Always lovely to see reader reviews and thanks to both of these readers for taking the time to provide such thoughtful feedback. Susan Thomas has this to say about TBO on Goodreads today:
Having just travelled to Cuba, this was a rich and fascinating story for me, written in dark crime fashion. Inspector Ramirez is investigating with scarce police resources the rape and murder of a Cuban boy and his prime person of interest, with a growing list of suspicions, is Mike Ellis, a Canadian tourist and police officer with secrets to hide. Blair’s two main characters demonstrate the typical stereotypes we have come to learn of locals and foreigners. Inspector Ramirez moves with the cunning subtlelty of a Cuban who knows his island inside out and Mike Ellis portrays a naive Canadian tourist seeking answers to his personal dilemmas from the rum, sun and sand.
While both characters belong to the law enforcement profession and seek justice for a little dead boy, they clearly come from two opposite ends of the spectrum; Ramirez with his eagerness for swift, iron-fisted justice and appeasing senior ministers to avoid an international PR disaster and Ellis with his failing marriage, disfigurment from a tragic accident and growing inability to prove his innocence in the crime.
The author transports the reader into the underbelly of Havana with a backdrop of a punishing embargo, white beaches, smooth, sweet rum and Castro’s political ideals. A complex and entertaining criminal investigation in a Communist society and a highly recommended novel! (four stars)
And Zlata also gave The Beggar’s Opera four stars today on the Cambridge Libraries website:
Christmas morning in Havana, Cuba. A young boy was brutally raped and murdered. His mutilated body has been found. Inspector Ramirez (followed by ghosts of murder victims) investigates this murder, carefully guarding a secret of his own. The major suspect is Mike Ellis, a detective from Canada on a vacation. He is recuperating from the apparently painful incident and he too guards his own secret. According to the evidence, he faces death sentence. Thus begins the first book by this talented author. Events and, to me, surprising conclusions take place in vividly described Cuban surroundings, social life, traditions and culture. I do hope that this is the first book in a series. Zlata (Queen’s Square Library)