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Black, Cara, Murder in Belleville

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After a first-class debut in 1999's Anthony-nominated Murder in the Marais, sassy detective Aimee Leduc returns, offering an intriguing glimpse of Paris's gruff Belleville district, known for its high concentration of Arab immigrants. The suspense begins immediately with Aim e receiving a puzzling, urgent call from her friend Anais. On arriving at their meeting spot, Aimee witnesses a car bombing--and soon learns that the bombing's victim was the mistress of Anais's government minister husband, Philippe. By questioning locals, she discovers that the dead woman, Sophie, had an alias, Eugenie Grandet (not to be confused with Balzac's woeful character), and lived what looked like a dual life. Sophie's liaison with Philippe suggested elegance and exclusivity, but her life as Eugenie placed her in the middle of a tumultuous drama involving a secretive North African radical group. Some of Black's strongest writing is in her descriptions of Belleville's heady atmosphere. As Aimee searches deeper for clues, she attracts the attention of ruthless people who would rather she didn't snoop, while her findings reveal a dark side to immigrant politics that Philippe and the rest of the French government would prefer she left alone. But Aimee, never one to take non for an answer, smartly hones in to pull off a thrilling finale that nicely exhibits the author's creative skills.

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