Crime Fiction Friday: “Lena” by Preston Lang

 

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  • Selected and Introduced by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

With it being International Crime Fiction Month, we will be offering some selections from Akashic Press’ Mondays Are Murder blog series. The series challenges authors to write a short crime story under 750 words with a distinct setting. First we stop off at Heathrow Airport with Preston Lang’s tale of con artist correspondence.

“Lena” by Preston Lang

My dear. My sweetest intimate. I long to be with you. We will touch with a profound fondness. You are the house of my soul. I count on you to send the funds so that we may be together—85,000 United States Dollars….”

Read the rest of the story.

MysteryPeople Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

  • Review by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

9781101985526Meg Gardiner takes the Zodiac killer into the 21st century with her (frankly) terrifying new thriller, UNSUB. Now represented by Shane Salerno’s Story Factory, Gardner’s already signed a deal with CBS to turn UNSUB into a series, and when you sit down to read this pulse-pounding thriller, you’ll immediately understand why. Gardiner’s escalating violence, well-crafted characters, and creative murder scenes will keep you turning the pages as fast as you can (and staying up later than you should – but hey! It’s summer!).

The start of a new series, UNSUB models its Mercury-obsessed murderer off of one of the most eternally befuddling unsolved killers in US history – the Zodiac Killer. Caitlin Hendrix’s father failed to catch a serial killer known as the Prophet during his time in the force, and now it’s Caitlin’s turn to track down the vicious predator when the Prophet resumes his murderous activity after a twenty year hiatus. Unsure if she’s chasing the original killer or a copycat, Caitlin’s sure of one thing – she was born to solve this case. Hendrix and The Prophet play a game of cat and mouse, switching roles back and forth as the Prophet gets personal with his messages to Caitlin, elevating their relationship to nemesis status and heightening the tension of their inevitable confrontation.

This time, the technology has evolved almost as much as the witness statements. Armed with new information and better weaponry, Caitlin works with her colleagues, her father, and some surprisingly effective civilian assistants to track down her ever-more-vicious target. Caitlin must bring together the analogue files of the first investigation with the digital speculation of internet message boards for a fascinating look at the puzzle-like aspects of an investigation. Meanwhile, the killer has access to just as much new technology, putting neither cops nor criminals at a complete advantage.

Caitlin shines as a strong lead, a fine addition to Meg Gardiner’s pantheon of powerful female protagonists. Her single-minded dedication to her case gets her in plenty of trouble in her personal life, but she also makes good use of her friends, family and community to keep her sanity and solve the case. Gardiner’s work is filled with brief appearances by scene-stealing characters who we get to know far better than the word count might suggest, and while I appreciate Gardiner’s leads, I like her quirky secondary characters best. UNSUB is no exception – Caitlin recruits a cheery housewife with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Prophet and the message boards dedicated to his work; the contrast between her bubbly demeanor, dark obsessions, and heroic behavior was at turns charming, admirable and amusing to read.

Meg Gardiner writes thrillers, pure and simple; if you like the genre, you’ll adore her latest. Gruesome murders, creative killers, heart-pounding chase sequences, and poisonous explosions together check off many of my summer-read boxes. Realistic characters, quirky interactions, beautiful language and careful plotting elevate this one to a classic-thriller-in-the-making, perfect for these paranoid times.

Meg Gardiner joins us for the official book launch of UNSUB on Monday, June 26th at 7 PM. We’ll have copies of UNSUB for sale a day earlier than the official release date of June 27th – if you’d like an early bird copy of UNSUB, pre-order now or come by on Monday, the 27th.  She’ll be in conversation with Jeff Abbott, so those who’d like to meet Austin’s two most eminent thrillerists, come on by for what promises to be a fascinating evening. 

A Dangerous Game of Espionage: MysteryPeople Q&A with Barry Lancet

  • Interview by MysteryPeople Contributor Scott Butki

Barry Lancet has done it again: he’s written another thriller that crosses from America to Japan to North Korea and China, educating readers about cultural and political issues in the four nations.

The Spy Across the Table is Lancet’s fourth in his series about Jim Brodie, who works as an expert on Japanese art (often selling it to rich Americans) and runs a detective agency in Japan that he inherited from his father. As with the other books in the series there’s plenty of hooks, twist and surprises in addition to a variety of interesting characters.

One of the things I like about Lancet’s series is he has a section in the back of each book called About Authenticity, separating truth from fiction. As a former journalist who likes his fact and fiction kept separate this is a move I’d like to see more writers doing.

