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Havana Black: A Lieutenant Mario Conde Mystery (Mario Conde Mystery 2) [Paperback]

By Leonardo Padura & Peter Bush (Translator)
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Item description for Havana Black: A Lieutenant Mario Conde Mystery (Mario Conde Mystery 2) by Leonardo Padura & Peter Bush...

Praise for Havana Red, the first of the Lt. Conde series:

“Another winner from Bitter Lemon…an innovative take on the traditional detective story. A macho cop whose investigation into the murder of a transvestite leads him to ruminate on his own attraction to this ‘philosophy of mimetics and erasure.’"—The New York Times

“A scorching novel from a star of Cuban fiction. Conde’s quest follows the basic rhythm of the whodunit, but Padura syncopates it with brilliant literary riffs on Cuban sex, society, religion, even food.”—Independent

The brutally mutilated body of Miguel Forcade is discovered washed up on a Havana beach. Head smashed in by a baseball bat, genitals cut off by a dull knife. Forcade was once responsible for the confiscation of art works from the bourgeoisie fleeing the revolution. Had he really returned from exile just to visit his ailing father?

The novel evokes the disillusion of a generation, many of them veterans of the war in Angola, discovering the corruption of those who preceded them. Yet it is a eulogy of Cuba, its life of music, sex and the great friendships of the people who elected to stay and fight for survival.

Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana and lives in Cuba. He is a prize-winning novelist, essayist, journalist, and scriptwriter.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   261
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2006
Publisher   Bitter Lemon Press
ISBN  190473815X  
ISBN13  9781904738152  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 01:44.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Leonardo Padura & Peter Bush

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Leonardo Padura was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1955. A novelist, journalist, and critic, he is the author of several novels, two volumes of short stories, and several nonfiction collections. His novels featuring the detective Mario Conde have been translated into many languages and have won literary prizes around the world. The Man Who Loved Dogs was a finalist for the Book of the Year Award in Spain. Padura lives in Havana.

Anna Kushner was born in Philadelphia and first traveled to Cuba in 1999. She has translated the novels of Guillermo Rosales, Norberto Fuentes, and Goncalo M. Tavares.


Leonardo Padura was born in 1955.

Leonardo Padura has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Coleccion Andanzas

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Havana Black: A Lieutenant Mario Conde Mystery (Mario Conde Mystery 2)?

was I satisfied...?  Feb 17, 2008
My book came in truly excellent condition. Not a page was dog-eared, annotated, or anything. It was in even better condition than I expected. If I ever need anything in the future, I'll definitely come back here.
"Crime Beat Street" Blogger Review  Nov 10, 2007
To be perfectly honest, after reading the first few pages of Havana Black by Leonardo Padura I hoped the main character, Inspector Mario Conde, might drink himself to death so I wouldn't have to suffer through 200 more pages. It probably has the most morose beginning to a novel I have ever read, and not having read the first book in the series, Havana Red, I had no attachment to "The Count" as they call Conde. Not one to give up easily I kept going and once the Count described his new and last case as "tasty" I knew the book was going to be good, but I didn't know it would be that good.

The story begins as the Havana police department has recently cleaned house of its corrupt officers; Conde resigns due to loyalty to his boss, but is asked back to solve one last case before his discharge papers will be signed. The case involves a murdered defector who is found floating in the sea, castrated, and throughout the book the sordid past dealings of the victim are uncovered. The fascinating portrait of a man who took advantage of the government's "re-appropriation" of confiscated property after the Revolution unravels some of the mystery as to how communism was adapted in a Latin American country, a great primer for those who don't know much about communism in Cuba. My hunch as to the killer's identity for once was right but that doesn't mean the mystery was predictable, rather the reader has a chance to form his or her own opinion amongst the suspects and the unexpected plot twists.

The real gem of this novel, however, is the main character, the Count. Mr. Padura shows us how complicated it was to have grown up during the Revolution, how the dreams of young men were shaped and changed by the events that unfolded. The Count longs for old times in some sense but also for a better future where he can rid himself of the demons he has gathered in his 36 years. The passage about his mother and the four kisses they shared each year until she died, and his regret at not having been more affectionate with her was beautiful and sad. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the Count's "family" of friends and their support for each other since boyhood.

The writing style of this book can be difficult at times; there are no chapters to tell you when one thought or scene is ending, and the author sometimes launches into a description of an event or person that lasts a page or two before the reader can fully understand who or what he is describing. But once the cast of characters is set, and the scenes known, everything begins to fall into place and the book is not only worth reading as a mystery, but as a poetic look into complex and humble lives.

Reviewed by Barb Radmore  Jan 25, 2007
After the dismissal of his boss from the police Mario Conde hands in his resignation also. He is frustrated by the wave of corruption uncovered within the force and the blame directed at this long time mentor. But his letter of resignation is not accepted by the new Police Chief. In order for Mario to earn it he must solve the murder of a recently discovered corpse. If he can find the murderer within three days he can retire from the job for which he has lost his taste. The corpse of Miguel Forcade was found on a Havana Beach, killed by a blow to the head but also with his genitals cut off. After defecting from Cuba this is the first time Forcade had returned to his parent's house. Mario must sort through the history of stolen and confiscated artwork and Forcade's reticent family members to discover the truth.

As Hurricane Felix approaches the island of Cuba, building in speed and strength so does the pace of the story build and expand. It is an impending storm that mimics the suspense of the story, from the case to the anticipated retirement of Mario from the police force to his up coming 36th birthday. The hurricane is not only Mario's fixation, it is the winds of time approaching the shores of modern Cuba. The hurricane becomes a main character of this mystery, waiting in the wings to make a sweeping entrance, perhaps wiping clean both the murder and the corruption of the times.

This is a detective story for the senses, a tale that unfolds by sights, sounds and smell. The land of Cuba, its people and its history are seen and felt through the descriptive prose of Padura. With sentences that extend 18 lines or more, Peter Black has been able to translate the Spanish phrasing into masterful English. The prose is not for those looking for an easy to read, common crime noir but for those seeking a uncommon piece of literature.
excellent Cuban police procedural   May 25, 2006
Havana Police Lieutenant Mario Conde just wants to do the right thing on the job though the Party makes that difficult. However, he is irate and bitter over the forced replacement of his professional supervisor by a party hack; he deems the job is not worth the political correctness that previously was overwhelming, but now is impossible to navigate without connections. This Conde decides to join many other professionals by hiding behind rum and cigarettes, preferably imported from another Caribbean island or the States.

However, a fascinating case comes his way so he agrees to put aside the rum, but not the cigarettes to investigate the homicide of a former minister whose job was to seize pre-revolutionary art. The victim was castrated before he had his head smashed to smithereens. Besides the violence, Conde wonders why someone living safely in a relatively luxurious lifestyle in Florida would return to Cuba where he had many enemies. Conde assumes if he can learn that he can figure out the motivation and consequently identify the culprit though a Communist hack accompanies him to insure he investigates in accordance with State policy as the unwritten ones arehe most dangerous all before a hurricane hits.

HAVANA BLACK, the sequel to the superb HAVANA RED, is an excellent Cuban police procedural that provides readers with a terrific investigation while guiding the audience around Havana three decades after the Communist revolution. The case is top rate as it provides insight into the Florida exile community, the impoverish masses left behind on the island, and the Party hacks. Few writers can paint a picture of optimism and pessimism with the same stroke as Leonard Padura does through his hero. The Two colorful Havana tales are winners worth reading unless you are an exile or a Fidel-phile.

Harriet Klausner

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