'If you read only one crime book in translation this year, make it this one, a book that grabs you from the start and whips along at pace - and in which the twists, unlike those in so many crime books, are credible. This is what people would do, you think, caught in a hell of their own making. Set in Argentina (Buenos Aires) the hell is domestic, the eternal triangle - or is there another side? Inés discovers a love letter to her husband, follows him to the woods where he'll meet his lover - and sees him push and accidentally kill her. What to do - should Inés reveal herself, and what will her husband do? He dumps the body in a lake. Naturally, he says nothing to his wife, and she doesn't tell him what she knows. But as the police close in she decides to help him. After a few steps she finds she's on a dangerous wrong path. Piñeiro is a best-selling Argentinian author, and unlike many South American books this one doesn't loiter. It screams out to become a film - The Postman Only Brings Double Indemnity perhaps'. - CrimeTime
'According to the faithful housewife who narrates Argentinean crime writer Claudia Piñeiro's (Thursday Night Widows) darkly comic All Yours, "However painful it is to admit it, at some time or other, all women are deceived by their husbands." Ines has been married to Ernesto for 19 years, since they were both 17. When she finds a heart drawn in lipstick with the words "All yours" across it, signed "your true love," in his briefcase, Ines decides not to overreact, convinced that the woman will be history in a week. When the affair persists, she eavesdrops on a late-night phone call and decides to follow him. She watches him meet his secretary in Palermo Woods, and when the young Alicia tries to cling to him, Ernesto pushes her away so violently that she falls, strikes her head against a log and dies.
Instantly Ines becomes Ermesto's no-nonsense accomplice, determined to protect her husband. Ernesto is such a blubbering bungler that she quickly takes charge of washing the mud off the car and getting rid of every clue. But Ines has made one big mistake. The girl she saw Ernesto accidentally kill is not the one he's having an affair with--"True love" is still very much alive. Like the best crime novels, nothing happens quite as planned and schemes go frighteningly awry. When their secretly pregnant 17-year-old daughter tries to steal money for an abortion from her mother's hiding place, she instead finds her father's love letters. When Ernesto tries to escape to Rio with his girlfriend, he forgets the important blue folder for his business conference; Ines, devoted wife that she is, races to the airport to give it to him--to find him kissing his girlfriend on the escalator.
The translation by Miranda France is swift, clear and vernacular; the narrative is spare and energetic, the conclusion satisfying. But the creation of Ines is the book's triumph. Her unshakeable faith in her marriage and her determination to save her husband are the heart of this unusual take on the betrayed wife, and Piñeiro brings this unforgettable character to life with delightful gusto. ' - Shelf Awareness
'At the start of this nicely mordant novel of revenge set in 1998 Buenos Aires from Argentinian author Piñeiro (Thursday Night Widows), Ernesto Pereyra tells his wife, Inés, one night that he must go take care of an office emergency. Having just found a suggestive love note in his briefcase, Inés secretly follows him, not to his office, but to an isolated wooded area, where Ernesto meets his secretary, Alicia. From a distance, Inés witnesses their encounter, which turns violent. Alicia falls and hits her head against a tree with fatal results. Inés returns home undetected, convinced that Ernesto still loves her. She's prepared to go to any lengths to conceal her husband's role in Alicia's death, until she discovers his extramarital escapades are more complicated than she thought. Piñeiro artfully telegraphs the plot's direction by interjecting sections detailing evidence later used against someone in a criminal prosecution. Noir fans will appreciate the final twist.' - Publishers Week
'According to the faithful, devoted housewife narrator of Argentinean crime writer Claudia Pineiro's darkly comic All Yours, "...however painful it is to admit it, at some time or other, all women are deceived by their husbands ". Ines has been married to Ernesto for nineteen years, since they were both seventeen. He hasn't made love to her in two months. When she finds a love heart drawn in lipstick with the words "All yours " across it and signed "your true love " in her husband's briefcase, Ines decides not to over-react, convinced that the woman will be history in a week. When the affair persists, she eavesdrops on a particularly late phone call and decides to follow him. She watches him meet his secretary in Palermo Woods, and when the young Alicia tries to cling to him, Ernesto pushes her away so violently that she falls and kills herself striking her head on a log in the undergrowth.Instantly Ines becomes his no-nonsense accomplice, practical-minded, far from jealous, and determined to protect her husband at all costs. Ernesto is such a blubbering bungler that she quickly takes charge of washing the mud off the car and getting rid of every clue. Even when Ernesto is lying to her face, telling her he was the victim of sexual harassment (which doesn't explain those smiling photos of him in the nude!) Ines still defends him, forgives him and loves him. She's like an elemental force, a tsunami of love. But Ines has made one big mistake. The girl she saw Ernesto accidentally kill is not the same one he's having an affair with - Truelove is still very much alive.
