cover image Murder Below Montparnasse

Murder Below Montparnasse

Cara Black. Soho Crime, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61695-215-0

A tantalizing clue to the whereabouts of Paris PI Aimée Leduc’s mysterious mother puts a personal spin on Black’s intricate 13th mystery set in contemporary Paris (after 2012’s Murder at the Lantern Rouge). Yuri Volodya, an elderly Russian who wants to hire Aimée to protect a valuable painting, possibly a Modigliani, tells Aimée he knew her mother, Sydney, whom she hasn’t seen since Sydney abandoned her at age eight. When the painting is stolen and Yuri is later tortured and killed, the police investigate. Meanwhile, a bizarre accident sidelines Aimée’s part-time hacker helper, “cash-poor aristocrat” Saj de Rosnay. Leduc must also cope amid threats of violence without trusted computer expert René Friant, lured to America by a Silicon Valley firm in a lengthy, well-developed subplot. Allusions to Modigliani, Picasso, Cocteau, Man Ray, and Duchamp help evoke 1920s Paris, though the complicated relationships among the principals will be more meaningful to series fans than to newcomers. Agent: Linda Allen, Linda Allen Literary Agency. (Mar.)