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Havana Gold [Paperback]

Leonardo Padura , Peter Bush
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

10 April 2008
Praise for the Havana Quartet, Havana Red, another winner from Bitter Lemon Press. - The New York Times. Overlaid with a rich smoky patina, an atmosphere that reeks of slums and riches, cigar smoke and exotic perfumes. -The Independent. Talk about unexpected discoveries, the Havana Quartet is a revelation. With a nod to Key Largo and a virtual bow to The Maltese Falcon, these novels are ultimately about the redemptive nature of undying friendship and the potentially destructive nature of undying love. - The Atlantic Monthly. Drenched with that beguiling otherness so appealing to fans of mysteries of other cultures, it will also appeal to those who appreciate the sultry lyricism of James Lee Burke - Booklist. The fourth title of the prize-winning Havana Quartet . Twenty-four-year-old Lissette Delgado was beaten, raped, and then strangled with a towel. Marijuana is found in her apartment and her wardrobe is suspiciously beyond the means of a high school teacher. Lieutenant Conde is pressured by the highest authority to conclude this investigation quickly when chance leads him into the arms of a beautiful redhead, a saxophone player who shares his love for jazz and fighting fish. This is a Havana of crumbling, grand buildings, secrets hidden behind faded doors, and corruption. For an author living in Cuba, Leonardo Padura is remarkably outspoken about the failings of Fidel Castro's regime. Yet this is a eulogy of Cuba, its life of music, sex, and the great friendships of those who elected to stay and fight for survival.

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Havana Gold + Havana Blue (Mario Conde Mystery 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: BITTER LEMON PRESS; Tra edition (10 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904738281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904738282
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 394,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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

About the Author

Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana and lives in Cuba. He is a novelist, essayist, journalist and scriptwriter. Havana Gold has been published in Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Germany and France.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars seedy,sexy,seductive 22 July 2008
the opposite of pacy. a crime who-done-it where the 'who' is not it's raison d'etre. Havana perfect for seditious detective with sex on (mostly) his mind.
''Are you going to stay the night?''
Karina tasted her coffee and looked at him.
''I don't think so. I've got a lot of work on tomorrow.I'd rather sleep at my place''
''So would I,'' he added not without irony.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Havana Gold 26 Feb 2009
I have just read this book while staying in old Havana!

This is an atmospheric detective novel that will make you wish that you also are able to visit Havana and to experience the ups and downs of socialism in the sun. The plot itself is only part of reading the book; it is as much about Conde's (the detective) musing and philosphising about life, sex, Havana, Cuba and food (with detailed recipes!. the only downside of the novel is the sometimes too literal and pedantic translation from the Spanish. Read it and enjoy both Conde and Cuba.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Havana police procedural 1 Jun 2008
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
In 1989 Cuban police detective Mario Conde hates being a cop as he would have preferred to be a writer. However, no matter how he tries to romanticize his existence, he must eat and so cop he is. Drinking helps him when state sponsored corruption interferes with his investigation.

His current case makes him want to quit in order to turn into a 24/7 alcoholic. Someone murdered pretty Pre-University High School schoolteacher, Lissette Nunez Delgado. This particular inquiry hits home as Conde went to school here when he dreamed of becoming a Cuban Hemingway. As he interviews the headmaster, staff and pupils, Conde wonders what happened to his dreams and those of his countrymen.

The fourth Havana police procedural is a great tale (likes its colorful predecessors) that follows one year in the life of a dedicated cynical Cuban cop. The story line is fast-paced as Conde investigates the murder of a young popular teacher, but runs into bureaucracy from the school and his superiors. However, the key to this saga remains the disenchanted hero who struggles to do his job properly, which to him means solving the case, but to others connotes satisfying the state and the Party.

Harriet Klausner
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Series 26 Dec 2009
By A. Gaynor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read the entire series and I would have to say Havana Gold is the best of the group. The case that Lt. Conde is handed takes him back to his old high school to investigate the murder of a young, popular teacher who may not be exactly what she seemed in the classroom, while in his personal life he becomes entangled (literally) with a woman who's as mysterious as she is passionate. To complete the story, stir in some bad blood with another detective and the copious amount of rum that The Count uses as a self-prescribed anesthetic in order to cope with his job and life.

While Havana Gold is the fourth book released in the series, in Padura's chronology it's the second story. Each book is set in each season of the year 1989; Blue, winter; Gold, spring; Red, summer; Black, autumn. While each book stands on it's own and it's not necessary to read them in any particular order, Padura does make backward references, so you might want to take that into consideration.

Lastly, Padura is not an "easy read"; his prose can sometimes get ponderous, especially during Conde's introspective periods, which are frequent. But it also flows, such as in Havana Red where the author describes each one of a number of individuals at a party in way that makes you feel you're actually there scanning the room, all in one sentence that encompasses an entire page. Also beware of sudden changes of tense and person that'll leave you wondering, "Where did this come from?". Don't worry, it'll become obvious as you read on.

Hope this helps.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Mystery 23 Jun 2008
By Blue Cities - Published on Amazon.com
I recommend the entire Havana Quartet. This is the Mystery genre combined with that 'mysterious' thing we call Literature. In the not-too-distant future, when Havana is destroyed by MacDonalds, Starbucks, and Target, these books will no doubt recall a different era in Havana that one may look back to with nostalgia (not so different, perhaps, that one feels for New York City before it became something between Las Vegas and Disneyworld for the rich, famous, and wretched!). After reading the Quartet, I also recommend the other Mario Conde mystery entitled, "Adios, Hemingway." Another Mario Conde mystery set six, seven years later.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One more good one! 28 Jun 2008
By Don Goyo - Published on Amazon.com
This is the fourth of the Mario Conde books. This novel documents an interesting time in Cuban history, the tail end of the Soviet Union when Cuba's socialist system was working. Conde, as many of the protaganists in Cuban art, struggles against the need to be a part of the collective, which means reining in his free spirit. Great characters and an interesting glimpse of how in a socialist society, greed, jealousy and ambition push people to go past society's limits.

Lots of interesting details about CUban life in the 1980's, an era some call the "Golden Age" of Cuban socialism.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "squalid and moving" 8 May 2013
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Police Lieutenant Mario Condo, who wants to be a writer rather than a policeman, seems to be writing Havana quartet while in the throes of an investigation. It's to be "a chronicle of love, hatred, happiness and frustration." Havana Gold certainly qualifies as that.

The case Mario's working on in this book is challenging. A young woman chemistry teacher at Mario's old high school is found beaten, twice raped and strangled in her apartment. Drugs are in evidence. Yet she was a member of the Communist Youth, an exemplary cadre with a pristine ideological record.

The book is rich in poetic passages on the decaying beauty of Havana. And as in other books, Mario wallows in nostalgia for his innocent or not-so-innocent high school days. His friends are still the same guys he hung out with in high school. Mario has a real talent for friendship, but he's not lucky in love.

He's desperately in love in this book, and the reader is treated to some exuberant scenes of steamy coupling with bizarre embellishments. Leonardo Padura excels at such scenes. They do strike me as being a bit of a male fantasy, which is okay too.

As the investigation unfolds, Mario exhibits an excess of machismo and immaturity; a total lack of restraint in the consumption of rum; and an unrealistic attitude towards women. But this is his odd charm as an investigator.

Mario often proclaims he wants to write something someday that's "squalid and moving." That perfectly describes the Havana Quartet.
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