Like the best crime novels, nothing happens quite as planned and schemes go frighteningly awry. When their secretly pregnant seventeen-year-old daughter tries to steal money for an abortion from her mother's hiding place, she instead finds her father's love letters. When Ernesto tries to escape to Rio with his girlfriend, he forgets the important blue folder for his business conference, and loyal, devoted wife that she is, Ines races to the airport to give it to her husband before his plane takes off -to find him kissing his girlfriend on the escalator. The plot deftly lunges through its twists and turns. The translation by Miranda France is swift, clear and vernacular, though there are a few cases of British slang ( "Blimey! ") that seem out of place in Buenos Aires. The narrative is spare and energetic, the conclusion satisfying. But the creation of Ines is the book's triumph.
Her unshakeable faith in her marriage, in spite of Ernesto's repeated infidelities and dismissive behavior, her determination to save him at all costs, her candor and gutsy law-breaking out of love for her man, are the heart of this unusual take on the betrayed wife, and author Pineiro brings this unforgettable character to life with delightful gusto.' - ShelfAwareness
'Upon opening this slim novel, the reader immediately enters the world of Ines Pereyra, an Argentine woman who firmly believes that "All women are deceived by their husbands. It's like the menopause; it may come sooner or later, but nobody gets away scot-free." She was taught that at her mother's knee after her father left the marital bed, and home. [Her mother is quoted frequently.] After 17 years of marriage, she learns this first-hand when her suspicions turn out to be well-founded. After discovering incriminating love letters and other proof of his indiscretions, she follows him to a park in Buenos Aires one evening, only to witness him in a violent quarrel with a woman, the outcome of which involves him dumping the woman's body in a lake. At first she conspires to alibi her husband, Ernesto, which she believes may only serve to bring them closer, but the reader cannot help but feel this is a far-fetched plan. An alternating story line revolves around Ines and Ernesto's teenage daughter, Laura ("Lali"), who has serious problems of her own arising out of yet another ill-advised sexual encounter, and unfortunately without parents in whom she can confide, being too wrapped up in their own crises as they are. Written with a finely tuned sense of irony, this is an engaging, off-beat and somewhat different kind of tale, one which is recommended.' - MBR Bookwatch
'All Yours, Claudia Piñeiro's new novel, continues her exploration of a theme she explored earlier in Thursday Night Widows. In that novel-a dystopian portrait if life inside a gated-community in Buenos Aires-she performs a ruthless dissection of the political, financial and moral corruption of the pampered Argentine Bourgeoisie. Some of her most scathing pages describe the debasement of family life-the physical and emotional abuse of wives by their husbands, the infidelity of spouses, the neglect of children. In All Yours she narrows the focus and anatomises the disintegration of one such family. It is a disquieting story, powerfully told. Ernesto Pereyra is a successful business man with a wife, a daughter and(at least one) mistress. At home late one evening, he receives a phone call from his mistress and goes to meet her. His wife, aware of the affair and listening in on the extension, follows him and watches as the two have a violent argument that ends with him killing her. Ines Pereyra has secrets of her own-she has been stealing from her husband-so rather than turn her back on him she devotes herself to saving the marriage, offers him an alibi and helps to cover his tracks. As layers of deceit are exposed, however, and depths below depths are revealed, saving the marriage turns to a desire for revenge, and Piñeiro deftly plots the cat-and-mouse game of cross and double-cross as each tries to outwit the other. To describe the Pereyras as a dysfunctional family is to understate the case and resort to the banality of an over-used, contemporary trope. That Piñeiro avoids cliché is tribute not only to her skillful characterizations but also to her ability to weave together background and foreground-the larger sociological picture with its manifestations in the intimacy of family life-to create a disturbing and convincing portrait of a pathology. Her subject is the narcissism that is cause and consequence of the desire for wealth and material possessions, the corruption that results when the values of the market place subordinate all others. If they make for salutary reading, however, Pineiro's novels are, first and foremost, very good thrillers.' - Eastern Daily Press
'This slim novel which racks in at 172 pages in narrated by middle-aged, middle-class wife, Inés Pereyra who begins to suspect her husband Ernesto is having an affair. Their sex life has dwindled down to nothing, and initially Inés is willing to chalk the lack of sex up to exhaustion on her husband's part. But after digging in her husband's briefcase and finding a heart "drawn in lipstick, with the words 'All Yours' across it, and signed 'your true love,' " Inés decides to take action. Inés reasons that she won't repeat her mother's mistake, and so while her "instinct " is to confront Ernesto with the paper heart and demand "What is this, you piece of shit? " instead she suppresses her rage. She decides that whoever drew the heart isn't a serious threat and that Ernesto is "just getting his rocks off. " Nevertheless, Inés increases her vigilance.After a mysterious late night phone call that sends Ernesto flying from the house, Inés follows her philandering husband to a rendezvous. Hiding behind a tree, she sees her husband meeting his long-term, patently upset secretary, Alicia. An emotional argument takes place between Ernesto and Alicia, and it ends with Alicia dead.
Up to this point, Inés seems to be a little odd-one of those prim and proper ladies who worries about how her house looks, and what her neighbours and acquaintances think even while she can happily, and delicately, ascribe her husband's alienation to 'work stress.' She seems to be on the pampered side and is, perhaps, a woman who can't cope with the idea of functioning without a traditional family structure. The initial impression of Inés begins to disintegrate, however, as the story evolves. With gusto and almost savage glee, Inés decides to show Ernesto just what she's made of by providing him with an alibi (they were watching Psycho), even destroying damning evidence in her newly aggressive role of the supportive wife who stands by her man-no matter what. As time goes on, the crime remains unsolved, but life at home changes drastically….What follows is a wickedly funny tale of obsessive love, adultery and revenge. The plot unfolds through Inés' warped view of her toxic marriage, and then, at points, her off-kilter world vision is interrupted by what appear to be police reports. At still another point in the novel, the narration briefly shifts to third person. A sub-plot concerns Inés and Ernesto's daughter, Lali, and while Inés who's rather jealous of Lali's relationship with Ernesto, thinks of her daughter as a protected spoiled brat who lives in a "bubble, " Lali's life quietly unravels in the background.
All Yours is a marvellously clever novel, and I hope my enthusiasm conveys how enjoyable the story is. Initially Inés may seem like one of those perfect housewife types who'll happily sweep anything under the rug rather than confront the fact that their domestic life is anything less than perfect, but when Inés begins to suspect Ernesto of the affair, she almost morphs into a bumbling amateur detective type from a British cosy. From then on as the plot settles into its main premise, Inés is clearly seen as the classic unreliable narrator. So we see events interpreted through her eyes while off in the periphery we get hints that Inés' life is unravelling in ways even she cannot control. When you have a character who sees murder as a less serious offence than the vulgarity of scratching herself, well you know that there's a problem.'- Swiftly Tilting Planet
'ALL YOURS by Argentinian writer Claudia Piñeiro is a slim, tightly packed novella with rollercoaster-like dips and turns. The book opens in the voice and head of Inez, an upper middle-class wife and mother whose world revolves around all things domestic, especially her husband and their teenage daughter. In the early part of her monologue, Inez ponders a month-long absence of conjugal bliss. She attributes her husband's sudden loss of libidinous interest to overwork and exhaustion. This view is shattered when she opens Ernesto's briefcase in search of a pen and finds a heart, sketched with lipstick, transected by the words, "All yours". Inez's initial anger at the discovery of the lettre d'amour quickly morphs into a defense of her family, the "house to die for", and the trappings of her comfortable bourgeois existence. A few nights later Ernesto tells her he must run back to the office to handle a major problem. She follows him to a nearby public park next to a lake and from a distance observes him in a frantic confrontation with his secretary, Alicia. As Alicia tries to cling to Ernesto, he pushes her away. She falls, striking her head. Inez watches as Ernesto tries and fails to resuscitate her.
