A new mystery series set in Paris introduces intrepid detective Aime Leduc.
It is November 1993 and the French prime ministerial candidate is about to sign a treaty with Germany that will severely restrict immigration, reminiscent of the Vichy laws. Aime Leduc is approached by a rabbi to decipher a fifty-year-old encrypted photograph and place it in the hands of Lili Stein. When she arrives at Lili's apartment in the Marais, the old Jewish quarter of Paris, she finds a corpse in whose forehead is carved a swastika. With the help of her partner, a dwarf with extraordinary computer hacking skills, Aime is determined to solve this horrendous crime. Then more murders follow. Her search for the killer leads her to a German war veteran involved in the 1940s with a Jewish girl he was supposed to send to her death. It takes Aime undercover inside a neo-Nazi group, where she must play a dangerous game of current politics and old war crimes. Many of the older Jews in the Marais are afraid and prefer to leave the past alone, but the horrible legacy of the death camps and the words "never forget" propel Aime to find out the true identities of the criminals past and present.
The initial installment of a projected series of mysteries set in Paris, this standout first novel introduces dauntless private investigator Aim?e Leduc. The French-American, whose specialty is computer forensics, is confronted with a seemingly mundane task: to decipher an encrypted photograph from the '40s and deliver it to an old woman in the Marais (the historic Jewish quarter of Paris). When Aim?e arrives at the home of Lili Stein to present the photo, however, she finds the woman dead, a swastika carved into her forehead. Thus begins a thrilling, quick-paced chase involving neo-Nazis, corrupt government officials and fierce anti-Semitism. With the help of her partner, Ren?, a computer hacking expert, Aim?e uncovers tantalizing clues relating to German war veteran Hartmuth Griffe, the Jewish girl he saved from Auschwitz, a French trade minister and other enigmatic figures. But the data Aim?e and Ren? come up with only takes them so far. In order to understand the true motive behind the killing, Aim?e must delve into history, confronting older residents of the quarterAwho'd prefer she leave the past aloneAand doing some undercover work. The suspense is high as she fraternizes dangerously with the enemy, even becoming briefly involved with an Aryan supremacist. Black knows Paris well, and in her first-rate debut she deftly combines fascinating anecdotes from the city's war years with classic images of the City of Lights. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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June 30, 2003
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