Cara Black

in Conversation with Juliet Grames

Recorded April 11th, 2020

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Cara Black in conversation with Juliet Grames
Saturday, April 11, 2020

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Cara Black is a bestselling American mystery writer. She is best known for her Aimée Leduc mystery novels featuring a female Paris-based private investigator. Black is included in the Great Women Mystery Writers by Elizabeth Lindsay 2nd edition. Her first novel Murder in the Marais was nominated for an Anthony Award for best first novel and the third novel in the series, Murder in the Sentier, was Anthony-nominated for Best Novel.

The past informs the present. Memory makes the map we carry, no matter how hard we try to erase it.”

– Murder in the Bastille

Cara was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 14, 1951. She was educated at Canada College in California, Sophia University in Yotsuya, Tokyo in Japan, and finished her schooling at San Francisco State University where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
She did not base her popular detective Aimée Leduc on a real person. “I knew I couldn’t write as a French woman, I can’t even tie my scarf the right way,” she says, “but I grew up in a Francophile family; my father loved good food and wine, I attended a Catholic school with French nuns and I lived in Europe when I was younger. I interviewed three female detectives in Paris who ran their own detective agency and took qualities from each. It was important to me that Aimée be a young, contemporary woman like the Parisian women I know, have a strong fashion sense and be fierce in her pursuit of justice. The justice that eludes people sometimes in daily life. And that she know much more about computers than I do.”
Nor did she intend to write a series. “I’d like to say I had a master plan but the series with Aimée Leduc has just evolved. “In Murder in the Marais, my first book, I just wanted to tell the story of my friend’s mother, a young Jewish girl who hid in the Marais during the German Occupation of Paris in WWII. My friend’s mother was 14 years old and came home from school one day to find her family gone. She stayed in the apartment, went to school, hoping they would return. A year later, in 1944 at Liberation, she searched for them at the train stations, at the Hotel Lutetia on the Left Bank where the Red Cross had a terminus center for returning deportees and she found they’d gone to Auschwitz. My friend told me this story one day in the Marais and it touched me. Years later when I returned to Paris in the mid 1990’s the story came back to me and I wanted to explore these issues of the past, lingering anti-Semitism and how war still touched every generation.
She has worked as a preschool teacher and as director of a preschool. Black lives in San Francisco with her husband, Jun Ishimuro, a bookseller. They have a son, Tate.

Visit the Book Passage website to have any of Cara’s books delivered right to your door.

You’re sure to enjoy these Book Passage favorites:

Three Hours in Paris

Murder in Bel-Air


Murder on the Left Bank

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 1.01.49 PM

Murder in the Marais


Get ready to join Cara in conversation, Saturday, April 11.

In the meantime, we invite you to take a moment now to help shape this upcoming conversation:

Check out the list of questions submitted by other registered attendees, and then vote to support any of the ones that match your own interests.
Feel free to add your own question. Then spread the word to make sure others have the chance to help move your question to the top of the shared list.

  • 9


    If you had to be confined in quarantine with one of your main characters, who would you choose?

  • 7


    You’re such a great writer! Did you know you always wanted to be a mystery writer? Have you ever explored other genres?

  • 6


    What are you reading now? Has the pandemic changed your reading or writing habits?

  • 5


    Do you live in France as well as the United States? How do you make life there seem so vivid?

  • 4


    How are you staying connected to the people you know outside the United States during this terrible time?

  • 3


    What is the time period where this book/story takes place.

  • 2


    Just finished “Three Hours” Congrats; will there be a follow-up book?

  • 2


    How important is to you to keep your culprit a sympathetic character, one that the audience can relate to rather than hate?

  • 1


    Are you wearing your “book launch” dress?

  • 0


    Thank you for this talk with Author, I very much enjoyed discovering Cara Black.
    Could you please resend the three books she talked about on her recommendation list?
    Last, how can I get in touch with Cara Black ?

  • 0


    What plot point or character or situation makes your latest book different from all the others? Lynn F. Casella LaVerne,CA