This time out, Aimee Leduc finds herself involved in a case in Passy, one of the many neighborhoods which make up the city of Paris (although arrondissements sounds classier than neighborhoods). Her godfather, Commissaire Morbier, is worried about the new woman in his life, a person who has made him feel young again. Xavierre d’Eslay is a member of the uppermost level of the bourgeoisie although her roots are in the Basque region between Spain and France. Xavierre isn’t taking or returning any of his calls. He knows she is very busy preparing for her daughter’s wedding but Morbier isn’t blessed with self-confidence when dealing with the women in his life. He enlists Aimee’s help, asking her to speak to Xavierre just to make sure all is well between them.
Aimee arrives at the d’Eslay mansion at the tail end of her daughter’s rehearsal dinner. Xavierre doesn’t have time to talk to Aimee; something seems to have upset her and caused an early end to the party. Aimee realizes that whatever is bothering Xavierre has nothing to do with Morbier. She has pulled her partner, Rene Friant, along with her but as they prepare to leave, Aimee hears a noise and senses that she is being watched. A piece of Xavierre’s scarf is on the bushes and the woman herself is on the ground, strangled by the scarf.
Morbier is arrested quickly, case closed but neither Aimee nor Rene are going to leave that miscarriage of justice to determine this decent man’s fate. Morbier gets a message to Aimee, telling her not to trust anyone, especially the police, because there is a “leak”. Aimee doesn’t know to what “leak” refers but she soon learns that Xavierre was a member of the Basque group, ETA, when she was young. The political problem of Basque separatism is somehow involved in her death. French security is involved because ETA doesn’t discriminate between France and Spain – both are the enemy.
As with all the books in the series, MURDER IN PASSY takes off fast as Aimee and Rene try to prove Morbier had nothing to do with murder. French Security and ETA terrorists keep the Leduc Detective Agency always moving only one small step ahead.
There isn’t a book in the eleven book series that isn’t worth reading more than once. MURDER IN PASSY keeps the streak alive.
Cara Black and seven other authors, Timothy Hallinan, Leighton Gage, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Michael Sears and Stan Trollip (together writing as Michael Stanley), Dan Waddell, and Jeffrey Siger, each contribute a post each week to their blog, Murder Is Everywhere. Cara posted an engrossing and informative piece on the Basque movement that is worth reading and will make the Basque element in MURDER IN PASSY informative and explain the seriousness of the problem Aimee and Rene find themselves in.
The link to Cara’s blog post is http://murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com/2011/03/annie-girardot-and-basques.html