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by Cara Black
Soho Crime, February 2013
298 pages
ISBN: 1616952148

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Rene Friant, Aimée Leduc's business partner, has found love. The four-foot-inch dwarf has met the petite Meizi Wu. And while there's still much he doesn't know about Meizi after two months of dating, he's proclaiming he's found his "soul mate" and is hinting at marriage. So what follows is all the more disturbing. In the middle of her birthday dinner, Meizi disappears into one of Paris' Chinatowns. When Rene and Aimée go looking for her, they instead find the body of a young man, dead and shrink-wrapped, in an alleyway. In his wallet is a photo of Meizi.

With Meizi still missing, Aimée is hired by the great aunt of Pascal Samour, the dead man, to find her killer. The investigation takes her to the museum Musée des Arts et Métiers, where Pascal volunteered and where he had made a recent discovery– an important formula that some are willing to kill for. Aimée juggles the search for Pascal's killer with her search for Meizi, who may be in for a similar fate. And there's another reason for Aimée to investigate – and help the French secret police, as well, with what she learns. They have promised her information on her mother, who left when Aimée was a child.

While Black's books are very much plot-driven, they are especially appealing for being set in Paris, with its many diverse neighborhoods.In this, the 12th book in the series, we see the hidden, not-so-scenic corners of Paris: the illegal sweatshops in narrow alleys, with Chinese immigrants crowded into unsafe conditions.

This is a complex story, with some threads still left dangling for the next book. Then again, Black's Paris is one we are always happy to visit again.

§ Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, January 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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