Aimée Leduc (Murder in Saint-Germain, 2017, etc.) chases across Paris’ low-rent district in search of a World War II–era dossier.
Attorney Éric Besson can’t believe there might be anything of value in the notebook Holocaust survivor Léo Solomon brings him wrapped in old twine. But the aging accountant insists the document must be presented to la Procureur de la République that very day. To pacify the old coot, Besson gives the packet to his sister’s kid Marcus, who serves as his office boy, for delivery. But Besson’s nephew delays his mission to spend a couple of hours at a hotel with his girlfriend, Karine. A couple of thugs break in and cut his date short, and by the time Marcus’ body is discovered, Karine and the diary are nowhere to be found. Though Besson doesn’t want to spend any more effort on Solomon, his diary, or even finding Marcus’ killer, the case is red meat to Aimée. She thrives on redressing old wrongs. And as she pokes into the first few layers of the puzzle, she begins to suspect that Solomon’s diary may include incriminating evidence against members of “the Hand,” a part-political, part-criminal organization that may have been complicit in her father’s death. Her partner in Leduc Detectives René Friant, warns her that the case will put both Aimée and her 10-month-old daughter in the cross hairs of some very bad people. Of course Aimée ignores René, and of course she and Chloé end up running for their lives. How many times will readers watch Aimée try desperately to shield her bébé from the consequences of her off-the books investigations? On ne sait jamais.
Like her earlier entries, Black’s latest is refreshingly free from the focus on French food culture that marks provincial mysteries and gratifyingly full of local Parisian color. But a little more variation in the detection menu would be welcome.