Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Murder in Pigalle - Cara Black

I've been reading this series for several years now.  I started reading it because it takes place in Paris,  the main characters are Aimee Leduc and Rene Friant, a dwarf, and because the scattered French words give me a chance to pretend I'm still fairly fluent in French.  I spent a week in Paris many years ago and I remember enough about it to occasionally picture where the action takes place.  From book to book, the crimes move from one arrondissement to another.  There's always a map in the front.

Aimee and Rene run a computer security business together, but Aimee is always finding her way into real life crime.  Rene often bails her out, often with the help of Saj, another computer expert.  I like both Rene and Saj better than I like Aimee.

In this episode, Aimee is pregnant.  The father is her on-again-off-again boyfriend whose priorities are his ex-wife and daughter.  The daughter is in a coma and the ex-wife is needy.  Aimee hasn't told him that she's pregnant.  She knows that she needs more than he will give her.

In the midst of all this (and a broiling hot summer, too), Zazie, her friend's daughter and Aimee's protege, disappears.  (Please note that she didn't 'go missing' in this review.  We used to say 'disappear', which is a perfectly good word, but it seems to have 'gone missing' from our vocabulary.) Because there have been several rapes of young girls in the area, Aimee is concerned that Zazie is a victim of the rapist.  Zazie doesn't fit the profile of 12 years old, blonde, and violin-playing, but Aimee is convinced Zazie has been taken by the rapist.  And she's wrong.

I like the details of everyday life in Paris.  I wish there were bakeries on every corner in my city.  I love good fresh bread.  But I'm glad I don't live in a gorgeous freezing-in-the-winter and melting-in-the-summer apartment where the elevator is often broken.

Aimee gets a little tiresome sometimes.  Her Chanel red lipstick, her designer clothes, even if they're from thrift stores, her constantly feeding her little dog horse meat from the butcher.  She's always scaling buildings or jumping from roofs.  She puts herself and others in danger because she's impulsive and jumps to conclusions.  I'll give her one more book and then I think I've had enough.  Then again, I wonder how she's going to fit a baby into her life.


  1. It sounds like these might be right up my street - you've done it again! Luckily I've just checked Fife libraries and they have the books!

    1. It's great that your library has the books. You can try them without making any financial investment. I don't think they have much of a character arc, except for the fairly minor one of Aimee's pregnancy. I think you can read them out of order without losing anything.

  2. Totally agree with your review. I started with the first in the series and stopped with the Pigalle one. My reason for reading the series was its location.

    1. I'm glad we agree. I enjoy contemporary mysteries set in interesting locals, too. I'm sure it's difficult to maintain characters in a long series. I thought Aimee was different and fun when I first started reading the books. Now, as I said, I'm starting to find her tedious.