Just back from Simon and Schuster’s big bash in Toronto to discover that:
(a) The Poisoned Pawn was not one of the forty absolutely brilliant books selected by the Canada Reads judges today, but hey, that’s a great booklist they came up with. So very pleased to see Timothy Finley’s Headhunter on that list — I’ve re-read it and re-read it at least eight or nine times and it ranks among my very favourite books. (And once again, thanks to all of you who nominated The Poisoned Pawn; I really appreciated it. )
(b) There is a fantastic new blog review of The Poisoned Pawn! So nice to see a great review from someone who clearly loves books.
Here’s what blogger The Famdamily had to say about the second in the Inspector Ramirez series:
Peggy Blair. The Poisoned Pawn. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2013.
I’m always happy to support Canadian books, in different genres, actually, and this is a crime writing doozy. We have enough elements here to make your head spin … a Cuban detective, Canadian police, Vatican diplomats, Santería and brujería, First Nations, and a small girl in a wheelchair. In fact, the convoluted plot and variety of characters need your utmost concentration while the exposition lags behind many cryptic references. But who can complain about a complicated story line when the writer pulls you right into life in Havana with the amusing Inspector Ricardo Ramirez? Blair’s previous novel, The Beggar’s Opera, was the first in a series, winning an impressive handful of awards.
The reader is whisked into the plot directly — none of those mysterious nameless-voice teaser introductions we see quite often. The Inspector is required to go to Canada to escort a detained pedophile back to Cuba for trial. But crimes of the past and present begin to involve many more dubious characters. Residential schools in Canada, orphanages in Cuba, credible chemical analysis, a lively pathologist, a philosophical homeless man, and more! Good one, Peggy Blair!