Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of 17 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Paris City Medal — which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture — and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian and Hebrew.
Black was born in Chicago but has lived in California’s Bay Area since she was five years old. Before turning to writing full-time, she tried her hand at a number of jobs: barista in the Basel train station café in Switzerland, taught English in Japan, studied Buddhism in Dharamsala in Northern India and worked as a bar girl in Bangkok (only pouring drinks!). After studying Chinese history at Sophia University in Tokyo—where she met her husband, Jun, a bookseller, potter, and amateur chef—she obtained her teaching credential at San Francisco State College, and went on to work as a preschool director and then as an agent of the federally funded Head Start program, which sent her into San Francisco’s Chinatown to help families there—often sweatshop workers—secure early care and early education for their children. Each of these jobs was amazing and educational in a different way, and the Aimée Leduc books are covered in fingerprints of Black’s various experiences.
Her love of all things French was kindled by the French-speaking nuns at her Catholic high school, where Black first encountered French literature and went crazy for the work of Prix Goncourt winner Romain Gary. Her junior year in high school, she wrote him a fan letter—which he answered, and which inspired her to make her first trip to Paris, where her idol took her out for coffee and a cigar.
Since then, she has been to Paris many, many times. She has posed as a journalist to sneak into closed areas, trained at a firing range with real Paris flics (officers), was locked in a bathroom at the Victor Hugo museum, and—just like Aimée—went down into the sewers with the rats. For the scoop on real Paris crime, she takes people out for drinks and dinner to hear their stories—but it usually turns into a long evening, which is why she sticks with espresso.