Parisian p.i. Aimée Leduc returns in Black's atmospheric second look at the City of Light's darker corners. Undaunted by her recent brush with death in Paris's old Jewish Quarter (Murder in the Marais
, 1999), Leduc responds to an urgent cell phone call from her girlhood friend Anaïs begging for a meeting at the seedy Café Tlemcen. By the time she navigates her partner Rene's Citroën to Rue des Cascades, Anaïs has left, and Leduc follows her trail through Belleville, formerly home to Edith Piaf, but now swarming with Paris's pieds-noirs
—Algerian immigrants who work at whatever jobs they can get without French passports—finding her seconds before a car bomb wounds Anaïs and kills her companion, Sylvie Coudray. Anaïs identifies Sylvie as the mistress of her husband, cabinet minister Philippe de Froissart, but neighbors know her as Eugénie Grandet, benefactress to the peaceful Algerian hunger-strikers who are occupying the church of Notre Dame de la Croix in hope of earning immigration papers. Leduc is encouraged in her search for an assassin by her late father's friend Morbier, her guide into a more dangerous circle of Algerian immigrants; he gives her the name of Samia Fouaz, a struggling teenaged mother whose lover Zdanine imports Duplo plastique explosive into France. Samia, in turn, introduces her to dangers beyond imagining, as greed turns political activism into pure evil.
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