Cara Black lives in San Francisco with her husband, an independent
bookseller, and their son. Murder in the Latin Quarter, her ninth book
in the Aimée Leduc Investigation series set in Paris, comes out in
March. Caught at her desk littered with street maps of Paris, a student
guide to the Sorbonne and a flakey brioche she had this to say
On your nightstand now: 2001 French and English Idioms by Barron’s,
indispensible for the perfect bon mot, Reasonable Doubt by Gianrico
Carofiglio, featuring a Sicilian Perry Mason who cooks, The Lincoln
Lawyer by Michael Connelly because I want to read it again, an advance
copy of The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer who writes Eastern Europe like
no one else since Eric Ambler.
Favorite book when you were a child: Robinson Crusoe. Hands down. My
father would read it to us on Sunday afternoons, a chapter at a time.
It wasn’t just crawling on my father’s lap, finding space between my
brothers and peeking at the old illustrations but we’re talking
ship-wreck, a desert island, Robinson and his man Friday, adventure,
daring-do, self-sufficiency, restless natives, building a tree house...
all the things kids love.
Your top five authors: John le Carré he just gets b
etter - those
mulit-layered characters that live on the page, his breadth of
knowledge about espionage and the human heart. Diane Ackerman, whose A
History of the Senses opened my eyes, ears, nose, touch and taste to
sensory details, Alan Furst, his prose and atmosphere, Raymond Chandler
the noir master of language and metaphor and Graham Greene for foreign
intrigue and the gold standard for moral dilemna.
Book you've faked reading: A Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel
Proust. Give me a break, I’d rather eat a Madeleine instead. But that’s
between us, ok. I can fake it pretty well.
Book you are an evangelist for: ‘Paris Stories’ by Mavis Gallant.
Exquisite, poignant, finely honed short stories that take your breath
away. Why don’t more people know about her?
Book you've bought for the cover: Lock 14, an Inspector Maigret novel
by Georges Simenon. What’s not to love about this cover; a black and
white Doisneau-like photo of 30’s Paris with the dark Seine and barges
backlit under the shadowed bridge. Mysterious.
Book that changed your life: All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich
Maria Remarque. I read this in high school. Especially the scene where
Paul shares a WWI shell hole with a dying French soldier, and
contemplates on the brotherhood of man, and on our universal
commonality, and of the utter uselessness of war.
Favorite line from a book:
"I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a
vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat
and a gun." Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler
Books you most want to read again for the first time - The Lover by
Which writer - dead or alive - would you like to have all to yourself
in a quiet corner of a bar? Oscar Wilde. Over a bottle of Absinthe
somewhere in Saint Germain des Prés.