As this book starts Brodie has arranged for one of his American friends to meet a Japanese friend of Brodie’s. After their meeting, both are found murdered. Despite his shock, Brodie pursues the killer and others responsible, a chase that will take him across several countries. Meanwhile, the First Lady, a college roommate of one of the victims, enlists Brodie to find the killer.

Lancet was kind enough to be interviewed for his new book. I previously interviewed him here for his prior book, Pacific Burn

Scott Butki: How did you come up with this story for this book?

Barry Lancet: I asked myself what’s keeping me up at night? As an American expat living in Tokyo on the far edge of the Pacific, I didn’t have far to look. The North Koreans were once again rattling their sabers and spouting off about going nuclear, while the Chinese were grabbing new territory, paving over uninhabited atolls to build airstrips. Everyone in Asia was on edge, though the rest of the world paid attention only sporadically. That was 18 months ago. I had no idea that these two countries would soon be grabbing major U.S. headlines as they have of late.

SB: Would you set the stage for readers?

BL: Jim Brodie is at the Kennedy Center in D.C., attending a special performance of a Kabuki theater troupe from Tokyo. He introduces his Hollywood set-designer college buddy to the renowned Tokyo stage designer of the Kabubi show, who Brodie also knows. As Brodie takes in the play, his two friends go backstage to talk shop and are inexplicably gunned down.

Brodie goes into shock and vows, using all his connections in the U.S. and Japan, to track down the killer, then unexpectedly finds himself dragged into a dangerous game of espionage. Trying to sort through the intrigue, he stumbles onto a covert plot by North Korea and China to grab the personal secrets of America’s most influential leaders—secrets so damaging the foreign governments will stop at nothing to get them.

SB: I last interviewed you for Pacific Burn, which alternated between the U.S. and Japan. What made you decide for this one to also include action in North Korea and China?

BL: I wanted to pull away the curtain and show readers what’s really going on in North Korea and China. How and why the countries are at loggerheads. I also wanted to lay out the nightmarish plight of every North Korean defector once he or she decides to escape. For starters.

SB How did you research this book, especially the North Korea and China parts?

BL: I visited South Korea for the fourth time and went to the DMZ, a frightening place. It’s worse than the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie were. There’s a sequence in the book that captures the intensity of the place. I talked to experts on North Korea. And, of course, I made the rounds in Japan as well. I toyed with the idea of going to North Korea but everyone in Japan talked me out of it, since snatching American visitors seems to have become a new North Korean pastime.

SB: How similar are you to the protagonist, Jim Brodie?

BL: We both speak Japanese. We both have gotten into our share of scrapes. We have many of the same interests (travel, art, a general curiosity about most things). His daughter is younger than mine, and I have a son as well. He has fewer fillings than me…I think.

SB: For your last book you mentioned that “many readers have told me that they learn something along the way, and they’re happy. For me, I offer that as a bonus to what I hope is an intriguing, fast-paced story.” Are there educational parts in this book? Do you try to keep it historically accurate?

BL: Yes to both questions, but it’s all woven into the meat of the story and I promise you it’s painless. Through Brodie’s eyes, you’ll be able to get inside the head of the Chinese and North Koreans and into the two countries’ extraordinarily tense relationship. There are plenty of surprises.

SB: What would you hope readers take away from this book?

BL: First and foremost, I want to write an entertaining story. Along the way I add things I’ve seen in my travels and life abroad. I hope some of the deeper details will resonate long after they close the book.

SB: I understand you have a planned Brodie back story? What’s the status of that one?

BL: It’s in the works. It’ll answer a number of lingering questions, such as the last days of Brodie’s father in Tokyo, how the top yakuza enforcer known as TNT came to be in Brodie’s debt, and much more

SB: What’s the status of a movie adaptation of one of your books?

BL: Abrams held onto the option for two years for a proposed TV series, then he was swallowed whole by the Star Wars franchise and rumor has it that only his doppleganger has been sighted since. At the moment, my agent is in touch with another Hollywood producer, though I haven’t signed on the dotted line as yet.

SB: What are you working on next?

BL: Aside from the Brodie prequel, I’m working on a standalone novel with a new main character, living in a new place and wrapped up in an entirely different world.

You can find copies of The Spy Across the Table on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

Check out Scott Butki’s blog for more interviews with great mystery writers. 

