neo-Nazis and French Jews in a fascinating murder mystery

It’s November 1993, and it’s raining in Paris. Aimee Leduc is a hacker-for-hire, a kick-ass investigator, and, shall we say, a mistress of disguise. She would probably be pleased to be called a tough broad. Leduc runs a struggling private detective agency with a “handsome dwarf” named Rene Friant who is her equal at the keyboard. The two have a standing agreement only to take on work for corporate clients, but the agreement goes by the wayside when Leduc is approached by an aging Nazi-hunter with a troubling request to break the encryption protecting a photograph shot sometime during World War II. This is the fascinating murder mystery that is the first entry in Cara Black’s Aimee Leduc series.

Murder in the Marais (Aimee Leduc #1) by Cara Black @@@@ (4 out of 5)

The ensuing investigation entangles Leduc with first one, then another murder, a gang of neo-Nazis, an SS-offshoot called the Werewolves, and a right-wing plot to seize the leadership of European government and bring the nightmare of the Third Reich back to life. The plotting is complex and the story relentlessly suspenseful.

This fascinating murder mystery — the first of Cara Black’s “Murder in Paris” series featuring Aimee Leduc — is set in the Jewish Quarter, where French police under the direction of the Gestapo rounded up French Jews and stuffed them onto trains bound for the ovens of Auschwitz. Black told me that the story told in Murder in the Marais “came from hearing the experiences of my friend’s mother, a 14 year old Jewish girl, who hid during the Occupation.”

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