Cuba Libre

Is Castro dead? Who knows. But with all this talk of Cuba, I was reminded of Leonardo Padura and his novels featuring Mario “the Count” Conde. The third installment to appear in English, Havana Black, was released in June by Bitter Lemon Press. Here is what Publishers Weekly had to say:

At the start of the well-plotted second volume of Padura’s seething, steamy Havana Quartet (after 2005’s Havana Red), Cuban detective Mario Conde (aka “the Count”) is approaching the end of his police career and his 36th birthday with drunken abandon while also anticipating, almost welcoming, the arrival of a devastating hurricane. Fed up with the latest departmental purges, which have claimed his boss and mentor, Major Rangel, Conde resigns from the department only to be offered a challenge and a bargain by Rangel’s newly appointed replacement. If he can solve the brutal murder of a highly placed Cuban defector within three days, Conde’s resignation will be accepted without prejudice. Padura grounds his tale against a backdrop of governmental corruption, the broken promises of the Cuban revolution and the difficult relations between those Cubans who fled the Castro regime and those who stayed. This densely packed mystery’s unusual locale should attract readers outside the genre.

If you want to read the series in oder, start with Adios, Hemingway, and then Havana Red, before taking up Havana Black.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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