Inez sees Alicia's death as an opportunity to put their marriage back together again. To this end, the next morning she goes through Alicia's apartment, removing any evidence that might tie Ernesto to Alicia. She also works with Ernesto on the perfect alibi. The alibi is unneeded because Ernesto tossed the body in a lake, and it doesn't surface again until the end of the plot. Inez soon suspects that Ernesto has other amorous interests. She begins to move from a position of defense to one of revenge, but it's hard for her to hold to any strategy in the rapidly unfolding series of revelations and discoveries.
The second plot line, much less developed than the first, is the narrative of Lili, the daughter of Inez and Ernesto. She is as oblivious to their lives as they are to hers. And she's struggling with her own major trauma. ALL YOURS is a fast, compelling read. The world of this desperate housewife of the Argentine continues to spin out of control with murderous consequences to the final sentence in the story.' - Iloveamystery
'Inés leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. So ordinary in fact, the term 'desperate housewife' could have been invented exclusively for her. She is under no illusions about marriage as an institution - but is convinced she knows all about her husband, and all about men and how to handle them - with a little help from her mother, whose observations on losing a man are always at the front of Inés' mind. When Inés follows her husband on an errand one night, she witnesses him having a violent argument with another woman; the woman then suffers a freak accident and dies. Inés takes charge of the ensuing trouble in her usual capable way, with the full confidence of someone who is always in control. But in trying to protect her husband, she comes up against much more than she bargained for. Switching narrative styles between first person, pure dialogue and official paperwork gives this book an excellent pace and keeps the reader enthralled. The parts written from the point of view of Inés are the most compelling; our window into her psyche is nothing less than fascinating. Her descriptions of the enormous complexity and tedium that her life provides, her study of how hard she works to keep her man and the occasional glimpses of her childhood with an absent father, combine to make her character clear and easily understandable. It's hard to have sympathy for her; at some points I found her immensely unpleasant, but the depiction of a woman living that sort of life is flawless. Such is her plausibility, the reader is convinced by much of what she says, and her view of the other characters. However, as the drama unfolds, it becomes clear that the picture Inés paints for us is only part of the story. It takes a little while for the other characters to move centre stage, but when they do, having seen them only through the eyes of Inés, it is as much a shock for the reader to find out what is really going on, as it is for her. Although the book is economically written and suits the style of narrative very well, there are time where the 'stream of consciousness' style leads to pages with no paragraph breaks; this is the only time that it feels like hard work to read. Other than that, this is a well-paced thriller with well drawn characters and a satisfying ending.' - Book bag
'Now and again a surprising little gem comes along. This summer it has to be All Yours by Claudia Piñeiro (translated by Miranda France) published by Bitter Lemon Press. A novella rather than a full length novel, All Yours certainly packs a punch with its tale of infidelity leading to murder.Kicking off with narration from Inés, the wife, this is compulsive reading. She takes you straight into the heart of the problem and her identification of the symptoms in her marriage (in the bedroom). Her tone intrigues. Could she be highly perceptive and a little sarcastic in her recollections? Or is she so obsessed with the values drummed into her by her mother that she is deluded? We know the symptoms but can we have confidence in the accuracy of her diagnosis and treatment selection?
When Inés follows her husband Ernesto she sees an unfortunate accident and a death. She decides that to protect her marriage and her family life she must don the armour plating of strategic support and take control and direct the situation. In doing so, Inés sets off a row of falling dominoes where nothing is really as she imagines and no one responds as she expects. The result is pure tragedy.Piñeiro's style marries the unreliable narration of Inés with telephone conversations of her daughter Lali to other parties, and with after the fact reports from an investigation. All work well together to build to a curdling denouement. Piñeiro gives us characters who will remain in the mind long after reading: Inés, Lali, Ernesto, and Inés's mother who never appears in a scene but is only mentioned.
Sometimes the package may be smaller but the contents deliver very strong liquor. All Yours is all that in book form.'
