Welcome back to Bookaholic where I bring you another top notch police procedural.
In this book (previously published as The Beggar's Opera) Peggy Blair transports us to the steamy underworld of Havana, Cuba. Canadian Detective Mike Ellis, on holiday in Cuba with his wife, finds himself arrested for the rape and murder of a small boy. This is hours after his wife walks out on him and returns to Canada. Inspector Ricardo Ramirez of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police is in charge of the investigation. Ramirez is no ordinary detective as he has a succession of ghosts following him around and vying for his attention. Rather than detracting from the story this blends in beautifully as it gives some insight into the Cuban psyche. This is a land where catholicism and African mysticism meet. I have to admit to being a little in love with Ricardo, despite his obvious flaws. His character is real and he does everything he can to bring justice despite the flaws in the system.
When I say, Blair transports you to Cuba, I mean you can picture yourself there. The surroundings, sounds, smell and very heart of Havana are portrayed through the writing. I have been to Cuba and I can sure you Blair has everything spot on. The very cynicism of the characters gives a very real depth to the lives of the characters, and how difficult life can be for the ordinary man and woman in the street. This book not only excels in its depiction of the place but also in the structure and flow of the plot. The storyline is strong with enough twists, turns and plot changes to move it along at a swift pace. Even when you think all has been revealed the surprises keep coming and everything is tied up clearly and neatly.
I found myself reading this long into the night and grabbing it first thing in the morning when I woke up. If you like a well written mystery, set in unusual surroundings then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. I would not hesitate to recommend it. In fact I would say it is a must buy and read now. At the time of writing the UK kindle version is only £0.77 so well worth snapping up at this price. The US link is for the paperback as Amazon would not let me share the kindle link. Once on the site you can click on the kindle version which is $1.39.
That brings us to the end of another bookaholic review. I'm having a day away from the telly so I'm off to grab another great book. See you all back here soon and enjoy this book when you get it.