The Poisoned Pawn is about to hit the US market, and the galleys are out and about (those are the advance review copies). Nice to see this review from fellow author, J.R. Lindermuth, posted in Goodreads:
This is one of those cases where you should read the first in the series before undertaking this one. The Poisoned Pawn picks up where The Beggar’s Opera left off.
Michael Ellis, prime suspect in the prior book, returns to Canada only to become suspected of another murder—that of his estranged wife. Cuban Police Inspector Ricardo Ramirez is also bound for Canada, assigned to bring back a priest found in possession of child pornography, possibly including Cuban children.
Ramirez is still haunted by visions of the dead, which he fears may signal dementia or some other serious disease. The latest is a cigar lady murdered shortly before Ramirez is to leave for Canada. Because of his pending departure, he turns the case over to a new young subordinate, Fernando Espinoza (who I suspect will be a player in future volumes of the series). [ED. NOTE: He sure is! Peggy]
Shortly after Ramirez arrives in Ottawa, two women die under mysterious circumstances in Havana and the inspector is plagued with the twin concerns of worry about his family and fears of a travel advisory detrimental to Cuba’s tourist economy.
Once more Blair weaves a complex story of secrets and deceit, intriguing characters and insights into very different cultures. In the first book we had the insights of Canadians on Cuban life. This time it is a Cuban view of Canadian society. In addition to Ramirez, who is a solid character on his own, we also meet once again pathologist Hector Apiro, and Celia Jones, who played important roles in the previous book, and are introduced to Detective Charlie Pike, an Ojibway officer.
I’m not a big fan of the paranormal in mystery novels. But Blair doesn’t let it get out of hand and I’m almost tempted to say it adds to the flavor of this series.