Murder in Passy
An Aimée Leduc Investigation by Cara Black
Review: When her godfather is arrested for the murder of a wealthy woman, a woman he was dating at the time, private investigator Aimée Leduc must look to their respective pasts for evidence to exonerate him, in Murder in Passy, the 11th mystery in this series by Cara Black.
Police Commissaire Mobier, Aimée's godfather, thinks his current love interest, Xavierre, has been distracted lately, and asks Aimée to visit her one evening to talk, woman-to-woman as it were, while he travels to Lyon on business. Xavierre is hosting a party that very evening, to celebrate the upcoming wedding of her daughter, a perfect excuse for Aimée to make an appearance. She agrees, and learns that Mobier's relationship with her isn't as new as Aimée thought it was; Xavierre tells her they originally met some 20 years ago, but have only recently begun seeing each other romantically. Xavierre assures Aimée there's nothing wrong, but just minutes later, as Aimée is preparing to leave, she finds Xavierre in her garden, murdered. The next morning she receives a phone call from Mobier, who has, much to her surprise, been arrested for the crime. He admits he wasn't in Lyon, but in Xavierre's garden, spying on her as he believed she was having an affair. He overheard muffled sounds of an argument, but insists he did not kill her.
Aimée decides the key to Xavierre's murder must lie in her past, and discovers she was once — and maybe still — a member of the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, the ETA, a terrorist organization that seeks to gain an independent state for the Basque peoples. Murder in Passy is set in 1997, so 20 years earlier the ETA would have been particularly active. But this somewhat unwieldy plot device — and, indeed, that is what it appears to be — seems decidedly far afield to the series as a whole, and ill-suited for Aimée's talents in particular. The author clearly did some research on the Basque community for this book, but the incorporation of her research into this murder mystery plot seems forced, and not a natural consequence of the events leading up to and surrounding Xavierre's murder, or of Aimée's subsequent investigation — which, it must be said, is typically sharp and focused.
Aimée Leduc is an endearing character, smart and resourceful, and fans of her investigations won't be disappointed in her latest case. But for readers new to the series, Murder in Passy is not indicative of the well-crafted, fast-paced and crisply written mysteries that precede it, and is probably not the best one to start with.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Murder in Passy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Murder in the Palais Royal
Soho Crime (Hardcover), March 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569476208; ISBN-10: 1569476209
Murder at the Lanterne Rouge
Soho Crime (Hardcover), March 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616950613; ISBN-10: 1616950617
Location(s) referenced in Murder in Passy: Paris, France
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Murder in Passy by Cara Black — An Aimée Leduc Investigation
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: March 2011
List Price: $25.00