Cover image of "Murder in the Sentier," a novel about a brilliant French detective

It’s puzzling to me why an American author living in the United States would choose to write one novel after another in a long-running series of detective novels set in a foreign land. Cara Black‘s series about the brilliant French detective Aimee Leduc is set in Paris. But she is by no means the only example of this phenomenon. For instance, think Elizabeth George and Deborah Crombie, two of Britain’s leading writers of detective fiction despite the fact that they’re both irredeemably American — and those are just the ones who come quickly to mind. I suppose they all like to travel a lot. (I got my fill of that years ago.) They would have to do so, since all their work reeks of authenticity.

In Black’s Murder in the Sentier, private investigator Aimee Leduc is drawn into a dangerous search for the murderer of a famous author. Willy-nilly, she finds herself suddenly caught in the middle of a violent clash among the survivors of a notorious gang of 1970s radicals — among whom, apparently, was her mother. Risking her life and her livelihood, Leduc pursues the increasingly elusive truth, coming into conflict along the way with the Paris police, several old revolutionaries, and her business partner, Rene, a computer wizard.

At least in the first three of the fourteen novels in the Aimee Leduc series, Black takes on substantive subject matter. In Murder in the Marais, the first novel in the series, she writes about the legacy of Nazi terror in 1990s Paris. The second novel, Murder in Belleville, takes on the refugee crisis in early-90s France (reminiscent of today’s headlining conflict). Black clearly knows Paris well, and she does solid research for her novels. I plan to continue reading the series in order.

Murder in the Sentier (Aimee Leduc #3) by Cara Black ★★★★★

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