée--gone down into the sewers with the rats (she can never pass up an opportunity to see something new, even when the timing isn't ideal--she was headed to a fancy dinner right afterwards and had a spot of bother with her shoes). For the scoop on real Paris crime, she takes the cops out for drinks and dinner to hear their stories--but it usually turns into a long evening, which is why she sticks with espresso.
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Kate Rees, a young American markswoman, has been recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris with a dangerous assignment: assassinate the Führer. Wrecked by grief after a Luftwaffe bombing killed her husband and infant daughter, she is armed with a rifle, a vendetta, and a fierce resolve. But other than rushed and rudimentary instruction, she has no formal spy training. Thrust into the red-hot center of the war, a country girl from rural Oregon finds herself holding the fate of the world in her hands. When Kate misses her mark and the plan unravels, Kate is on the run for her life—all the time wrestling with the suspicion that the whole operation was a set-up.
New York Times bestselling author Cara Black is at her best as she brings Occupation-era France to vivid life in this masterful, pulse-pounding story about one young woman with the temerity—and drive—to take on Hitler himself.
*Features an illustrated map of 1940s Paris as full color endpapers.
Aimée Leduc has always sworn she would stick to tech investigation—no criminal cases for her. Especially since her father, the late police detective, was killed in the line of duty. But when an elderly Jewish man approaches Aimée with a top-secret decoding job on behalf of a woman in his synagogue, Aimée unwittingly takes on more than she is expecting. She drops off her findings at her client’s house in the Marais, Paris’s historic Jewish quarter, and finds the woman strangled, a swastika carved on her forehead. With the help of her partner, René, Aimée sets out to solve this horrendous murder, but finds herself in an increasingly dangerous web of ancient secrets and buried war crimes.
November, 2001: in the wake of 9/11, Paris is living in a state of heightened fear, with constant bomb alerts and heightened ethnic tension. For Aimée Leduc, November is bittersweet: the anniversary of her father's death and her daughter's third birthday fall on the same day. A gathering for family and friends is disrupted when a bomb goes off at the police laboratory—and Boris Viard, the partner of Aimée's friend Michou, is found unconscious at the scene of the crime, his fingerprints on the bomb fragments.
Aimée doesn't believe Boris set the bomb. In an effort to prove him not guilty, she battles the police and his own lab colleagues, collecting conflicting eyewitness reports. When a member of the French secret service drafts Aimée to help investigate possible links to an Iranian Revolutionary guard and fugitive radicals who bombed Interpol in the 1980s, Aimée uncovers ties to a cold case of her father's. As Aimée scours the streets of Téhéran-sur-Seine trying to learn the truth, she has to ask herself if she should succumb to pressure from Chloe's biological father and move them out to his farm in Brittany.
When Anaïs de Froissart calls Parisian private investigator Aimée begging for help, Aimée assumes the woman wants to hire her to do surveillance on her philandering politician husband again. Aimée is too busy right now to indulge her. But Anaïs insists Aimée must come, that she is in trouble and scared. Aimée tracks Anaïs down just in time to see a car bomb explode, injuring Anaïs and killing the woman she was with.
Anaïs can’t explain what Aimée just witnessed. The dead woman, Anaïs says, is Sylvie Coudray, her cheating husband’s long-time mistress, but she has no idea who wanted her dead, and Anaïs officially hires Aimée to investigate. As she digs into Sylvie Coudray’s murky past, Aimée finds that the dead woman may not be who Anaïs thought she was. Her Belleville neighborhood, full of North African immigrants, may be hiding clues to Sylvie’s identity. As a prominent Algerian rights activist stages a hunger protest against new immigration laws, Aimée begins to wonder whether Sylvie’s death was an act of terrorism, and who else may be at risk.
Paris, April 1999: Aimée Leduc has her work cut out for her—running her detective agency and fighting off sleep deprivation as she tries to be a good single mother to her new bébé. The last thing she has time for now is to take on a personal investigation for a poor manouche (Gypsy) boy. But he insists his dying mother has an important secret she needs to tell Aimée, something to do with Aimée’s father’s unsolved murder a decade ago. How can she say no?
The dying woman’s secret is even more dangerous than her son realized. When Aimée arrives at the hospital, the boy’s mother has disappeared. She was far too sick to leave on her own—she must have been abducted. What does she know that’s so important it’s worth killing for? And will Aimée be able to find her before it’s too late and the medication keeping her alive runs out?
