Aimée Leduc is back in Cara Black's twelfth installment to her series set in Paris, France. This time, the female investigator is more motivated than ever. Her business partner, René, is determined to find and protect his girlfriend, Meize, when she disappears and a man is found dead, shrinkwrapped and carrying a picture of Meizi in his wallet.
Aimée has had misgivings about Meize and how quickly René has attached himself to her. So when she disappears, Aimée is not so sure she's innocent. René, on the other hand, will hear nothing about the possibilities of her involvement in the murder. But as Aimée begins investigating she finds herself in the middle of far more than a dead man in shrinkwrap, and it may even lead her to the one person she longs to find more than anyone - her mother.
Murder at the Lanterne Rouge is chock full of fascinating science that blends the past with the present, but it's also full of fascinating characters. The science focuses on the stain glass of ancient church windows, but the real color comes in the form of Black's characters. Aimée is a fashioniesta, as much as she can be - her bank account is a regular concern - but she loves sales. And she drives around on a pink Vespa. René is a dwarf and often Aimée's voice of reason. Meanwhile the third member of Leduc Detective Agency, Saj, keeps everyone's chi balanced.
Black weaves several plot lines together to keep the pace of the novel moving and constantly building suspense. Her obvious research into the scientific areas of fiber optics, stain glass, and the Knights Templar, works to make a complex concept understandable and thoroughly enjoyable for the layman. The movement of the novel is also physical as Aimée and René make their way around various part of Paris - especially Chinatown, bringing the geographic locations to life on the page.
Murder at the Lanterne Rouge is a solid P.I. novel with an unusual P.I. Black has put a unique twist on her approach to the genre and it works well.
Murder at the Lanterne Rouge is available from Soho Press in hardcover (ISBN: 978161695061) and from AudioGo on audio (ISBN: 9781609987718).