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Murder in the Café Corona

photo, group of the week, terrie and cara

Terrie and Cara, the powerhouse 'Group of the Week.'

As Usual, All Fiction

Paris:– Thursday, 27. October 2005:– The weather is so unseasonal that we are beginning to expect the TV–weather news forecaster of the day to apologize for the balmy airs and sunny skies, as in, 'Gosh darn, faithful viewers, but I have to report that you are going to have to put up with another sunny Friday and an even sunnier weekend.'

While other reports are saying global warming is unfriendly for polar bears and Antarctic tourists who like to see their icebergs still attached to a deepfreeze continent, the very same global warming here in Paris is giving us Indian Summer bis bis when we don't usually even have one.

Leaves! Turn red or yellow or brown and fall off! Skies – turn gray, turn to water, turn on! Temperatures – get reasonable, get normal for the season. In this bis–bis–season my summer clothes are wearing out. If it keeps up we'll all turn into prunes.

So much for the rant. Here are the latest facts, as divulged to me by tonight's TV–weather news dude, who tried to excuse the information by saying that we are getting the tail–end of Hurricane Wilma.

It, he said, is the cause of steadyphoto, waters of the week offshore 60 kph winds from the south, and temperatures for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of 21, 20 and 22 degrees, a whole six degrees above normal. Somehow this will cause mostly blue skies with little black clouds but mostly sunshine, for just about all of France except the pointy nose of Brittany, sticking out into the Atlantic and dripping. If you are out that way, lend it a hanky.

The waters, of what else, other than the Week?

In case you are reading this in 2009, you should know that this season's weather in Paris is not being normal. One of my elderly neighbors guessed that the last fall when it was similar was in 1985 – so, scientifically, it only happens once every 20 years.

The 'Murder of the Week' Report

Before I leave for the club I take all of the papers and other trash out of my ratty winter coat's pockets again and reload the stuff into my antique summer jacket again. With a high of 23 degrees forecast for today bundling up like a bear going to hunt salmons is something I don't want to do, unlike the folks who started out the day shortly after dawn at 8:30.

Going along past the cemetery I see that the leaf sweepers are having their high season. Overhead it looksphoto, cafe of the week like 85 percent of the leaves are still up and mostly green, but between sweeps of the sweepers 10 percent fall, to an ankle depth. At least they are dry and light, but I guess fewer fit into the plastic sacks.

The flying, 'Café of the Week.'

Plastic sacks? While they are harassing us to quit using plastic sacks to bring our groceries home from the Monoprix, they are using plastic sacks for the leaves? Next they'll probably be throwing them in the wrong garbage can. Ah, forget it. Nothing is supposed to make sense.

The helicopter that is overhead watching something quits hovering and moves north while I get into the Métro and when I get out I see it hovering over the Pont Neuf. There is a lot of westbound traffic on the quay but not much is happening on the bridge except for masses of people hanging out on it.

The quay on the Right Bank is clogged with traffic too and there are a lot of folks looking for antique postcards, and sitting on the terraces of cafés along the Quai du Louvre, and even the terraces of the club's café are populated.

I go in the open door to the bar and slip around the corner into the 'grande salle' with two minutes to spare, to find new member Cara Black looking under fronds, looking for the club's secretary. Except for the old man who is reading a newspaper there is nobody else in the big room, so we do the mutual recognition signal, which consists of a simple, 'Hey!'

I was wrong. There's a huge group of loud people filling a whole corner of the club's area in the big room, acting as if they own the place and as we sit down they get louder and tink glasses and bang spoons and scrape chairs. It is so bad that the bird, Eva Peron, picks up a tired frite and wings off with it, forever.

I tell Cara about the club's sign–in procedure. 'Sign the book,' I say. She does. I say, 'San Franciscophoto, watern blur is not a valid hometown of the week,' I add, so Cara writes Noe Valley. The 'Waiter of the Week,' one I've never seen before in my life, shows up to take our order for drinks.

He says, "Il y a que le logomotion dans la vie," he says when I say I'll order later. He doesn't exactly say 'logomotion' but this is what I've written. Later, when he brings a café for Cara he tells me that I can sit in the café forever and not order a drink. I should ask the patron if I can sleep here too.

Then member Terrie Blazek arrives. Terrie already knows Cara because they had drinks in Chicago, and they both remember it. I wasn't there so I don't remember it.

Cara Black writes crime novels that are set in Paris. She gives me a 'readers copy' of her latest book, 'Murder in Montmartre.' It again features her ace detective, Aimée Leduc, and it will be on sale next March. My copy is to review, and she says I am supposed to overlook its typos and other errors.

Montmartre follows 'Murder in Clichy,' Bastille, Sentier, Belleville and the Marais. Together they constitute a one–woman crime wave in Paris. Cara says she suggested to the publisher that she bump somebod off in Versailles or someplace out of town, and they said, oh no, do the other 75 quartiers in the city first.photo, cara black


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