Cara Black

Title: Murder Below Montparnasse (Aimee Leduc Investigations #13)

Author: Cara Black

Read by: Madeleine Lambert

Category: Mystery

Audio published: March 19, 2013 by AudioG0 (First published March 15, 2013)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Audible | Amazon | Book Depository

A long-lost Modigliani portrait, a grieving brother’s blood vendetta, a Soviet secret that’s been buried for 80 years–Parisian private investigator Aimee Leduc’s current case is her most exciting one yet. The cobbled streets of Montparnasse might have been boho-chic in the 1920s, when artists, writers, and their muses drank absinthe and danced on cafe tables. But to Parisian private investigator Aimee Leduc, these streets hold darker secrets. When an old Russian man named Yuri hires Aimee to protect a priceless painting that just might be a Modigliani, she learns how deadly art theft can be. Yuri is found tortured to death in his atelier, and the painting is missing. Every time Aimee thinks she’s found a new witness, the body count rises. What exactly is so special about this painting that so many people are willing to kill–and die–for it?

The Aimee Leduc series is one I’ve been meaning to read but hadn’t gotten around to until now. My library had #13 available on audio, so I went ahead and picked it up, even though I haven’t read/listened to any of the others. I’m not sure if this was just a bad place to start or if I just shouldn’t bother with any more in the series, because Murder Below Montparnasse just didn’t work for me.

The story centers around a painting that was stolen from an old Russian man who ends up murdered. We’ve got plenty of suspects, from the man’s son, to a young friend, even maybe Aimee’s mother. There’s a side-line with Rene who was gone to America for what seems to be a slightly shady job.

Theft, murder, a car crash, something about a friend of Aimee’s doing some kind of fashion book (I think I missed something there), and her mom who she hasn’t seen since she was 8 and who is apparently wanted by Interpol. I think if I knew Aimee and her friends more, I would have understood more of what was going on and why, but as it was, it seemed like Aimee made bad decisions, never paid any attention to her dog, let down her friends even though I think she was supposed to be loyal to them. I just didn’t care, and I didn’t understand what the big fuss with her mother was, but she kept obsessing over her and I had to wonder if this was standard for the series or just an add-on to this one. Aimee seems to have men-trouble and a fondness for vintage clothes, but I’m not really sure what makes her qualified to be a detective or run a computer security company, other than that she inherited the agency from her family and has friends who know their way around computers.

I love the non-touristy Paris setting and the fact that it’s about 1998 makes it interesting. Aimee has to do more following people and traipsing around town, rather than relying on the internet, but she falls into so many of the stupid amateur detective mistakes and really should probably have been dead long before the book ended.

I will say I enjoyed listening to this rather than reading it. Madeleine Lambert became Aimee for me, and I loved hearing the pronunciations of the French places and phrases. I will say that her Russian female bodyguard voice was memorable, too.

The ending has a bit of a surprise, at least I think it’s supposed to be a surprise, but even I saw it coming.

Have you read this series? Was this just a bad example? Should I go back and read the earlier ones or just not bother?

Aimee Leduc Investigations

  1. Murder in the Marais
  2. Murder in Belleville
  3. Murder in the Sentier
  4. Murder in the Bastille
  5. Murder in Clichy
  6. Murder in Montmartre
  7. Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis
  8. Murder in the Rue de Paradis
  9. Murder in the Latin Quarter
  10. Murder in the Palais Royal
  11. Murder in Passy
  12. Murder at the Lantern Rouge
  13. Murder Below Montparnasse
  14. Murder in Pigalle (expected March 2014)