Her eyesight restored, Aimée Leduc investigates an ancient Asian mystery in modern-day Paris.
To try to rest her fragile optic nerve, Aimée (Murder in the Bastille, 2003, etc.) studies meditation at a storefront Cao Dai temple, where she meets Linh, a Vietnamese nun new to Paris. Linh begs her to deliver an envelope, but when Aimée tries to meet Thadée Baret in a boulangerie near Place de Clichy, shots ring out, and Aimée has just enough time to snatch the backpack containing several exquisite jade carvings and run before the flics arrive. Spooked, Aimée hides the bag in the office of her lover, ophthalmologist Guy Lambert—but before she can retrieve it, the office is ransacked and the figures taken. Now Guy is angry at Aimée, not only for causing the break-in but for risking her sight again. Even though their relationship may not survive, Aimée can’t stop her investigation because someone’s kidnapped her partner, René Friant, and she knows that finding the jade is the key to finding René. Baret’s ex-wife Sophie and his daughter Nadège might help her, a thug named Blondel definitely wants to hurt her, and secret agent Fabien Regnier may not be at all what he seems.
Although Aimée’s imperiled romance sprawls, Black’s fifth leaves plenty of room for puzzlement, along with her unique brand of Ambiance de Paris.