Saturday, March 10, 2012

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge by Cara Black

I've never been to Paris, but every time I read one of Cara Black's Aimée Leduc Investigations, I feel immersed in the city and the culture. The stories are rich with detail, dense, complicated mysteries in which Paris comes to life. In Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, Black takes us into one of the four Chinatowns in the city in January 1998.

Lanterne Rouge refers to the red paper lanterns hanging outside the shops in Chinatown. It's there, in a small restaurant, that Aimée meets her business partner, René. They are celebrating the birthday of Meizi Wu, the woman he claims is his soul mate, the love of his life. But just as she opens her gift from René, Meizi receives a phone call and leaves the restaurant. She never returns, but just minutes later, people start fleeing. Following the crowd, Aimée and René find the warm body of a young man, a gifted scientist. The young man is wrapped in plastic, with a photo of Meizi in his wallet.

Although Aimée thought something was off about Meizi and her parents, she knows how desperate René is to find the missing woman. So, Aimée ransacks Chinatown for hints of her whereabouts, only to discover sweatshops and illegal women in the secret rooms behind leather shops and jewelry stores. Before she knows it, she's not only searching for a missing woman, but looking into the murder of the young scientist, and the secret that may have lead to his death. 

Only Cara Black can combine Chinatown, illegal aliens, fourteenth century scientific discoveries, and
secrets that interest the Intelligence Branch of the police. Black's complex stories of politics and murder continue to find Aimée tangled up in family secrets she never uncovered, secrets that continue to endanger her. No one tells the truth, and everyone has secrets to hide in Murder at the Lanterne Rouge. How appropriate for the city that becomes a character in Cara Black's books. Paris is a city of history, where the past, present and future are entwined. And, readers need to be prepared to immerse themselves in the dark spider web that's Paris in the stories that are the Aimée Leduc Investigations. Murder at the Lanterne Rouge once again takes us into the backstreets and underground world that Cara Black knows so well.

Cara Black's website is

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge by Cara Black. Soho Press, 2012. ISBN 9781616950613 (hardcover), 298p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Rosemary said...

Lesa, this sounds great - I love mysteries set in places like Paris (do you like Donna Leon's books? They've told me so much about modern Venetian life).

If you ever go to Paris, do visit the Pere Lachaise Cemetery - it's the most interesting place we've ever been in the city, and you can see the graves of Balzac, Moliere, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Chopin, Piaf, etc as well as the very moving Holocaust memorials.

I'll look out for this book, thanks.


Judy Starbuck said...

Paris is a magical city and I learn so much more about it in Cara's books. They are such great mysteries, too. Can't wait to read the latest one.

Karen C said...

Hmm ... sounds good. Another for the list!

Lesa said...

Sorry, I didn't answer yesterday, everyone. I was down at Tucson all day at the Tucson Festival of Books, as you can tell from today's blog.

Rosemary, I've never been to Paris, although my father always wanted me to go. I've only been to Spain. I have a little Spanish, but was there with someone who spoke Spanish. I'd want to do Paris with someone who spoke French.