“A magnificent novel. Haunted by the tragic story and passion of its characters.”— Magazine Littéraire
The first of the Havana quartet featuring Inspector Mario Conde, a tropical Marlowe. A young transvestite in a beautiful red dress is found strangled in a Havana park. Conde’s investigation into a violent murder exposes a stifling, corrupt society, a Cuban reality where nothing is what it seems. A dark and fascinating world of men and women born in the revolution who live without dreaming of exile and seek their identity in the midst of disaster.
Leonardo Padura lives in Cuba. He is a novelist, essayist, journalist and scriptwriter. Havana Red has won numerous literary prizes, including the Hammett prize in Spain.
About the Author
Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana. He is a prize winning novelist, essayist, journalist and scriptwriter. International fame came with the publication of the Havana Quartet, all featuring Lieutenant Mario Conde, of which Havana Black is the second to be available in English.The Quartet has been translated into seven languages and has won numerous prizes including Spain's Hammett Prize.
Leonardo Padura has just won the 2015 Princess of Asturias Literary prize for his life’s work. This prize is said to be the Spanish Nobel Prize. Previous winners include Philip Roth, John Banville, Margaret Atwood, Amin Maalouf and Ismail Kadare. Padura is most famous for his Inspector Mario Conde novels, all published in English by Bitter Lemon Press.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1989 the strangled corpse of a man choked to death by a red ribbon around his throat but also wearing a beautiful expensive red dress is found in the Havana Woods. Lieutenant Mario Conde leads the investigation into the homicide of Alexis Arayan, the son of a highly respected diplomat, making the case politically significant....................... Mario learns that the victim lived with playwright and director Alberto Marques so he begins his inquiries with the former theater great disgraced and exiled by the government as a non because he is a homosexual. Marques gave Alexis, who fled from his family, refuge allowing the young transvestite to move into his falling apart home alongside his only treasure, books. As the case turns even darker under the tropical summer sun, Marques assists Mario on the investigation while trying not to hinder the law enforcement official due to his sexual preference branding him an outcast.................. HAVANA RED is a terrific Cuban police procedural that provides a dark view of life on the island. The cast makes the story line as the audience sees first hand how a dedicated cop struggles to solve a murder mystery while the Party looks over his shoulder. Marques is a two edged sword as the government¿s displeasure with him is a problem, but his access to the underground is an asset. Leonardo Padura has three more Conde novels to come in what has started off as a fantastic first tale................. Harriet Klausner
A murder mystery set in Havana by a Cuban author, Havana Red was first published in Spanish under the name Mascaras (Masks). The story goes beyond crime fiction, delving into the murky world of homosexuals and their persecution by the Cuban government. Mario Conde, "The Count", is a lapsed writer and police detective investigating the murder of a transvestite. During the investigation we meet persecuted artists, corrupt police and government officials, and people living with coffee and food shortages and trying to make a living without being caught by the government. The lyrical and philosphical prose carries the story throughout. When Conde does pick up his typewriter again the ribbon is "half covered in rot and good intentions."