- It's a Crime (or a Mystery)
'Translated from the Spanish by Miranda France, this is a brisk, smartly written thriller by Argentina's leading crime novelist. Finding evidence that her husband is having an affair, housewife Ines follows him to a park late one night where she sees him arguing with his secretary before he pushes her away, accidentally breaking her neck on a log. Ines immediately resolves to hide all the traces that connect Ernesto with the death, and her stoicism, pragmatism and decisiveness are remarkable-although she presumably thinks she's doing no more than a loyal wife's duty. Ines's account is so lean and shorn of unnecessary detail that the story zips by, enhanced by a pleasing twist or two.'
- Glasgow Herald
'An under-stimulated housewife and her philandering husband breed mayhem in this crime novel by best-selling Argentinean author Claudia Pineiro. Pineiro weaves a tale of intrigue and plot twists centering on Inés, a smart but bored housewife. In first-person narrative, Inés conveys an innocent charm, despite the fact that her husband Ernesto's affairs keep her constantly on edge and terrified that he will leave her-just as her father walked out on her mother. The fast-paced narrative paints a sad picture of a truly desperate housewife in under 200 pages. Fearing Ernesto's latest exploit might be getting too serious, Inés follows him one evening and witnesses an argument between his secretary and him that results in the secretary's accidental death. Convinced by the argument that the affair was not serious, Inés takes matters into her own hands to ensure that Ernesto will not be a suspect in the disappearance of his secretary. "A man who kills a woman then goes to pieces. It's like a monkey with a gun. Really dangerous. I took the initiative; if I didn't grab the reins, we'd be lost." And so she gathers up all the letters from "truelove" she finds stashed among Ernesto's things, as well as other incriminating evidence at the secretary's home, including a pink heart inscribed "All Yours." Suddenly her life seems to be important. "Things were becoming more complicated, but also more fun."Meanwhile, the couple's teenage daughter is struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, a boyfriend who left her, and knowledge of her father's affair. Her situation unfolds in short chapters of dialogue between her and her friends as well as strangers. Inés is so absorbed in her own soap opera that she is not even concerned when her daughter does not come home at night. And Ernesto can't even remember to buy the perfume he promised, while on a trip to Rio with his lover. Interspersed with the narrative chapters are what appear to be legal or investigative proceedings presenting excerpts from various documents found in Inés' home and rental car. These documents are primarily from forensic reports that relate to the manner of death suffered by the secretary and appear to incriminate Ines. After a couple of clever plot twists, the ultimate consequences to the couple areleft for the reader to ponder. As for Inés, she concludes, "When it comes down to it, nobody is innocent."Claudia Pineiro's previous novel, Thursday Night Widows, was awarded the Clarin Prize for Fiction. All Yours was a finalist for the Planeta Prize and a bestseller in Argentina, Spain, and Germany.' - ForeWard Reviews
'All Yours, Argentine writer Claudia Piñeiro's second novel to be translated into English (in this case by Miranda France), is really more a satire than a crime novel, and it's sometimes quite funny, in a dark way. While that's also true of her first book, Thursday Night Widows, that novel is a bit more complex and realistic. All Yours is more like a novella, with a plot that takes a couple of twists and is narrated in several voices but is much more straightforward that the earlier book.
Ines overhears a phone conversation between her husband, Ernesto, and a woman, and suspects betrayal. She follows him and witnesses a confrontation between Ernesto and his secretary: he shoves her and she falls against a tree stump, breaking her neck. Ines sneaks away without confronting Ernesto, and what follows (mostly in her voice but also briefly in his and occasionally in what seem to be police documents) is a tale of self-deception and revenge and a final twist.
Interspersed with the main story is the story, mostly in dialogue, of Ines and Ernesto's teenage daughter, who suffers from typical teenage angst and a few more serious problems. But her story veers off from the main plot without really reconnecting to her parents' tragedy. I don't know if the book would have been better if her story were more developed or simply left out, but it seems underdeveloped and not that relevant as it is.