MysteryPeople Q&A with Don Winslow

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

This week fans of crime fiction or good fiction in general will be hitting bookstores in droves for Don Winslow’s eagerly awaited masterpiece (and our MysteryPeople Pick Of The Month) The Force. This story – both intimate and epic – focuses on Denny Malone, a New York cop who heads up an elite unit and who’s corrupt practices catch up with him. The book gives a detailed view of today’s New York through police eyes. Don was kind enough to talk to us about the book and the world that inspired it.

 

MysteryPeople Scott: The Force shares some DNA with Seventies-era NYPD books and films like Serpico, Prince Of The City, and The Seven Ups. What was the main difference of the of the police force at that period and the post 9-11 one you write about?

Don Winslow: I was really influenced by both the books and the films of The French Connection, Serpico and Prince of the City. They’re part of the reason I became a crime writer. In some ways, things haven’t changed – police work is still police work and cops are still cops. But 9/11 did change things, especially in New York City. As the primary target of that attack, the city shifted a lot of resources from organized crime to anti-terrorism. Because of that the Mafia, which had been on the verge of extinction, made something of a comeback. Another major change has been one that has impacted society as a whole – computer-generated data. Police have largely adopted the ‘metrics’ that we see in business and sports, using sophisticated crime statistics to assign personnel, patrols and other resources to high-crime areas. The other major change is also technologically driven – the rise of personal cameras in mobile phones. Police used to work in relative obscurity, but now everyone is a journalist, putting police under an intense public scrutiny which has changed the public perception of police. Police shootings and brutality have always existed – the difference now is that they’re on social media.

“Police used to work in relative obscurity, but now everyone is a journalist, putting police under an intense public scrutiny which has changed the public perception of police. Police shootings and brutality have always existed – the difference now is that they’re on social media.”

MPS: It may be unfair, but you’re often associated with Southern California. Did the New York setting effect your writing or the story any different?

DW: I don’t think it’s unfair, I love Southern California. However, I was born in New York, have worked in New York at various times during my life, usually on the street. So those streets and alleys are part of my DNA as a writer. I was on those streets long before I was on the beach. I’ve always wanted to write a New York cop book. But of course location affects style – the language – the music, if you will – of SoCal and NYC are very different and I wanted to make sure I had the voice right, the feel right. It had to be more clipped, more terse, edgier, tighter. It wasn’t hard – New York City is extremely evocative for me, I hear that voice, that music, in my mind.

MPS: You really feel the lives and the world of these policemen. What kind of research did you do?

DW: In some ways I’ve been researching this book my whole life. I’ve worked with cops, hung out with cops, with their families. I used to frequent a few bars in New York where you couldn’t turn around without bumping into an off-duty cop. But specifically for the book I talked to cops, sat down for drinks and dinners. I went out on the streets with them. I listened to their stories, their frustrations, their victories and defeats, their hopes, their disappointments, their fears. I read a lot of books, a lot of journalism. And I spent time in New York, prowling the neighborhoods in which the book is set.

MPS: Denny is a character full of contradictions. As a writer, how do you approach a character like that, so they don’t read like inconsistencies?

DW: A cop’s life is full of contradictions. They both love and hate the public they serve. They’ll break the law to uphold the law. They’ll commit violence on some people to save others from violence. If they’re undercover, they often feel more connected to their targets than their bosses. Denny is more conflicted than most, but it’s the conflicts that make him interesting for a writer. I don’t find the conflicts difficult to write because internal conflict is part of the human condition. We always torn between our best and worst instincts, but it usually isn’t a simple matter of choosing good or evil. Sometimes we’re tempted to do ‘bad’ things on the service of a greater good – a constant struggle for cops. The difficult characters to write are the ones with no conflicts, no internal contradictions. They become monochromatic, robots. And I tend to push back against this demand for consistency. I think editors are more concerned about that than readers. Readers get it – people are complex, we do contradictory things. It drives me nuts when editors ask me, especially about a criminal character. “Why would he do that? It makes no sense?” Prisons are full of people who have done things that make no sense. Believe, I’ve talked with a lot of them. I’ve knows guys who escaped when they had literally a few weeks left to serve. You ask them why and they shrug. I know one who robbed a gas station on his way home from prison, twenty minutes after he’d been released. Why? Shrug.

“I’ve always wanted to write a New York cop book. But of course location affects style – the language – the music, if you will – of SoCal and NYC are very different and I wanted to make sure I had the voice right, the feel right. It had to be more clipped, more terse, edgier, tighter. It wasn’t hard – New York City is extremely evocative for me, I hear that voice, that music, in my mind.”

MPS: The main drug in the book is heroin, which is coming back. Has the return of the old narcotic changed the narcotics trade at all?

DW: Yeah, ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. The heroin trade is the same as it was before in the sense that it relies on prohibition to produce a profit. So when marijuana was universally illegal, it was a profitable drug to export. When it was legalized in several states, the profit went out of it and the cartels turned back to heroin, largely because the market had already been created by pharmaceutical opioids and the cartel could undercut by lowering price and increasing quality. The heroin trade has changed in the sense that the drug being produced now is more potent than it was before. An addict can get high for less of the drug and less money, but the danger lies in the heightened danger of overdose. Also, the cartels are competing to raise the potency of their product, so they’re increasingly mixing in fentanyl – increasing the potency by a factor of fifty –and other synthetic drugs. In the past few months, for instance, we’re seeing elephant tranquilizers mixed with heroin. So an addict who thinks that he or she is shooting one product might be shooting something much stronger, which is why we’re seeing an explosion in the number of overdose fatalities. The current chaos in the Mexican drug world, a by-product of the demise of Joaquin Guzman and the Sinaloa Cartel, means that there will be no product consistency (as we saw, for instance, with methamphetamine when the cartel took it over) for the foreseeable future.

MPS: What do you hope people who read The Force take away about the police?

DW: It goes back to your question about contradictions. Society demands that police do contradictory things: We want perfect security at the same time that we want absolute privacy; we want the police to protect us from vicious people by using the techniques of saints; we want them to enforce some laws and ignore others; we want them to be incorruptible in a sea of corruption. The contradictory demands are impossible.
I hope that readers see that the demands have a real effect – cop genuinely feel things, (even as they’re forced to pretend that they don’t) they take their work home with them. Day after day they deal with the worst parts of our society, they do the things that we don’t want to do, and it takes a toll.

You can find copies of Winslow’s latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

MysteryPeople Q&A with Jen Conley

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Jen Conley is one of the hardest working writers in crime fiction. An editor on the famed (or is that infamous) webzine Shotgun Honey, she had been knocking out some of the best short work out there, and has the admiration of both readers and her peers alike. Her work follows working class folks on both (and in-between both) sides of the law, examining morality when lives veer far from plans. This is encapsulated in her widowed patrol officer Andrea Vogel, who she has used in several stories. Last year a collection of her work, Cannibals, was released by Down & Out Books. We caught up with Jen to discuss the art of the short story, character, and her stomping ground.

MysteryPeople Scott: While you have many great twists in your work and the internal logic of your stories is perfect, character is the over riding element that drives them. Do you think the people you write about share something in common?

Jen Conley: Probably survival. All my characters are strapped by finances, whether I point that out or not, and getting through life is difficult for them. The lack of money straps people of choices and when you throw a crime in there, a moment where something might get screwed up, there’s a chance there’s no coming back from that.

MPS: Is there a story in the collection that is particularly close to your heart?

JC: I would say “Debbie the Hero.”

When I first started writing short stories, I was drawn towards male characters. But as I kept writing, I moved closer to female characters and female topics. I wouldn’t say Debbie is a tough character but she’s a woman caught in the changes of society. She came of age in the 1970s, when women were fighting for equality and the right to choose, but at the same time, there was that old school view that women were supposed to yield to their men. After all, when they were first married, Debbie’s husband bought their house without consulting her. This, to me, is completely foreign for my generation but I think it wasn’t foreign at all for many women of the baby boomer generation, even the younger baby boomers, which is what Debbie is. And now she is faced with a choice of whether to help her granddaughter, an eighth grader, get an abortion or not. Debbie’s daughter, Lauren, is suddenly against abortion and this not only surprises Debbie, but confuses her. It’s as if Debbie is confused that her own daughter has sort of acquiesced to the new boyfriend, someone who has probably bought into this new right wing view of a woman’s place in the world. I think Debbie is a woman caught in the confusion of women’s roles and she has to decide to whether she’s in her right to overstep Lauren to save her granddaughter or to let Lauren, whom she thinks isn’t a good mother, make the decision. The other underlining thread is that Debbie realizes her own daughter is actually a terrible parent and I think that in itself is a heartbreaking realization. So it’s not really a crime story in the traditional sense but more a crime story in the ethical and moral sense. And because as a writer I’m completely driven by the question, “What is the moral answer?” I think this story sums up how I feel about not only my characters but my own life, and that makes it close to my heart.

