Paris noir


If you love black-and-white photographs you probably love mystery novels set in Paris (with black-and-white cover photographs).  The popular novels by Cara Black (“Murder in the Bastille,” “Murder on Ile-Saint-Louis,” etc.) are fun to read and definitely transport the imagination to the Paris of today.  For the Paris of another time, no one does it better than Alan Furst in his series of mystery and espionage novels set in Europe during World War II.  Furst captures the ambiguous and dangerous nature of everyday life in Paris during those dark days.  Most of his novels can be read independently, but two (“The World at Night” and “Red Gold”) share a protagonist and should be read in sequence.  “Foreign Correspondent” is terrific.  (Update June 5, 2008: He’s just published a new novel, “The Spies of Warsaw.”)