But All Yours is a quite interesting social satire, making fun of middle-class suburban life in a more straightforward way that Thursday Night Widows. It's a quick read and remains light and entertaining. In a way, it's the flip side of the social portrait given in Ernesto Mallo's dark novels of the military dictatorship and its aftermath. Piñeiro's world is the shallow bourgeois social miasma that has followed a more overtly dangerous political past. The cover, by the way, is very effective as an image, and suggests the sexuality inherent in the story but isn't otherwise very much related to the plot.'
- International Noir Fiction
'A wickedly funny tale of obsessive love, adultery and revenge. The plot unfolds through Inés' warped view of her toxic marriage, and then, at points, her off-kilter world vision is interrupted by what appear to be police reports. At still another point in the novel, the narration briefly shifts to third person. A sub-plot concerns Inés and Ernesto's daughter, Lali, and while Inés who's rather jealous of Lali's relationship with Ernesto, thinks of her daughter as a protected spoiled brat who lives in a "bubble, " Lali's life quietly unravels in the background.
All Yours is a marvellously clever novel, and I hope my enthusiasm conveys how enjoyable the story is. Initially Inés may seem like one of those perfect housewife types who'll happily sweep anything under the rug rather than confront the fact that their domestic life is anything less than perfect, but when Inés begins to suspect Ernesto of the affair, she almost morphs into a bumbling amateur detective type from a British cosy. From then on as the plot settles into its main premise, Inés is clearly seen as the classic unreliable narrator. So we see events interpreted through her eyes while off in the periphery we get hints that Inés' life is unravelling in ways even she cannot control. When you have a character who sees murder as a less serious offence than the vulgarity of scratching herself, well you know that there's a problem.' - Swiftly Tilting Planet
'In this noir crime novel mostly told from the point of view of a betrayed wife, a tragic accident leads to a web of intrigue and lies. Inez Pereyra is your typical middle-aged wife with a comfortable life, a teenage daughter and a successful husband. When she accidentally finds out she's being cheated on, she follows her husband Ernesto to the woods to find out that the lover that addresses loves letters with "Truelove " is none other than Alicia, her husband's secretary. While hiding behind a tree, she witnesses Ernesto accidentally kill the woman after a brief quarrel. From there she initiates a cover-up in order to protect her status, but that just triggers a wave of incidents that culminates with a surprising and unexpected twist and an ending that keeps the reader wondering.Piñero does a great job by painting her native Buenos Aires in her own way - at one point, she mocks the police's ineptitude as they investigate Alicia's disappearance while she laments the fact that she was not exactly an indigent - as it turns out, she was related to a well-known physician, and this facts cause authorities to take the incident more seriously than it would with others. While this story happens, there is a subplot involving Ernesto and Inez's daughter Lali, who is facing an unwanted pregnancy and being abandoned by her boyfriend while hiding it all from her apparently clueless parents.While most of the plot is told through Inez's point of view, the narrative often shifts to a third-person and even a second-person narrative (during Lali's parts). These shifts give us different perspectives Inez's narration is unable to provide us, including the post-facto investigative notes by the Buenos Aires police and Lali's troubles. "All Yours " is quite a page turner, and it is highly recommended for fans of alternative murder mysteries. ' - x2thel
'When Ines realized the intimate part of her marriage had evaporated she suspected her husband Ernesto was cheating, a suspicion confirmed when she found a smeared lipstick heart on love note tucked into his briefcase. Following her husband one fateful evening, Ines witnessed a confrontation between Ernesto and his secretary that resulted in an accidental death. Ernesto disposed of the body in a nearby lake and together, Ines and he built a strong enough alibi to stymie the police investigation involving the woman's disappearance. The couple's seventeen-year-old daughter Lali is caught in the middle of her parent's emotional nightmare but burdened by an unexpected pregnancy, she has more then enough stress of her own. A phone conversation with the responsible boy's cold blooded, intimidating mother made it clear Lali was on her own. Lali struggles to keep her pregnancy a secret from her distracted parents who continue to maintain the façade of normalcy. Failing to learn his lesson, Ernesto indulges in another affair and this time, Ines has devised a cunning revenge plan that could end up costing them everything.Set in current day Buenos Aires, this emotionally charged mystery delves into the extreme measures some people will take to maintain appearances, a message not lost on their daughter. A nice level of tension is sustained throughout this character driven story that concludes with just the right level of ambiguity. ' - Monsters and Critics