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Murder in Clichy : An Aimee Leduc Investigation
Spirited Aimee Leduc, a private investigator based in Paris, has been introduced to the Cao Dai temple by her partner, Rene, who urges her to learn to meditate as a counterbalance to her frenetic lifestyle. A Vietnamese nun asks her for a favor--to hand over a check and bring a package back to the temple. But this act of kindness ends in a stranger's death and leaves her with a bullet wound in the arm, a check for 50,000 francs and a trove of ancient jade artifacts whose provenance is a mystery. The French secret service, a group of veterans of the war in Indochina, some wealthy ex-colonials, and contending international oil companies all claim the jade. They will stop at nothing to gain possession of it. And the nun has disappeared. Aimee has promised to avoid danger, but it continues to seek her out.
A small act of generosity leads to murder in Anthony-nominee Black's beguiling fifth outing for savvy and sensitive Parisian PI Aim�e Leduc (after 2003's Murder in the Bastille). Still reeling from injuries sustained in her previous adventure, Aim�e agrees to help a middle-aged Vietnamese nun, Linh, by delivering an envelope to Thad�e Baret. When Aim�e meets Thad�e for the drop-off, he hands her a bag of precious jade; soon after, an unseen gunman murders Thad�e. Who was Thad�e? Why did he give Linh the jade? Who wanted him killed? Once it becomes apparent Aim�e is involved in something bigger and more dangerous than at first seemed the case (a government surveillance team threatens her; her partner, Ren�, is kidnapped), even more questions arise. Readers may feel in the dark at times, and it's consoling to know that Aim�e is often just as baffled. As usual, the author renders the city in dazzling detail. She paints an especially rich portrait of the curious Clichy neighborhood, a district made up of "Aristocrats with de la before their name," and "immigrants with -ski, akela, or khabib at the end of their names." Weaving culture, history and suspense, Black scores again.
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February 28, 2006
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