Rolling back the clock gives Black the chance to recast her heroine unencumbered by the baggage she’s accumulated over the...


Black (Murder on the Champ de Mars, 2015, etc.) looks backward to discover the origins of Aimée Leduc, detective.

In November, 1942, a line runs through the French countryside near Vichy. On one side lies Chambly-sur-Cher, in la zone libre; on the other, Givaray, under control of Maréchal Pétain. When a truck laden with Nazi gold gets mired in mud on the wrong side of the river, four Free French farmers kill four of the soldiers transporting the treasure to Portugal, stealing the loot for themselves. A fifth soldier apparently escapes. Sixty years later, an elderly man from the provinces is killed on his way home from a meal with friends in Paris, his body left under the Pont des Invalides. His daughter, Elise Peltier, asks detective Jean-Claude Leduc, a distant cousin, to find her father’s killer. But Jean-Claude is about to leave for Berlin to meet a man who can help him get Sidonie, his fugitive American wife, out of trouble with Mossad. So his 19-year-old daughter, Aimée, jumps into the breach. Frustrated with medical school and depressed to discover that Florent, her aristo boyfriend, is about to announce his engagement to another woman, Aimée is ready for new adventures. She scoops up the stray puppy her grand-père found by the river, christens him Miles Davis, and goes in search of the mysterious Suzy, who left her name and phone number on a matchbook in Peltier’s pocket from a club called LE GOGO. Along the way, she runs into a dwarf computer genius who fixes her pager. So begins the arc of Aimée’s story: the first corpse, the first clue, the first shattered love affair, the first meeting with René, her eventual partner, and the reader’s first glimpse of Leduc Detectives.

Rolling back the clock gives Black the chance to recast her heroine unencumbered by the baggage she’s accumulated over the course of the series. It’s not clear, though, where this prequel will take the franchise in the long run.

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61695-678-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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