Murder in Belleville is the second mystery in Cara Black’s exciting, Paris-based series featuring the sassy, half-American, half-French Aimée Leduc. Once again, Leduc is drawn away from her regular job providing corporate security to solve a murder mystery, this one involving illegal Algerian immigrants and the car-bombing of a cabinet minister’s mistress.
There is more to the story and the narrative flows much more smoothly than Black’s debut novel, Murder in the Marais. But the plot gets needlessly confusing, with not enough explained until a rush at the end. Some of the scenes are even irritatingly difficult to picture, in a spacial sense. For instance, when a backup set of bad guys show up while Leduc is in the middle of a confrontation with their boss, it is not clear just where the new men are located. Are they close enough for Leduc to touch? Close enough to shoot her? Or just within her line of sight? Trying to figure out things like that takes the reader out of the story.
But the book is still entertaining and Leduc is a fun, feisty heroine. The kinks of the first two get ironed out by the third in the series, Murder in the Sentier, when Black seems to hit her stride, hinting at better things to come in the other nine books of the series.
If you would like your review of this book or any of Cara Black's other books, please leave a comment with a link and I will list it here.
This counts as my France choice for the European Reading Challenge. It also knocks another one off my TBR Challenges. It has been on my TBR shelf, and my French Connections list, for several years.