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.

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