Translated by Peter Bush
Winner of the Café de Gijón Prize, the Novela Negra Prize and the Hammett Prize.
The first of the Havana quartet featuring Lieutenant Mario Conde, a tropical Marlowe. A body is found in a Havana park. A young transvestite dressed in a beautiful red evening dress, strangled. The victim had fled his family, finding refuge with Marqués, a forgotten man in his own country, an author and theatre director once condemned by his government for being a “heretical homosexual”, living alone surrounded only by books, his house in ruins. In the baking heat of the Havana summer Conde moves through a Cuban reality where nothing is what it seems, a dark, 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.
Padura’s masterful prose and eye for detail evoke the Havana that millions of tourists have come to know: crumbling architecture, peeling paintwork and a pulsating, searing sensuality beneath the tropical sun.