cover image Murder at the Lanterne Rouge

Murder at the Lanterne Rouge

Cara Black. Soho Crime, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-061-3

At the start of Black’s outstanding 12th novel featuring PI Aimée Leduc (after 2011’s Murder in Passy), Aimée attends a birthday party for Meizi Wu, the girlfriend of René, her agency partner, in the smallest and oldest of Paris’s four Chinatowns. Aimée, who believes the smitten René is rushing the relationship with a virtual stranger, goes to look for Meizi after she disappears from the party. On a snowy, rat-infested street, to Aimée’s horror, she finds the body of Pascal Samour, an adult trade school teacher, half-wrapped in plastic, with Meizi’s photograph in his wallet. Aimée and René are soon immersed in an underworld ring of human trafficking, sweat shops, fake designer goods, and fraud. That the victim turns out to have been conducting cutting-edge experiments in fiber optics adds to the intrigue. Readers will relish realistic villains and an evocative atmosphere that begs for a trip to the City of Lights. 8-city author tour. Agent: Linda Allen, Linda Allen Literary Agency. (Mar.)