Always on the hunt for la vie française as well as a fan of mystery fiction, I was delighted recently to come across the Aimée LeDuc mystery novels all set in Paris. American writer Cara Black is behind the half-American, half-French stylish female detective with an office on the rue du Louvre. I read her first novel, Murder in the Marais, which was nominated for an Anthony Award for best debut novel. The strength of the book is all the references to Paris – there really is a Duluc detective agency on rue to Louvre with a forties-looking sign that has always intrigued me; Black simply morphed the name into LeDuc. Every restaurant, monument, and street named in the book really exists. You can truly imagine yourself alongside Aimée as she tries to unravel the mystery based on events in French history; in this story it was the fate of the Jews during the occupation. Black also sprinkled the pages with plenty of French phrases, which is always fun.
Today’s expression, il y a un début à tout (eel E ah uh dayboo ah too) means “everything has a beginning.” I didn’t find the first book in the series particularly well-written, however, but I may give one of her eleven subsequent novels a chance in case she hit her stride after the beginning. Each book focuses on a different arrondissement. Black’s covered twelve so far, so there’s plenty of Parisian adventure still to come.