Tuesday, January 11, 2011

INTERNATIONAL CRIME CORNER: HAVANA FEVER!

INTERNATIONAL CRIME CORNER: HAVANA FEVER!

LEONARDO PADURA

THIS ONE HAD ME AT THE COVER . . .

Mario Conde has retired from the police force and makes a living trading in antique books. Havana is now flooded with dollars, populated by pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, and other hunters of the night. In the book collection of a rich Cuban who fled after the fall of Batista, Conde discovers an article about Violeta del Rio, a beautiful bolero singer of the 1950s who disappeared mysteriously.

A murder soon follows. This is a crime story set in today’s darker Cuba, but it is also an evocation of the Havana of Batista, the city of a hundred night clubs where the paths of Marlon Brando and Meyer Lansky crossed.

Probably Leonardo Padura’s best book, Havana Fever is many things: a suspenseful crime novel, a cruel family saga, and an ode to literature and his beloved, ravaged island.

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1 comment:

Kent Morgan said...

The cover got me, too, but I was disappointed by the story. Just didn't grab me. I saw another book by him the other day, but didn't bother with it at time. Probably won't look for it again if you think Havana Fever is his best.