Cara Black’s Paris Mysteries

palaisroyalCara Black released her 10th Aimée Leduc investigation, Murder in the Palais Royal, earlier this month. To coincide with this event I was recently able to grill her about the series and her Paris inspirations, and discovered how being a writer can be compared to being a private investigator.

Q: A while ago I pondered the life of the private detective in Paris. Their world was a secret one I found impossible to penetrate until I discovered Cara Black and her Aimée Leduc alter-ego. Black has previously said that the crime novel is the perfect genre to allow her to explore the dark side of Paris, and she counts several of the city’s private detectives and police chiefs as friends. These contacts have enabled her to build her stories, one for each arrondissement in Paris, with inspiration from real-life cases. The perfect witness then to give me an insight into the mysterious profession of investigative sleuthing!

cara-black1Q: In your stories, Leduc Detectives are based in the Rue du Louvre. This however is also the address of perhaps the most famous real-life agency in the city, the similarly named Deluc Détective. Can you explain the links between the two and how you came to use this name and address?

A: Leduc Detective is indeed based on the Duluc Detective agency. It happened one day years ago when I was at the bus stop on Rue du Louvre. Across from me on the street was the wonderful neon thirties sign of Duluc and I’d been interviewing female detectives in Paris and thought why not this agency? I crossed the street, met Madame Duluc who inherited this agency from her father who himself had inherited it from his grandfather who’d started in the Suréte. She was very gracious and told me the history, the cases they work on and much more. I used the agency as a template for Leduc Detective; Aimée had a grandfather who’d started the agency and went from there. But when the publisher suggested we use another name for legal reasons I agreed.

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