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Havana Heat: A Lupe Solano Mystery Hardcover – September 19, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Lupe Solano is a sexy, scrappy Miami PI whose social status as a daughter of the Cuban-exile aristocracy opens a lot of doors in South Florida. What's behind those doors in Havana Heat include family secrets, tangled political alliances, and the rumored (but undiscovered) final tapestry in the Unicorn series, the Flemish masterpieces bought from a French aristocrat by John D. Rockefeller and given by him to New York's Cloisters Museum, where they draw thousands of admirers annually.

A lavish wedding uniting two members of Cuban-American royalty sets the scene for the secret assignment pressed on Lupe by Lucia Miranda, whose ancestor sailed with Christopher Columbus, got off the boat in Cuba after the last voyage, and supposedly kept his captain's gift from Queen Isabella--the eighth Unicorn tapestry. Lucia wants Lupe to retrieve the tapestry from its hiding place in Havana and smuggle it back to Miami. Since Lupe's already made a specialty of reuniting the stolen or confiscated work of Cuban artists with the rightful owners, and the Unicorn tapestries have a special place in her heart, she agrees to the proposition--much to the dismay of her boyfriend, a sexy Cuban activist lawyer. But there's a backup boy toy waiting in the wings who offers Lupe another job that dovetails neatly with the Unicorn hunt and points her to Havana in her father's luxurious Hatteras yacht.

There's enough suspense here to fuel an interesting plot, along with the allure of a closed society whose rituals and mores are exotic and largely unknown to many readers, and a heroine whose combination of sass, smarts and style make her consistently fun to hang out with. You could do a lot worse than curl up with Lupe until Sue Grafton pens another in her alphabet series. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

Stylish Cuban-American private eye Lupe Solano returns for her fifth exotic and suspenseful outing, after last year's A Miracle in Paradise. Attending a niece's wedding along with her current flame, attorney Alvaro Mendoza, Lupe is approached by Lucia Miranda, a member of the groom's high-powered and socially prominent family. Lucia has a dangerous task she hopes Lupe will undertake. Centuries ago, Christopher Columbus entrusted a medieval tapestry, a gift from Spain's Queen Isabella, into the safekeeping of his friend and shipmate, Rogelio Miranda, Lucia's ancestor. This prize is none other than the missing eighth tapestry of the famous Hunt of the Unicorn series hanging in the Cloisters in New York City. Lucia wants Lupe to retrieve the tapestry from its hiding place, deep beneath the Miranda family home in Havana, and bring it to Miami so that the dying clan matriarch can view it one last time. Intersecting this case is that of Angel Estrada, an art dealer with questionable ethics, who wants Lupe's help in smuggling art out of Cuba. Estrada's murder puts Lupe on the trail of a dangerous killer. Her quest for the tapestry takes her to Cuba, but not until she returns to Miami does she uncover the complete truth of both cases. Lupe Solano is an enjoyably hedonistic sleuth, and Garc!a-Agu!lera's chatty, congenial style will beguile readers for several pleasing hours and leave them looking forward to Lupe's next foray into Miami vice.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038097780X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380977802
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,476,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maria Y. Lima on September 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Once again, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera takes us into the world of Cuban-American politics and sentiments as Lupe takes on her fifth case. One of my favorite protagonists, Lupe still sizzles as she delves into the world of smuggled art treasures, once owned by prominent Cuban families, then confiscated by Castro & his minions during the revolution. When she's asked to "liberate" the famous missing eighth Unicorn tapestry from a family homestead in Havana, Lupe has doubts. But when the bodies begin to fall, she realizes that there's more to it than just one family's desire to get their art back.
HAVANA HEAT is a winner all the way! I already can't wait for the next installment in the Lupe Solano series.
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Format: Hardcover
Cuban-American private investigator Lupe Solano cannot stand attending the society wedding even if her cousin is the bride. However, the boring reception picks up when the groom,'s Aunt Lucia declares that an eighth Unicorn Tapestry exists in Havana. Lupe knows that the Upper Manhattan Cloisters Museum houses the seven known tapestries, but the possibility of another one is intriguing except for a trip back to Cuba to obtain the priceless item.

As Lupe mulls over the wisdom of a clandestine visit to Havana, sleazy art dealer Angel Estrada tries to hire Lupe to also go to Cuba to smuggle out paintings by his sister. Finally, her former lover attorney Tommy McDonald wants Lupe to look into the ownership of an apparently stolen painting. When murder enters the fray, Lupe realizes Havana may be her only chance of not becoming the next victim.

HAVANA HEAT, the fifth Lupe Solano mystery, is an exciting tale that provides focus on the Cuban-American population. The story line includes three cases that keep Lupe hopping non-stop. Lupe retains her freshness and the support cast propels the tale forward, provides humor to the plot and adds insight into the lead character. Carolina Garcia-Aguilera has written another strong ethnic mystery that showcases her ability to provide the audience with an engaging novel.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Havana Heat," by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, is a detective thriller featuring Miami-based private investigator Lupe Solano. She is a Cuban-American woman in her 30s. She's tough, resourceful, daring, and sometimes a little lusty. The author bio inside the back cover notes that Garcia-Aguilera was born in Cuba, and like her heroine worked as a licensed private detective in Miami.
In this story Lupe becomes involved in two cases involving valuable works of art. Along the way she faces personal danger, deceit and murder. This is a fast-moving, colorful, and sometimes funny tale. The international intrigue and adventure often give the book a sort of James Bond feel--in fact, I could imagine agent 007 finding a worthy partner in Lupe if one of his assignments ever brought him to Miami.
The author does a particularly effective job in illuminating the practical, nuts-and-bolts aspects of Lupe's detective technique. The book is not only an exciting detective thriller--it also is very much about Cuban-American history, politics, and identity. As an "ethnic" American detective, Lupe could be seen as sort of a soul sister to Harry Kemelman's Rabbi Small. But whether you look at this book as a straightforward mystery or as part of the tradition of ethnic American literature, I think that "Havana Heat" is a winner.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sassy, sexy Cubana PI, Lupe Solano, firmly believes she should have been born a man. Lupe says she thinks like a man, acts like one and lives her life like one. She is, however, speaking about sexual politics and roles in the world she knows best - Miami's Little Havana, and her point of view is that of an upper-class Cuban-American woman. Although she may be very different from other women in her community, she is certainly all female - an independent and feisty one. Carolina Garcia-Aguilera brings her protagonist and supporting cast to life with much wit and an insider's cultural and political take on the Miami community. Lupe is one of the most interesting women private investigators around today - earthy but sophisticated, packs a pistol and paints her nails - a gumshoe who wears Manolo Blahnicks.
Lupe and her "latest love interest" attend her niece Marianna's wedding to a very wealthy scion of the old Cuban aristocracy, where she is approached by the groom's Aunt Lucia. A family heirloom, a lost tapestry given to an ancestor by Christopher Columbus in 1502, is hidden in Havana and the family has been unable to retrieve it for 40+ years. Very few people know that the antique masterpiece exists. Lucia wants to hire our gal PI to travel to Cuba and bring it back. Before Lupe can even pack her suitcase, a shady business acquaintance turns up dead - strangled with a pair of pantyhose. Then a second murder occurs and Lupe begins to suspect that the killings and her quest for the priceless tapestry could be connected.
"Havana Heat" is an enthralling mystery filled with international intrigue, suspense, murder, details of the Cuban art world, and an insider's close-up portrait of a little-known community. Ms. Garcia-Aguilera writes from experience as she was born in Cuba, raised in Little Havana and worked as a licensed PI in Miami for over ten years. Her research is impeccable and her humor adds much to the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this one!
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