Murder in the Latin Quarter by Cara Black

By Cara Black

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And where was Mireille? The lilac scent of the breeze mingled with a tangy metallic odor. She rose, still gripping the stool by the leg, and edged past a wooden crate. Something glinted in the shadows behind the desk. It took a moment before she made out a design on the brick-colored tiles. A white powdery circle. She reached down to touch it, and her fingertips came back coated with rough granules. A circle of salt. The smell was stronger now. Sweet lilac mingling with the cloying metallic odor of blood.

The sharp ache she her-self felt, a knife-edged pain—wanting to know what had hap-pened to her own mother—never stopped. Zazie pushed another espresso toward her. “Paul’s got an allowance; he can pay you. Please, Aimée,” she pleaded. “No promises, Zazie. ” She pulled out a black lipstick tube, swiped Chanel Red across her lips and blotted them with a café napkin. Again, Aimée scanned the people walking by on the pavement. Still no Mireille. She heard another cry, more piercing this time, followed by the shattering of plates.

More likely a deadbeat dad who skipped out. ” “That’s the flics’ job, Zazie,” she said. ” Through the café’s window Aimée saw a flash of denim. But this woman was blonde. Not Mireille. “Paul won’t go to school. He’s waiting for his father. . ” Zazie paused, wide-eyed. “I saw his mother at the market, crying. You’re a detective. ” Aimée sighed, seeking an excuse. The sharp ache she her-self felt, a knife-edged pain—wanting to know what had hap-pened to her own mother—never stopped. Zazie pushed another espresso toward her.

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