France

Jardin des Tuileries, Paris ©ruedevarenne.com

Please note, I’ve included affiliate links to books I’ve read and enjoyed.

 

Murder in the Marais, Cara Black

In this first book of Cara Black’s Aimeé Leduc detective series Aimee must delve into events of WWII to solve a 1990s anti-Semitic hate crime. Each book of the series is set in a different neighborhood and offers a wonderfully vivid sense of its uniqueness within Paris. One of the reasons I enjoy this series is that the central theme of each mystery centers and elaborates upon a historical or social issue.

 

 

Murder in Saint-Germain, Cara Black

In book seventeen of Cara Black’s Aimeé Leduc detective series Aimee must hunt for a Serbian war criminal thought to be dead. Is he alive or is she chasing a ghost? Each book of the series is set in a different neighborhood and offers a wonderfully vivid sense of its uniqueness within Paris. One of the reasons I enjoy this series is that the central theme of each mystery centers and elaborates upon a historical or social issue.

 

 

A Corner in the Marais: Memoir of a Paris Neighborhood,  Alex Karmel

In this expatriation memoir, Karmel tells the story of moving into and furnishing a pied-à-terre, or small apartment, in Paris. Although the many cultural differences are fascinating, I especially enjoyed the tale of his 14th century building, which he traced through historical documents. Karmel also offers a rich history of the Marais neighborhood and its evolution over the centuries. On several of my trips I’ve visited his corner and looked up, offering a  little wave.
 

The Portrait, Antoine Laurain

An antiques collector purchases an eighteenth century pastel portrait of a man at auction, which he believes looks just like him. This sets off a chain of events from which there is no return. Laurain, who once worked for an antiques dealer, describes the objects, their history, and a collector’s quirks and obsessions masterfully. In this, his first novel, he sets his style of presenting flawed but relatable characters at the point of a moral crossroads. There is an air of magical realism in his fiction though it is rooted in the present. I devour Laurain’s books in just a couple of days and think of them for months. This would be a wonderful gift for anyone who treasures antiques.

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