From Publishers Weekly
Mario Conde, Padura's tormented Cuban police detective, is at his anguished best in this sequentially second volume of the so-called Havana Quartet, which constitutes a four-season chronicle of one year (1989) in Conde's life, though it's the last of the four to be available in English translation. The hard-drinking, romantic Conde, who's wanted to become a writer but ended up as a policeman in a corrupt and struggling land, constantly questions his fate as he investigates the murder of young, good-looking school teacher, Lissette Núñez Delgado, who taught at Pre-University High School, the same school Conde attended in his youth. Conde's return to his old school triggers nostalgia and regrets as he interviews the headmaster, students and fellow teachers. The original title, Vientos de Cuaresma
(The Winds of Lent
), captures the extensive wind imagery that Padura skillfully uses to capture Conde's state of mind. (June 30)
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Praise for the Havana Quartet:"Overlaid with a rich smoky patina, an atmosphere that reeks of slums and riches, cigar smoke and exotic perfumes. Havana Black is a strong tasting book, a rich feast of wit and feeling." Independent"Drenched with that beguiling otherness so appealing to fans of mysteries of other cultures, Havana Blue will also appeal to those who appreciate the sultry lyricism of James Lee Burke. " Booklist"...a magnificent Dickensian evocation of the city's street hassle; it takes in drugdealers, hookers, people queuing for pizza, newly-weds, the hotels and baseball fans, and captures the enthralling gloom of dimly lit, apocalyptic early-evening Havana.' Times Literary Supplement"A great plot, perfectly executed with huge atmosphere. In Havana Black you can almost smell the cigar smoke, rum and cheap women." Daily Mirror"Conde's quest follows the basic rhythm of the whodunit, but Padura syncopates Havana Red with brilliant riffs on Cuban sex, society, religion, even food." Independent