An Essay by Cara Black
So many books, so little time, they say. I grew up reading. My writing journey began with a detective, Aimée Leduc, who is now celebrating a book birthday of sorts - it’s been twenty years since Aimée Leduc’s first investigation.
To me, these 5 Paris based mysteries, novels, autobiographies, and off the beaten track guides make an essential booklist about Paris. Not the beret and baguette stereotype. Some are classics, many are vintage, a few not as well known as they should be. I’ve read and re-read these over the years and hope you might enjoy finding another side of the City of Light as I have.
1) Maigret and the Headless Corpse by Georges Simenon - My father read Simenon religiously and I found these slim Inspector Maigret novels engrossing. But The Headless Corpse hit me because I stayed on the canal where the story took place. I’ve never looked at Canal Saint Martin the same again.
2) The New Paris by Lindsey Tramuta - When I need an update on Paris - here’s the refresh. Here’s the latest in the rapidly evolving worlds of food, wine, pastry, coffee, beer, fashion, and design. Tramuta’s curated a directory of favorite places to eat, drink, stay, and shop. Trés au courant.
3) Walks Through Lost Paris by Leonard Pitt - I bring this book to Paris. It’s a must. The book plunges into Paris’s history focusing on then and now Paris and the effects Haussmann’s urban redesign made on today’s Paris. Replete with amazing photos.
4) The Occupation Trilogy by Patrick Modiano - OK, this is fudging it with three books! Modiano won the Nobel prize for Literature for his body of work and this trilogy is a good introduction. Born in 1945 of an actress mother and Jewish black-marketer father it’s a darker side of Paris. Haunting, incredibly descriptive and evocative of a lost time and a boy’s lost childhood.
Meet Cara Black at Books Inc. in Palo Alto on June 4 at 7:00 pm celebrating 20 years of Aimée Leduc!
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Published: Soho Crime - June 4th, 2019