Aimée Leduc

Created by Cara Black

Parisian AIMÉE LEDUC is one P.I. who really gets into it, be it surfing the web, traveling through sewers, or going undercover among neo-Nazis. That’s just the kinda hands-on kinda half-American, half-French gal she is.

Aimée makes her living as a private investigator in the Paris, aided by her partner, René Friant, a “handsome dwarf” with green eyes, a goatee and considerable computer skills. Which comes in handy, because they specialize in computer forensics and corporate security.

In their first recorded case (and Black’s first novel), 1998’s Murder in the Marais, nominated for both an Anthony and a Macavity, they’re hired by a rabbi to decipher a fifty-year-old photo and soon find themselves mixed up in Nazis, past and present, old war crimes, and some very recent murders.

In the follow-up, Murder in Belleville, Aimée Leduc helps out a pal, a Defence Minister’s wife. The path leads to Belleville, the working-class neighbourhood where Edith Piaf lived, and a ragout of intrigue, featuring a car bombing, Islamic fundamentalists, a hunger strike and murder.

And so it goes throughout this “consistently satisfying” (Booklist) series, now up to twenty or so novels (and counting). Like her hero, Léo Malet, Black seems intent on investing every nook and cranny of the City of Light with murder and mayhem.

But it’s not just her setting (although few have done Paris better)–Black also manages to inject the series with a defiant je ne sais quoi hipness that certainly acknowledges the past traditions of the genre, but she never caves in to slavish devotion. Aimée’s her own woman; definitely one of a kind, a thoroughly modern gumshoe with a thoroughly modern outlook, a kick ass attitude and a penchant for retro clothing. She may bill herself as a computer/security expert, but don’t kid yourself–Aimée’s the real deal.

And make no mistake–Black’s not just one of the best women P.I. writers currently working the mean streets. She’s one of the best P.I. writers around, period.

Point final.

Cara Black currently lives in San Francisco.


  • “I’ve read and enjoyed Simenon’s Inspector Maigret detective series and the lesser-known Léo Malet’s detective Nestor Burma, whose cases take him to the forgotten pockets and quartiers of Paris. I’ve liked them so much I hope to do the same with Aimée, so she and the reader can discover an off-the tourist track Paris, real and sometimes gritty.”
    Cara Black


  • Murder in the Marais provides a richly textured journey into the dark side of the City of Light. With its engaging characters, terrific setting, and absorbing and satisfying plot, this powerful debut left me anxiously awaiting Aimé Leduc’s next adventures.”
    Linda Grant
  • “Gripping. . . . A wonderfully complex plot is lent immediacy by environmental activists agitating against a proposed oil agreement. . . . This Paris has a gritty, edgy feel, and Black’s prose evokes the sound of the Seine rising with the spring thaw. Aimée makes an engaging protagonist.”
    Publishers Weekly on Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis (starred review)
  • “The abiding pleasure of this series is the chance to ride with a cabdriver who wants to discuss Sartre or just tearing around Paris on Aimée’s pink Vespa, making stops at the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Île Saint-Louis, where Aimée has an apartment. Lucky girl.”
    Marilyn Stasio (The New York Times Book Review)



Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Merci, Cara, for the little tip, entre nous. Puis, aussi à Jan.

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