I’m told that Booklist is like Quill and Quire in the US — a very prestigious publication and one that the libraries rely on a lot when making their purchases. And so I’m thrilled to let you all know that The Beggar’s Opera has received a starred review in Booklist — here it is! It will be published on March 15th
March 15, 2013
THE BEGGAR’S OPERA
By Peggy Blair
Not only does Canadian Blair’s exciting new series take place in contemporary Havana—a slam dunk of a setting for crime fiction—but it also boasts an unusual and unusually intriguing premise: Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, head of Havana’s Major Crimes Unit, sees dead bodies, the ghosts of the victims of his unsolved cases. But this isn’t another paranormal wrinkle in a realistic crime series (like Charles Todd’s Inspector Rutledge novels); no, Ramirez may have inherited something called Dementia with Lewy bodies, in which the victim suffers from vivid hallucinations.
But he hardly has time to worry about his dead companions at the moment, as a Canadian policeman, Mike Ellis, is being held on suspicion of the rape and murder of a young Cuban boy, and the police have 72 hours to formally charge or release him. Meanwhile, a Canadian lawyer, Celia Jones, arrives to help Ellis negotiate the formidable Cuban bureaucracy.
Each of the three major characters could hold up a crime novel on his or her own, and Blair interweaves their stories beautifully; she also invests Havana geography (with its decaying buildings and rusting American cars) with new vigor by focusing not only on photo-worthy street scenes but also on the complex lives of the people who live inside the broken buildings. A fine novel and the launch of what looks to be a superb series.