Murder on the Quai
US Release date:
June 14, 2016
also available as ebook
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
I have already listened to several mysteries by Cara Black. They are very enjoyable, each one taking place in a different neighborhood of Paris. So it was thrilling to receive a free copy of Murder on the Quai at BEA, her latest volume in the series. It is a very special book, as it is actually the prequel to the whole series.
Through it, you get to know more about Aimée Leduc’s family background, her parents, her grand-father (who started the Leduc Detective’s company), and her godfather Morbier, the cop. You also see her meeting for the first time with her assistant-to-be René. In other words, you meet all important characters in the whole series.
Aimée is actually a student in medicine when the book opens. Her dad left suddenly for a secret mission in Germany (on the other side of the Iron Wall, just torn down.
When Elise asks for help, she decides to play detective — much more fun than studying for boring med exams! Though through this, Aimée mostly hopes to get information on her own mother, as this woman seems indeed to have met with Sydney, Aimée’s mother, who left the family ten years earlier.
While investigating the murder of Elise’s father, young Aimée stumbles upon another murder under the Pont des Invalides (hence the title) with the same MO. She soon realizes she got herself into something much bigger than her. But she is not the type to give up, whatever the danger may be for herself.
Chapters switch between events in Paris and Germany in 1989, and in a little village in Sologne area, in Vichy France in 1942, and their consequences. Something happening between villagers and a truck of last German soldiers. I’m not giving more details, it’s better to discover the links by yourself.
Each novel in the series focuses on a specific theme. Here, we have the context of the reopening of Eastern Germany to the West, the topic of Nazi hunters, of Resistance, and the connection between international terrorism networks.
I found this book the best so far in the series, with the theme of revenge and how the German episode in the French history can still have consequences in modern France. The plots are very well connected, the characters real, raw sometimes.
Aimée is smart, courageous, resourceful, and one can easily see why she would eventually switch from medical studies to investigation.
This is a great and smart background to situate each important character in the series.
I encountered a few French mistakes, for instance the use of the masculine américain instead of the feminine américaine when referring to a woman. But I am still to read an English book inserting French expressions without any mistakes. And it’s much better than the audio versions of the series, with the narrator making appalling pronunciation mistakes that any basic tourist in Paris would not even make. But this rant will go on in another review!
EN DEUX MOTS :
J’aime les polars de Clara Black, chacun se déroulant dans un arrondissement ou quartier différent de Paris. Ce livre est en fait l’introduction à toute la séruie, et l’intrigue est fortement enrichie avec le contexte de la chute du mur de Berlin et des conséquences d’un événement entre des villageois français et des soldats allemands durant l’Occupation.
VERDICT: Fantastic prequel to the suspenseful series set in various Parisians neighborhood. Lots of historical elements enrich the smart plot, like the Berlin Wall and the German Occupation of France. Great way of presenting all the main characters of the series.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
The world knows Aimée Leduc, heroine of 15 mysteries in this New York Times bestselling series, as a très chic, no-nonsense private investigator—the toughest and most relentless in Paris. Now author Cara Black dips back in time to reveal how Aimée first became a detective . . .
November 1989: Aimée Leduc is in her first year of college at Paris’s preeminent medical school. She lives in a 17th-century apartment that overlooks the Seine with her father, who runs the family detective agency.
But the week the Berlin Wall crumbles, so does Aimée’s life as she knows it. First, someone has sabotaged her lab work, putting her at risk of failing out of the program. Then, she finds out her aristo boyfriend is planning to get engaged to another woman. And finally, Aimée’s father takes off to Berlin on a mysterious errand. He asks Aimée to help out at the detective agency while he’s gone—as if she doesn’t already have enough to do. But the case Aimée finds herself investigating—a murder linked to a transport truck of Nazi gold that disappeared in the French countryside during the height of World War II—has gotten under her skin. Her heart may not lie in medicine after all—maybe it’s time to think harder about the family business.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR