One of the wonderful things about being an author is that you get fan mail! Sometimes it’s from complete strangers; sometimes it’s from people you’ve lost touch with, and sometimes it’s from old friends, but whatever the source, it’s always great to receive. (And I’m happy to say that some of those early ”strangers” have become very good friends!)
Since I write about Cuba without having lived there, I am always thrilled to get feedback from people who have been to Cuba regularly. And although I was a lawyer for decades, I’m no expert in medicine or pathology, so hearing from people who are, like Bill Westwick, a coroner for over 35 years, (see below) was a real treat.
Anyway, here’s a sampling, and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me, whether by email or post — it’s very much appreciated!
Peggy, I just finished your stunning novel. I loved it so much that I read it today in one sitting …it is truly wonderful. The idea of the ghosts/ spirits is brilliant!
Like your other fans, I look forward to your next novel! Warm regards and congrats!
Paula Agulnik, Executive Director, REACH, Ottawa
Just wanted to let you know that it took awhile but I finally got to reading your book and it was a terrific read. I enjoy suspense/mystery novels and this was one of my favourites. Looking forward to the next one in the series!
Jim Adair, Editor-in-chief, REM
I just wanted to drop a quick note to say how much I loved your book! I got it out of the library on Friday….and have just spent the last 3 hours, on my back reading (and finishing!!)it…..what a treat! Not only was it well written and full of intrigue, but my partner and I have just had our first visit to Cuba at the beginning of April! So all the places you describe are so fresh in my imagination. We also visited Vinales…..but that is a whole other story!!! I loved it, but there was this problem with roosters!
It is such an amazing place….and I felt such similar feelings as your Canadian characters described….the constant attention of the taxi people, the vendors trying to sell you all sorts of things….I found it very oppressive! but apart from that I thought it was one of the most amazing and eye opening places I’ve visited! I will return but with a different mindset and a different plan. What a completely different world Cuba is!
Anyway, just to let you know that I was totally engrossed in your book…and hope you will be creating more books along this line in the near future!
Cheers, Linda Wright
Although a dark subject and at times a bit difficult to read, (during the descriptions of the abuse of poor Arturo) your descriptions of Havana were so vivid!. I felt I was right there sitting on a bar stool next to Ellis, sipping a Margarita. Good job! I wish you continued success with your novel and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
Greig Reynolds, Ottawa
I wanted to let you know I loved your Beggar’s Opera though, as a frequent traveler to Havana, found it terrifying at times.I think you are right, at the turn of a dime, one’s whole world could turn upside-down there with only luck and connections as being a way out. Best regards and thanks for keeping me enthralled in a book for a couple of weeks. A rarity.
John Archer, Montreal
Congratulations for your excellent book. Just finished it and enjoyed every page. Great characters and clever twists of the plot. Will recommend to others. Keep up the good work.
Sean O’Dea, Ottawa
I just finished reading your wonderful book. I was a visitor in Cuba on the first page but by the end of the book I felt like a permanent resident. Your descriptions of Cuba were so vivid I think I could find my way around the city if were suddenly transplanted there. I particularly liked the humour you ascribed to such ghoulish characters as the apparitions that followed Ramirez around.
I can appreciate the amount of research you must have done. How did you find the time to look at all that material and still sell houses?
Jackie Doyle, Westboro
I have read good books before the kind that you start and stay up all night to finish. The difference between good and great is that with a great book you stop and slow down when you are nearing the end because you don’t want it to be over. That is what happened with the Beggers Opera. On page 261 I forced myself to put it down slow down and enjoy the unwinding of a great mystery.
Thank you, Peggy I can’t wait for the next one. Ramirez is worth rooting for.
Lynne Hendry, Buck Lake, Ontario
Finally got around to reading the book and very much enjoyed it. With a few exotic exceptions, the descriptions of places were very familiar; the hallucinations happily less so, but a nice literary twist. Also pleasant to visit the autopsy suite several times without excessive clinical detail, all too common these days which makes your brief sojourns there uncommon. Congratulations, and thanks.
Bill Henderson, Toronto
Well, I just finished your book,The Beggar’s Opera, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For 10-15 years I was also a coroner and spent many hours with pathologists and the forensic teams trying to solve suspicious deaths so I could certainly identify with some of the characters in your book. I should add I was the medical officer for the Ottawa Police Services for close to thirty-five years and dealt with many a “Chief O’Malley, Mike Harris, and Detective Sloan”.
Congratulations on writing an excellent mystery and I wish you all the best in your future writings.
Bill Westwick, Ottawa
I am an Italian literary translator and journalist and I have just finished reading your wonderful novel “Beggar’s Opera” for an Italian publisher which seems interested in publishing it over here. Just felt like congratulating you for your book, one of the best noirs I’ve read over the last few years (and I read many…). Congratulations, once again.