Reviewed by Kristin
Aimee Leduc Investigation series spoiler alert—Aimee had a major life circumstance change at the end of Murder Below Montparnasse. Murder in Pigalle (and any single title in this series) could be read as a stand-alone, but if you prefer to read series in order, don’t read this review! (Review of Murder Below Montparnasse here: http://bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/murder-below-montparnasse-by-cara-black.html )
Private Investigator Aimee Leduc is back in Murder in Pigalle. With her life changing circumstances revealed at the end of the last book, Aimee is trying to adapt her fast paced career to the physical limitation of being five months pregnant. Aimee is drawn into an investigation through her young friend Zazie when a series of young girls are attacked. Zazie wants to imitate Aimee by investigating the crimes, even at the risk of peril to herself. When Zazie disappears, her frantic parents implore Aimee to help, even as the police refuse to consider the 13-year-old a missing person before 24 hours have passed. Because a child is involved, Aimee cannot say no.
While searching for Zazie, Aimee takes more risks than she should. Not only does she have to be concerned with her own safety, but with that of her unborn child. Nevertheless, Aimee is compelled by her budding maternal instinct to do whatever she can to find Zazie. Between morning sickness, worrying about fitting into her clothes and the bad guys with guns, Aimee has her hands full.
Aimee’s business partner Rene is more than willing to do whatever he can to keep Aimee out of danger. Rene shows his devotion by printing baby information and accompanying Aimee to her doctor’s appointments. Of course Rene pushes past the physical discomfort of his disabilities to be there for Aimee, no matter the cost. Despite the repetitive nature of Rene’s mooning over Aimee, I think that most readers will feel sympathy for him as he pursues what may be an impossible dream; I just can’t imagine a scenario where Aimee actually falls in love with him.
Aimee also must deal with the father of her child, Melac, whom she has been ignoring for months as he continues to deal with his ex-wife and ill daughter. Once he does discover that Aimee is carrying his child, Melac believes that he can whisk Aimee away to the countryside and live a fairytale life. Aimee, however, chafes at the thought of leaving Paris and her detective agency. One of Aimee’s most delightful qualities is her independence amidst the beauty and the grittiness of Paris, so I cannot see her settling down to a quiet life in the country.
This is a fast moving tale with the story spread over only a few days. Black has once again written a captivating story that draws in the reader and pulls them along through the adventure. I always enjoy seeing the neighborhoods of Paris through Aimee’s eyes, and can almost feel the cobblestones under my feet and smell the pleasant odors wafting out of the cafes. I’m not sure that Pigalle would be on the top of my list for scenic Parisian locales, because it has a bit of a dangerous reputation as an edgy area, perhaps a place where tourists might take in a risqué show. I was surprised that the parents of the young girls in this book allowed their children to walk in this district at night, therefore putting them in danger. I will just have to put my American cultural differences aside and sigh “c’est la vie” theatrically, and continue reading the Aimee Leduc adventures as soon as each one is published.