Praise for the Havana Quartet:
“Overlaid with a rich smoky patina, an atmosphere that reeks of slums and riches, cigar smoke and exotic perfumes. Havana Black is a strong tasting book, a rich feast of wit and feeling.”—The Independent
“Drenched with that beguiling otherness so appealing to fans of mysteries of other cultures, it will also appeal to those who appreciate the sultry lyricism of James Lee Burke.”—Booklist
“A great plot, perfectly executed with huge atmosphere. You can almost smell the cigar smoke, rum and cheap women.”—Daily Mirror
“Havana Red, another winner from Bitter Lemon Press.”—The New York Times
Lieutenant Mario Conde is suffering from a terrible New Year’s Eve hangover. Though it’s the middle of a weekend, he is asked to urgently investigate the mysterious disappearance of Rafael Morin, a high-level business manager in the Cuban nomenklatura. Conde remembered Morin from their student days: good-looking, brilliant, a “reliable comrade’’ who always got what he wanted, including Tamara, the girl Conde was after.
But Rafael Morin’s exemplary rise from a poor barrio and picture-perfect life hides more than one suspicious episode worthy of investigation. While pursuing the case in a decaying but adored Havana, Conde confronts his lost love for Tamara and the dreams and illusions of his generation.
About the Author
Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana and lives in Cuba. He has published a number of novels, short story collections and literary essays but international fame came with the Havana Quartet, all featuring Inspector Mario Conde, of which Havana Blue is the third to be available in English Critically acclaimed translator known for extensive work on Juan Goytisolo. Also translated Daniel Chavarria and Pedro de Alarcon from Cuba.
Leonardo Padura has just won the 2015 Princess of Asturias Literary prize for his life’s work. This prize is said to be the Spanish Nobel Prize. Previous winners include Philip Roth, John Banville, Margaret Atwood, Amin Maalouf and Ismail Kadare. Padura is most famous for his Inspector Mario Conde novels, all published in English by Bitter Lemon Press.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Havana police lieutenant Mario Conde enjoyed the New Year's Eve celebration but he drank too much as he expected the day off to recover. Instead in spite of a four poster headache, his superior calls to tell him that Ministry for Industry official and party VIP Rafael Morin Rodriguez vanished.----------------- Mario knew Rafael and the man¿s wife Tamara when the trio attended high school together and the cop was in unrequited puppy love for her. Hangover aside, Mario interviews Tamara, who offers nothing about what happened or why instead she insists her loving spouse is an honest civil servant working for the benefit of the people. Although he prefers otherwise, Mario assumes either Rafael is dead or fled before a scandal destroyed him either way the case has political ramifications that he knows he must gingerly walk carefully. However, the biggest issue in Mario¿s mind is not those looking at his every step in the investigation, but that the prime suspect is Tamara, who he still wants.------------------- The third colorful Havana police procedural (see HAVANA BLACK and HAVANA RED) is a terrific whodunit starring a likable dedicated cop trying to investigate a maybe crime in a totalitarian society where he can easily follow a clue across a forbidden zone. Mario¿s investigation is top rate as he struggles with his feelings for the prime suspect and has even more trouble dealing with officialdom as the potential victim is a highly ranked bureaucrat. Readers will appreciate Leonardo Padura¿s tense Cuban mystery starring a great detective in a superior tale.------ Harriet Klausner
Mario Conde is a middle aged detective in Havana Cuba whose high school years, friends, enemies, sports and loves loom large over his life. His two failed marriages are a bit of police cliche, and the book--were it more sparsely written--might qualify in many places as noir. However, the author's sometimes flowery, almost Proustian reminiscences flood and saturate the plot. The characters are much more shallow than the intricate tales of memories, past experiences, and embarrassments.Conde is assigned a 'hot' case with scrutiny from top Cuban administrators. A director of a government enterprise has turned up missing, and in a twist of fate that drives the book, the director's wife is the obsession since high school of Conde. The impossibly beautiful Tamara, infinitely out of reach, becomes a daily conversant with Conde as for many pages the investigation is stalled and memories are processed. Out of the blue the investigation starts moving and the author blitzes past details, haltingly describes crimes, and closes out the book in a streak. The redeeming fact of the book is that sometimes, in time, one can have the victory of a lifetime.
A Cuban mystery about a policeman's high school acquaintance who goes missing and the investigation into his whereabouts. Introduces us to the detective, his friends and coworkers and his high school crush. This is the first book I've read that is written by a Cuban who is still living in Cuba and the details about life there were fantastic. The translation feels a little clunky occasionally. There were times where I could feel the words wanting to sing but being held back by translation issues. Definitely worth your time if you like mysteries set in non-American places. It is particularly interesting to compare the voluptuous language with the spareness of Icelandic and Swedish mysteries.
Mario Conde is a Cuiban police lieutenant haunted by his desire - and failure - to write. He is investigating the disappearance of an old school-mate - the big man on campus that married the girl Conde also desired - and failed to get. The third mystery in Leonardo Padura Fuentes' series featuring Conde is as fresh and compelling as the first two, with astute observations of the hardships, and class divide, characteristic of life in Cuba.