Murder on the Champ de Mars

BOOK: Murder on the Champ de Mars
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ALSO BY THE AUTHOR

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Murder in the Rue de Paradis
Murder in the Latin Quarter
Murder in the Palais Royal
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Murder Below Montparnasse
Murder in Pigalle

WIN A KILLER TRIP TO
PARIS
WITH
CARA BLACK
SWEEPSTAKES

In order to enter the Soho Press “Win a Killer Trip to Paris” sweepstakes you must fill out an entry form at
www.sohopress.com/champ/
The form must be filled out completely. Questions? Email us at
Killertrip@​sohopress.​com
By submitting via the above link or one of the entry forms available at Official Cara Black Events and participating libraries
and bookstores you will be entered in the Soho Press “Win a Killer Trip to Paris” sweepstakes. Spend a week in Paris with
Cara Black and trace the footsteps of her celebrated Private Investigator, Aimée Leduc.
Official contest rules and information can be found at the back of this book.
Contest runs from March 3rd, 2015 through April 30th, 2015. Entries received after April 30th, 2015 will not be considered.
The winner will be announced on May 20th, 2015 following a random drawing.
For details on the trip please go to
www.​parisis​formurder.​com
.

Copyright © 2015 by Cara Black

All rights reserved.

Published by
Soho Press, Inc.
853 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Black, Cara
Murder on the Champ de Mars / Cara Black.

ISBN 978-1-61695-286-0
eISBN 978-1-61695-287-7
1. Leduc, Aimee (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Women private investigators—France—Paris—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3552.L297M87 2015 813′.54—dc23
2014044512

v3.1

In memory of Romain Gary, who introduced me to rue du Bac and espresso.

For the victims of
Porajmos
, as
gens du voyage
call the Holocaust, and as always for the ghosts.

When the road bends, it’s hard to walk straight.

—ROMANY PROVERB

Champ de Mars

Paris, April 1999 · Sunday, Late Afternoon

A
IMÉE
L
EDUC CLIPPED
the French military GPS tracker to the wheel well, straightened up and gasped, seeing the Peugeot’s owner standing in the shadowy Marais courtyard. So much for being
très discrète
. She’d blown the surveillance—now what? What was wrong with her, making a mistake like this? Why couldn’t she shake off her postpartum baby brain?


Un peu trop élégante
for a mechanic. Maybe you’re a
saboteuse
?” said the Vicomte d’Argenson, her target.

Think. She wasn’t even officially back from maternity leave until tomorrow, but she’d taken the job because it had seemed like a piece of
gâteau
. “A relative is trying to ruin me,” the
comte
had told her when he’d hired her. “Find out who.”

Now, staring across the seventeenth-century courtyard at the
comte
’s nephew, she arranged her face in a pout. “Just a little tracking device, Vicomte d’Argenson. You’re a hard man to catch up with and I want your story.” She pulled her alias’s card from her clutch bag. “We journalists have to live, you know.”


Paris Match
?” he said, fingering her card.

A little shrug sent a ripple of clicking across the metallic beading on her Courrèges-clad shoulders. She hoped this ploy appealed to the portly roué’s vanity.


D’accord
, put me on the cover and I’ll give you a story. My story.”

“Deal.” The dank late afternoon air in the courtyard chilled her, and the scent of damp stone clung to the
hunting museum’s walls. Vivaldi violin melodies wafted from the museum’s reception, and the trailing ivy glistened in the light from the sconces.

“But I need the homing device you put under my car,
ma belle.

Aimée made a moue of resignation with her Chanel red lips. “I’m counting on the exclusive, Vicomte d’Argenson.”

By the time she’d recovered the device and put it in his waiting palm, he’d checked the other tires.

“Damn paparazzi,” he said, grinding the tracker under his heel on the cobbles.

Good thing she’d put a second one inside his briefcase on the backseat. She activated the second tracker, smothering the click with a cough.

“My number’s at the bottom.
A bientôt,
” she said, shooting him a complicit smile, and air-kissed somewhere in the vicinity of his cheek.

And with that she hurried through the tall doors, slipping the control, which was no bigger than a lighter, into the waiting hand of Maxence, Leduc Detective’s intern hacker, who was posing as a valet.

S
HE JOINED THE
comte
’s fiftieth birthday party. Mission almost complete, she thought. She stood under the chandelier in the thronged gala, a position from which she could keep one kohl-rimmed eye on
le vicomte
. Part of her enjoyed getting back to the grown-up world and off diaper duty for a few hours. The other was tinged with guilt for going back to work full-time tomorrow.

Notes from the violin drifted up to the hunting museum’s twenty-foot ceiling. To avoid conversation, she pretended to admire the decor, suppressing shudders at the antler trophies; other walls were hung with medieval tapestries of gruesome hunting scenes. Meanwhile, her target stood
amongst his entourage with a glass, looking bored. No suspicious contact yet.

“Interesting scent you’re wearing.” A member of
le vicomte
’s entourage had appeared at her elbow. He had periwinkle-blue eyes and tousled curly hair. He offered her
une coupe de champagne
. “What’s it called?”

She sniffed. Puréed aubergine. With her fingernail she scraped off the splattered souvenir her six-month-old daughter, Chloé, had left on her clutch.

“A mixture of Chanel No. 5 and my own blend.” She smiled flirtatiously and passed on the champagne. Not that she wasn’t tempted. But this was work. And she was nursing.

A
T LAST,
LE
vicomte
separated himself from the crowd and made toward the door.

“Pardonnez-moi, monsieur.”
In three strides she’d reached the doorway, speaking into the mic buried in her beaded collar. “Target on the move.”

Maxence nodded from the foyer in his valet garb. She adjusted her earwig’s volume. “He’s asked for his car,” said Maxence. “Signal’s coming through clear. Even with your clicking beads.”

As planned.
Parfait
. “You’ll take over from here, Maxence?”

BOOK: Murder on the Champ de Mars
12.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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