Book Review written by Kate Farrell
Cara Black’s mystery novel, MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS, to be released March 3, 2015, is the 15th in the Aimée LeDuc Investigation series set in Paris—and it is irresistible! The indomitable, ever chic Aimée LeDuc faces new challenges as a single mother estranged from her six-month-old infant’s father. More than a thriller or a tour guide to Paris, Murder on the Champ de Mars brings us fascinating Gypsy (manouche) characters who intensify the tension of Aimee’s unresolved family secrets: who murdered her father and why.
On the day her baby, Chloé, is christened, Aimée is confronted with a poor Gypsy boy whose mother is dying and who insists on speaking to Aimée to reveal the truth of her father’s death. Compelled to keep her father’s promises to the sick mother and to seek justice for her father, Aimée agrees to visit the dying woman only to find the woman missing from her hospital bed. Aimée begins a search that will take surprising twists and turns, as suspense builds and unknown dangers surround her.
Aimée enters the maze of Parisian society, the hard edges of its stratified class culture where status is everything, where those on the inside cling with desperation. From the despised outsiders, the Roma, newly arrived Eastern European Gypsies, to the ancien régime types in the elegant, old money seventh arrondissement and inside the marbled halls of ministries, Aimée explores the shadowy borderlands of secrets, scandal, and cover-ups.
And she does all this while worrying about nursing her bébé and wearing the right designer outfit to gain entrée to upscale events. Cara Black ratchets up the anxiety by adding the needs and vulnerabilities of an infant under Aimée’s care. Black skillfully builds suspense in a tightly structured plot, giving away frightening glimpses of the murderers.
Throughout it all, the city of Paris is a transcendent character in this brilliant mystery, a shining place of beauty and history. Black allows us to experience the many facets of Paris with cinematic descriptions and sensory images. For example, when Aimée is to meet the Gypsy boy, Black describes their meeting place:
“Now La Pagode was an art-house cinema with ivy trailing the walls. Drooping willows canopied the tea tables nestled in the Japonese garden. It lay quiet and deserted, apart from Michel, the projectionist, who waved to her while sweeping the lobby. Maïs, the house cat, slinked past the pair of ceramic dragons guarding the stained-glass door to the cinema.”
A book of many dimensions, MURDER ON THE CHAMP DE MARS is a tantalizing Parisian mystery with a captivating heroine.
Better yet! If you win the KILLER TRIP TO PARIS, you’ll travel with the author, Cara Black, this fall. Contest entry forms are inside a limited hard cover edition, in stores or online March 3rd.
For more information about the book and contest, visit: http://carablack.com/