MPS: Officer Andrea Vogel is the lead is several of these stories. What makes her a character worth coming back to?

JC: I actually just roughly outlined a novel about her. It took me a long time to come up with an arc but finally I figured it out and I think I never gave up because I like her so much. I think I keep going back to her because she is stoic and tough, someone who has a lot of compassion but also extremely lidded with her emotions. I’ve always been fascinated with stoic people, people who don’t reveal too much of themselves and I guess I find her almost mysterious.

MPS: As well as a writer you edit for the online crime zine Shotgun Honey. How do both of those sides influence you?

JC: I think reading other people’s stories is always a great way to improve on your writing. Good writing rises to the top and I think because I read so many stories, I’ve come to understand the difference between a great story, a good story, an adequate story, and a bad story. The other thing is that when I see a story with real potential, I can usually figure out quickly what can be done to tweak it to make it better. It’s almost like I’m training myself for what works and what doesn’t.

MPS: You work is often set in your home state of New Jersey. What do you want your readers to know about it?

JC: It’s difficult to write about New Jersey because you are fighting some pretty old stereotypes about the state. We’re rude, we’re loud, we all have mob connections, we all live near a toxic waste dump…Actually, that last part isn’t far off. I write about where I grew up and still live, Ocean County. It’s pretty blue collar and middle class, but also almost rural and backwoods. It’s such an odd mix of second and third generation of former New Yorkers and people from North Jersey but also old timers, Pineys as they are known. New Jersey has become so expensive to live in that Ocean County feels like the last of the blue collar worlds that used to surround Manhattan. I don’t agree at all with the popular right wing political views of this area—I get very frustrated and I’ve gotten into my share of arguments with former classmates online—but I do feel there is a grittiness and authenticity that is fading away in many parts of the state as it gets more and more gentrified.

However, in my opinion, I think “Jersey Shore” definitely hit the nail on the head. Seaside has always been like that in some form or another.

MPS: What do you think the key to a good short crime story is?

JC: Character. As a reader, I can’t go forward with a story if I don’t have a connection to the main character. I’m not one who likes too many twists and turns in a story. I like things to stay in reality. I think a good crime story bases itself in the lack of choices the main character is presented with. Where they have to make—and here I return to my go-to—the moral decision. I like to sink into someone’s world, into their mind, and then I like to see their views tested. I like character flaws but I don’t always like the usual. I like when a character is almost broken and when they are either trying to solve a crime or they are committing one, I want to see their soul. I guess even in a crime story I want to be moved somehow. I want to care.

You can find copies of Jen Conley’s Cannibals on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

The Hard Word Book Club Spends the Summer with Parker

 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

One of our three mystery book clubs here at the store, and the only one dedicated to hardboiled and noir fiction, gets rougher than ever this summer. The Hard Word Book Club has decided to bookend the the summer with the toughest heistman in history. Donald Westlake planned to end the literary life of his ice-cold robber Parker, written under the pseudonym, Richard Stark, in 1974, then decided to bring him back in 1994. We’ll be doing the aptly titled Comeback in August. For this month, it’s the supposed swan song, Butcher’s Moon.

In Butcher’s Moon, the author wraps up loose ends and throws a larcenous reunion. Parker and his partner Grofeld return to the amusement park where Parker had to hide their loot in the book Slayground. When they find it missing, Parker figures the local mob took it. When the badder guys capture Grofeld when they attempt to get it back, Parker takes it personal and calls in every reliable hood he’s worked with to rob the organization, get his partner, and get revenge.

One of the darkest in the series, Butcher’s Moon shows Parker in a different light. We will discuss the book, the series up to that point, and heist novels in general. Join us on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday June 28th at 7PM. The book is 10% off to those who plan to attend. Return August 30th for Comeback.

The Hard Word Book Club meets to discuss Butcher’s Moon on Wednesday, June 28th at 7 PM on BookPeople’s third floor. You can find copies of Butcher’s Moon on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

You can find copies of Comeback on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

MysteryPeople Q&A with Cara Black

Cara Black joins us here at BookPeople to speak and sign her latest Leduc Investigation, Murder in Saint-Germain, this Monday, June 12th at 7 PM. You can find copies of her latest on our shelves and via bookpeople.comCara Black was kind enough to answer a few questions about her latest before her upcoming event.

