Soho, Apr 2003, 23.00, 288 pp.
In 1994 Paris, private investigator Aimee Leduc meets with client Vincent Csarda to try to convince him to hand over his hard drive to the Judiciare who are investigating a gunrunning firm that had dealings with his company. Vincent refuses and walks out of the restaurant. Aimee notices a cell phone left by another patron. She picks it up to return it when a call comes through. She answers the phone, but before she can say anything, a man pleads with the owner to meet him at a nearby alley. Being a Good Samaritan, Aimee goes there to give the man the phone only to be assaulted. She ends up in a hospital blind. The police believe that the serial killing Beast of Bastille tried to murder Aimee, but she knows better especially with a victim in the next alley who happened to own the cell phone.
Unable to see, Aimee relies on her computer genius partner, four-foot Rene Friant as her eyes. The pair work together on the two cases. Desperately trying to persuade Vincent to cooperate hits one stone wall after another. Seeking her assailant is dangerous whether she waits for the man to finish the job or goes after him.
The key to the delightful Leduc mysteries is Paris as the added slight touches of French culture makes the tour feel more authentic leading the non-French audience to believe they need a passport. On top of the city lights (and dark spots) readers obtain a strong who-done-it while Aimee adapts to the loss of sight. Though much of the villainy seems old chapeau, Aimee and her partner make for a wonderful investigative tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner