Alyson's Reviews > Murder in Belleville

Murder in Belleville by Cara Black
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's review
Feb 15, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction, mystery

A casual but enjoyable spin through the richly mixed culture of Parisian streets and comically bureaucratic French institutions. The reader rides on the back of the moped of an unfortunately cliched heroine whose regular gig as a computer systems security analyst promises an interesting high-tech dimension but too often, for the tech-savvy reader, serves up implausible hand waving and applied phlebotinum. What kept me turning the pages were the lively descriptions of Paris and the weaving of its history and unique flavor into the plot. But the protagonist is so close in every way but geography to those of other mystery series (e.g., Evanovich's or Grafton's spunky, single female detective with a troubled childhood, poor eating habits, and commitment issues, and who, propelled by her own pluck, tends to turn herself into the Designated Victim) that it was hard not to compare them at every chapter and have Cara Black come out the lesser writer. This one is for fans of French culture, light mysteries, and nervy women who pick locks, lose the tailing car, and can't decide if they prefer sleeping alone or not.
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