Private investigator Aimée Leduc has been introduced to the Cao Dai temple in Paris by her partner, René Friant. He urges her to learn to meditate: she could use a more healthful approach to life. The Vietnamese nun Linh has been helping Aimée to attain her goal, so when she asks Aimée for a favor—to go to the Clichy quartier to exchange an envelope for a package—René prompts Aimée to agree. But the intended recipient, Thadée Baret, is shot and dies in Aimée’s arms before the transaction can be completed, leaving Aimée with a wounded arm, a check for 50,000 francs, and a trove of ancient jade artifacts.
Whoever killed Baret wants the jade. The RG—the French secret service—a group of veterans of the war in Indochina and some wealthy ex-colonials and international corporations seeking oil rights are all implicated. And the nun, Linh, has disappeared.
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?
A dying man drags his oxygen machine into the office of Éric Besson, a lawyer in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. The old man, an accountant, is carrying a dilapidated notebook full of meticulous investment records. For decades, he has been helping a cadre of dirty cops launder stolen money. The notebook contains his full confession—he’s waited 50 years to make it, and now it can’t wait another day. He is adamant that Besson get the notebook into the hands of La Proc, Paris’s chief prosecuting attorney, so the corruption can finally be brought to light. But en route to La Proc, Besson’s courier—his assistant and nephew—is murdered, and the notebook disappears.
Grief-stricken Éric Besson tries to hire private investigator Aimée Leduc to find the notebook, but she is reluctant to get involved. Her father was a cop and was murdered by the same dirty syndicate the notebook implicates. She’s not sure which she’s more afraid of, the dangerous men who would kill for the notebook or the idea that her father’s name might be among the dirty cops listed within it. Ultimately that’s the reason she must take the case, which leads her across the Left Bank, from the Cambodian enclave of Khmer Rouge refugees to the ancient royal tapestry factories to the modern art galleries.
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 well-being 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. Zazie, the 13-year-old daughter of the proprietor of Aimée’s favorite café, has disappeared. 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.
A BBC Best Summer Read of 2017
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2017
A Huffington Post Best Mystery of 2017
Paris, July 1999: Private investigator Aimée Leduc is walking through Saint-Germain when she is accosted by Suzanne Lesage, a Brigade Criminelle agent on an elite counterterrorism squad. Suzanne has just returned from the former Yugoslavia, where she was hunting down dangerous war criminals for the Hague. Back in Paris, Suzanne is convinced she’s being stalked by a ghost—a Serbian warlord her team took down. She’s suffering from PTSD and her boss thinks she’s imagining things. She begs Aimée to investigate—is it possible Mirko Vladić could be alive and in Paris with a blood vendetta?
Aimée is already working on a huge case; plus, she’s got an eight-month-old baby to take care of. But she can’t say no to Suzanne, whom she owes a big favor. Aimée chases the few leads she has, and all evidence confirms Mirko Vladić is dead. It seems that Suzanne is in fact paranoid, perhaps losing her mind—until Suzanne’s team begins to die in a series of strange, tragic accidents. Are these just coincidences? Or are things not what they seem?
When Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc picks up the phone one hot July afternoon, the call turns her life upside-down. The voice on the other end, with its heavy German accent, belongs to a woman named Jutta Hald. Jutta claims to have shared a jail cell with Aimée’s long-lost mother, a suspected terrorist on Interpol’s most wanted list. If Aimée wants to learn the truth about her mother, she is to meet Jutta at a rendezvous point in an ancient tower in the Sentier. But when Aimée arrives, Jutta is dead, shot in the head at close range.
Aimée realizes she has stumbled into something bigger than Jutta let on, and that her own life is in danger. She has a lot of unsolved mysteries in front of her: Jutta Hald’s murder, resurfaced materials from Sydney Leduc’s terrorist activities in the 1970s, police suppression of important information. The question is, can Aimée put the pieces together before someone else ends up dead?
Aimée Leduc is having a bad day. First, she comes home from work at her Paris detective agency to learn that her boyfriend is leaving her. She goes out for a drink with her friend Laure, a police officer, but Laure’s patrol partner, Jacques, interrupts, saying he needs to talk to Laure urgently. The two leave the bar, and when they don’t return, Aimée follows Laure’s path and finds her sprawled on a snowy rooftop, not far from Jacques, who is bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound.
When the police arrive, they arrest Laure for murder. No one is interested in helping Aimée figure out the truth. As she chases down increasingly dangerous leads in the effort to free her friend, Aimée stumbles into a web of Corsican nationalists, separatists, gangsters, and artists. Could Jacques’s murder and Laure’s arrest be part of a much bigger cover-up?