I finished Cara Black’s Murder in the Marais. This book has a wonderful sense of place, perhaps as strong and specific as that of Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series. Knowing relatively little about the history of Paris, particularly in World War II aside from the highlights taught in survey classes, I found the background to the murders and the neighborhood dynamic to be fascinating.
It is, I believe, the first book in a mystery series with Aimee Leduc as protagonist. I’m ambivalent about Aimee: she seems very careless of her own personal safety, which makes for an interesting adventure novel but also verges on TSTL sometimes. Although perhaps it is not appropriate to import that comparison or standard to a mystery or suspense novel where personal risk is an inherent element of the plot?
Even so, I’ll be keeping an eye out for other books in the series.
I also skimmed The Abortionist’s Daughter. I can’t remember where or when I bought this book. Or maybe I acquired it at a conference. In any case, I was expecting more mystery and suspense; while the Bad Guy was revealed in the end, he was pretty predictable. And I found the title character, Megan, the daughter of the dead abortion provider, to be a not very sympathetic character: impulsive, selfish, unable to think outside of herself, not as smart or unique as she thought herself. But I suppose most people are like that at 19. None of the characters were particularly sympathetic actually; even the victim, who was admirable in many ways, was hard to find sympathetic when seen through the eyes of the other characters.
Robin McKinley’s Chalice, Ilona Andrews’ Steel’s Edge, and Meljean Brook’s Demon Blood are next on my list for the 50 page test. Chalice is…not engaging me right now. After these three, I’m going to take a hard look at my collection of categories, including most of the back lists of Robyn Donald and Susan Napier.