*Warning: those who have not yet finished Murder on the Champs de Mars will find a spoiler in the following interview, although there are no spoilers as to the contents of Black’s latest. 

She’s a Parisian. Politics and discussion are in the air all the time. She doesn’t trust the government, the police or sometimes her concierge but she’d do her civic duty because she’d like liberté, égalité and fraternité to be real!

Molly Odintz: Your previous novel in the series, Murder on the Quai, was a prequel, and the book before that in the series, Murder on the Champs de Mars, left readers with a bit of a cliffhanger after a shocking denouement! Was it tricky to figure out how to continue the series and keep up the momentum with Murder in Saint-Germain?

Cara Black: Good question! After the denouement in Murder on the Champs de Mars, I didn’t know what would happen to the characters. This was a game changer. But I had no clue where to go. My editor Juliet said that’s a perfect time to write a prequel and explore Aimée’s origins, how she became a detective, got her dog Miles Davis and meeting her future business partner René. Take her back to 1989 and her year in pre-med and when her father was alive so we finally get to meet him after hearing about him in so many books.

For Murder in Saint-Germain, the challenge was to forge ahead in Aimée’s ‘present’ life in 1999, her real time, and see how she was dealing with being a single mama, having an eight month old and balancing work and the man in her life. And still be a fashionista. But once I started, I just picked up with her life and put her in a hot rainy July on the Left Bank working at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and with her baby sitter going on vacation; then the story took off.

MO: Murder in Saint-Germain has Aimée Leduc juggling a number of different cases, including an investigation into Balkan war criminals, a private security concern, and her continuing investigation into her parents’ secrets. How did you balance all her different cases, and what was your inspiration for these interlocking cases?

CB: Yes, it seemed like a balancing act, but then after being a mother I understood those pushes and pulls. After all Aimée has to butter the family baguette by taking on projects and running her business, her everyday world if you will. Nothing in life or work can be counted on to run smoothly, as I found out in my own experience, and you do the best you can. On top of this work at Ecole des Beaux Arts, where she dips into a scandal, the primary story came from a top female policewoman (I’d met) who’d worked in an elite squad and served on an international team from the Hague to investigate war crimes in the Balkans. This woman fascinated me and as respected and proficient as she was, her time there traumatized her. I knew that Aimée would owe a big favor to a woman in a similar position and do her best while trying to manage everything else in her busy life. Her parent’s secrets well…more to come!

MO: France has just emerged from a contentious election, with more votes for the far right than in Aimée’s time (and the heyday of the elder Le Pen). What would Aimée think about French politics in the moment?

CB: Zut alors! She’s a Parisian. Politics and discussion are in the air all the time. She doesn’t trust the government, the police or sometimes her concierge but she’d do her civic duty because she’d like liberté, égalité and fraternité to be real!

MO: I liked getting to know the younger Aimée in Murder on the Quai, but was pleased to explore the mature Aimée’s life once more, including her complicated relationships with Melac, Morbier and with her new bebe. How have the birth of Aimée’s new baby and the death of her father changed her character?

CB: She’s developed, as she’s needed to, grown up – mostly – and motherhood has changed her. Given her another view into life, relationships and try to cope with the loss of her father, which has still left a big hole in her life. She thinks about what he taught her, how he’d show her a way and that is how she keeps his memory alive and what she can impart of him to her own daughter.

MO: Aimée has a cell phone, but she’s still cut off from using many of the technologies we take for granted today, although she’s on the cutting edge of tech for her time period. Do you plan to take her far enough into the 21st century that she has to use the internet? Has she ever used Minitel services to solve a case?

CB: She’s used the Minitel. So has her partner, René and they still use dial up because it’s the 90’s. But René, a computer hacker geek, is kind of genius at what he does and his friends in Zeelakon Vallee (Silicon Valley) send him stuff to beta test ie a precursor of Google maps in Murder on the Champs de Mars.

MO: You’re recently returned from a trip to Paris – were you researching your next Leduc investigation?

CB: Yes, and I’m excited about the next story!

Cara Black joins us here at BookPeople to speak and sign her latest Leduc Investigation, Murder in Saint-Germain, this Monday, June 12th at 7 PM. We’ll also be discussing her first in the series, Murder in the Maraisat the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club on Monday, June 19th, at 1 PM on BookPeople’s third floor.