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★★★★★

“Havana Blue ”

Written on: 18/04/2007 by Harriet Klausner (18637 reviews written)

Havana Blue

Leonardo Padura

Bitter Lemon, Jun 2007, $14.95

ISBN: 1904738222



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 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

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