cover image Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis

Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis

Cara Black, . . Soho Crime, $23 (294pp) ISBN 978-1-56947-444-0

At the start of Black's gripping seventh mystery to feature Parisian computer expert Aimée Leduc (after 2006's Murder in Montmartre ), a distraught, late-night anonymous phone call distracts Aimée from her deadline and sends her to the courtyard of her Ile Saint-Louis building, where she finds an infant girl. After the caller never shows up for her baby (whom Aimée decides to care for), Aimée wonders if the woman may have become an "Yvette," a Jane Doe dragged from the Seine. She follows a tenuous lead to discover the caller's identity, bringing her Samaritan impulses into direct conflict with her business sense. A wonderfully complex plot is lent immediacy by environmental activists agitating against a proposed oil agreement—secondary characters who play a crucial role in the intrigue. 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, vulnerable beneath her vintage chic clothing and sharp-witted exterior. (Mar.)