Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Juan, a Cuban construction worker who has settled in Albuquerque, returns to Havana for the first time since fleeing Cuba by raft twenty years ago. He is traveling with his American wife, Sharon, and hopes to reconnect with Victor, his best friend from college—and, unbeknownst to Sharon, he also hopes to discover what has become of two ex-girlfriends, Elsa and Rosita.
Juan is surprised to learn that Victor has become Victoria and runs a popular drag show at the local hot spot Café Arabia. Elsa has married a wealthy foreigner, and Rosita, still single, works at the Havana cemetery. When one of these women turns up dead, it will cost Padrino, a Santería priest and former detective on the Havana police force, more than he expects to untangle the group’s lies and hunt down the killer.
This murder mystery is set in Cuba and gives some interesting insights into life there both before and after the death of Fidel Castro as well as information regarding the Santeria religion which originated in Cuba.
Juan escaped from Cuba on a raft, almost dying like his companion whilst endeavouring to travel to America some twenty years ago. He has never returned. Now, however, he is going back after the death of his father to visit his old college friend, Victor. Initially Juan’s wife, Sharon, was not going to travel with him but she surprises him by joining him on this journey. She’s suspicious of the reasons for the journey but never expected it to involve murder. This is a journey full of surprises, a tangled web of intrigue, deceit, history and, of course, a murder mystery.
Queen of Bones in packed with other stories interwoven within each other. There are plenty of hints and clues as well as red herrings in amongst them to keep you questioning your assumptions. The roles of religion, police, politics and others all intertwine in this Havana based suspense filled read.
I requested and was gifted a copy of this book and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
Author Bio –
Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Hobbs, where she is a Spanish and ESL professor at New Mexico Junior College. She has published ten novels and three collections of short stories.
Her first culinary mystery Death Comes in through the Kitchen (Soho Crime, 2018) is set in Havana and features Padrino, a santero-detective. It is loaded with authentic Cuban recipes like arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and caldosa (a yummy stew). Her second mystery, Queen of Bones, was also published by Soho Crime in November 2019 and includes elements of Santería and, again, food—clearly, the author loves to eat! Both novels are rich in details about life in the island, the kind only an insider can provide.
They are the first two books of Soho Crime’s Havana Mystery series. Upcoming are Death of a Telenovela Star (June 2020) and Death under the Perseids.
She also wrote A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010).
In her native Spanish she has authored six novels, among them Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain) and El difunto Fidel (The Late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, which won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009).
Once in a while she delves into theater. Her plays La Hija de La Llorona and Hasta que el mortgage nos separe (published in Teatro Latino, 2019) has been staged by Aguijón Theater in Chicago.
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