Murder on the Champ de Mars
An Aimée Leduc Investigation #15
Soho Crime, March 2015
Returning to work after a maternity leave, Aimée Leduc becomes too busy to really care for her six-month-old daughter. To begin with, she undertakes a surveillance job, occupying her evenings. Then she becomes involved in a personal investigation involving gypsies in the belief she can discover the identity of the murderer of her father 10 years before. And to top it off, she has to fend off her former lover who, with his new wife, is attempting to wrest possession of her baby from her.
As in all the novels in the series, this one takes place in one area of Paris, the seventh arrondissnent, home to the Parisian elite, the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides. Such a setting gives the author an opportunity to give the reader a glimpse into the seats of power in the ministries and embassies, the homes and gardens of the upper crust as she pursues her quest to uncover the facts surrounding her father’s death.
One criticism: The reader is swamped with too much in the way of couture, lipstick applications and other frilly descriptions which slow down the progress in what is a first-rate mystery. Also, the surveillance seems to be an afterthought, just to prove that the Leduc Detective Agency actually exists, and is never really developed. That notwithstanding, the novel is recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, November 2015.
Season of Fear
A Cab Bolton Thriller #2
Quercus, March 2015
In the present political climate, a novel that reflects the types of misinformation and downright lies which proliferate would have been welcome. This novel promised an insight into the machinations of political operatives, parties and candidates, but instead turns out to be a murder mystery with a somewhat questionable conclusion.
The book brings back for the second time Cab Bolton, sometime private detective whose mother is a well-known Hollywood star, and friend of Diane Birch, candidate for governor with a secret or two to hide. Ten years earlier, at a political rally, her husband (then a gubernatorial candidate) and two others were murdered. And now, a decade later, history is about to repeat itself. In between, a few more people are killed. The only element of mystery: Is it a right-wing conspiracy or not?
There are some indications of how politicians think and political parties operate, but really these are superficial. The conclusion appeared artificial to this reader, and unlikely. One other criticism: I found the writing at times is too flowery and heavy, slowing this reader down. But over-all, the story progresses well and is recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, September 2015.