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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Midnight in Havana
This is the first Inspector Ricardo Ramirez mystery and it begins with the death of his grandmother, when he is only nine years old. She passes to him, "my gift to you, as the eldest child." Her gift is the ability to see the dead and, indeed, as the Inspector in charge of the Havana Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, Ramirez is constantly...
Published 12 months ago by S Riaz

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start, but a rushed finale
This opens with the young future Cuban Police Inspector Ricardo Ramirez being blessed - or cursed - by his grandmother on her deathbed, with the ability to see ghosts.
Murder victims - mute and visible only to Ramirez - accompany him as he goes about his business.
His grandmother's dementia was responsible for her "visions" and Ramirez fears he has inherited it...
Published 13 months ago by B. A. V. MIDDLEMAST-NEAL


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Midnight in Havana, 30 Aug 2013
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is the first Inspector Ricardo Ramirez mystery and it begins with the death of his grandmother, when he is only nine years old. She passes to him, "my gift to you, as the eldest child." Her gift is the ability to see the dead and, indeed, as the Inspector in charge of the Havana Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, Ramirez is constantly followed by the victims of the crimes he is investigating. As well as the dead, Ramirez is aided by his subordinate, Detective Rodriquez Sanchez and pathologist, Hector Apiro.

It is Christmas Eve, 2006, and Mike and Hillary Ellis are on holiday. Mike Ellis is a detective from Canada, who recently suffered a violent facial injury, while his partner was killed. However, the holiday which should have helped heal him, has resulted in his marriage crumbling in recrimination and anger. Hillary hates Cuba and, after a major argument, heads home leaving Mike Ellis alone. When a young boy, seen begging from the couple the day before, is found murdered, Ellis is the prime suspect. In Cuba he has no legal rights and Ramirez is under pressure to complete the investigation within a strict timeline. Can Canadian lawer, Celia Jones, save him from the firing squad?

This is an assured and well written debut. If you enjoy crime stories set in unusual locations, then you will enjoy this. I had only a very sketchy idea of what Cuba is like, having never visited the country. Ramirez is hampered, in both his professional and personal life, by shortages - there are few toys, little petrol, meat, soap, pencils or even crime scene tape available. At one point, there is no possibility of checking something as there are no batteries for the calculator and the internet is banned. The author cleverly weaves her story and location together, with a well written plot and great characters. Readers, just be aware that in the US, this book was titled, "The Beggar's Opera", so be careful you don't buy the same book twice. I look forward to reading on in this series and am pleased to see that there is a sequel available for pre-order The Poisoned Pawn (Inspector Ramirez Novel).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dead Will Come, 14 Sep 2013
By 
HJK (Gomersal UK) - See all my reviews
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"the dead will come" so said Inspector Ramirez's grandmother to him when she was dying.

Ricardo Ramirez was 9 years old at the time, now he is a police inspector in Havana & he sees dead people!

Mike Ellis is a Canadian detective on holiday in Havana with his wife....It is the Christmas Holidays...They meet a Cuban boy who is begging, Ellis gives him some pesos ... later the boy is found dead in the harbour.

2 other main characters are - Hector Apiro - the pathologist in the Major Crimes Unit - & - Celia Jones - a Canadian lawyer.

All the characters have their own problems & the shortages in Cuba are just as acute in the police department as everywhere else.

I just loved this book it was gripping and has passion, corruption & danger all mixed in with the mystery of the boy's death. It was so interesting to read especially with the differences in Cuban & Canadian law - (and UK law).

The author is a Canadian lawyer and this book is the first in a series - I have noted that the second book - The Poisoned Pawn - will be published in February 2014 - I cannot wait to read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent first novel, 27 July 2013
By 
S. E. Martin "Popsytops" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Midnight in Havana (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed reading this and wish the author well. I really feared for the life of poor Mike and wondered how on earth they were going to get him off the clearly fabricated case.
My one criticism is there was too much explanation at the end which, although well written and I read it, was a mark of inexperience I think. Also the epilogue, while an interesting twist, made me think back over the case and made one or two things unravel a bit. Nevertheless I'm looking forward to the next book. Hurry up with the writing of it, Peggy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start, but a rushed finale, 10 July 2013
This opens with the young future Cuban Police Inspector Ricardo Ramirez being blessed - or cursed - by his grandmother on her deathbed, with the ability to see ghosts.
Murder victims - mute and visible only to Ramirez - accompany him as he goes about his business.
His grandmother's dementia was responsible for her "visions" and Ramirez fears he has inherited it. He bears this burden alone, unwilling to share it with anyone, even his beloved wife.
The author takes her time setting the scene; the premise is interesting and she slips in details of the privations suffered by the ordinary Cuban people as a result of American foreign policy. It is clear where her sympathies lie.
There is no humour in this story - nothing alleviates the grinding poverty of the people or the vast differences between their lives and the affluence of the tourists'. To what lengths, therefore, will the children go to earn a few pesos to support their families? This is the reason why Ramirez is investigating the brutal rape and murder of a little Cuban boy, who has been procured for sex.
Having taken her time to set the scene, the author rapidly speeds up the plot progression after the accused's lawyer arrives in Cuba. From this point, things are rushed - as if the author is anxious to realise the denouement; this is a shame and - in my opinion - the book suffers for it.
This is an easy read; the publisher's claims that this is a "literary" crime novel are exaggerated. This is Peggy Blair's debut novel though, and she has talent. I hope she isn't persuaded to speed up production in the hope of writing a bestseller. That would be a real shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great debut, 27 July 2013
By 
Cambridge Ian (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
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Having read my way through various Scandinavian and Icelandic crime novels I've been looking for something different and not just a straight up American detective novel.

This debut novel offered something different, one its set in Cuba and 2 the lead detective can "see" the victims as he investigates the crimes. You can get an idea on the story from the description so I won't add to that here, but this is well written and a quick exciting read.

The author is Canadian and so is one of the principal characters but the vision of Cuba is honest and without any romantic view on the place, poverty and what that brings is the order of the day here.

The start of an interesting series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight in Havana, 6 July 2013
By 
R. Gardner "Corriebob" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I found this one a cracker of a story line by a new to me author Peggy Blair a Canadian. It's an Inspector Ramirez Mystery, New to me and I would suppose a continuing series. I found that I had to get back to it and given the time I would have finished it in one session. It is set in Old Havana on Cuba, I know a little about the Island and the feeling of the story was just right. A Canadian detective and his wife set the scene and very quickly we find the story builds with intrigue and more intrigue, The inspector has a ghostly figure following him and I was quite puzzled by this at first, but all will be explained. The story line is fairly straight forward in the first third and with questions to be answered, but as you carry on it builds up nicely. There are some really nice twists and turns, great story line and frankly I look forward to the next one by the same author. I would be surprised if you didn't like this, No guns blazing and shoot outs, just a good story well presented, certainly one of the best for me books I've had recently.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much more than a detective novel - looking forward to the next one!, 5 July 2013
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This review is from: Midnight in Havana (Kindle Edition)
This is a detective novel set in Havana around 2006. The author seems to understand Cuban politics and life, plus international politics and, of course, detective work; all this makes for a very believable read, without labouring any points (Steig Larson!). Wouldn't make you want to visit Cuba as a tourist but evokes a great sense of the place and the shock of a foreigner caught up in it. The characters, especially Detective Ramirez and Apiro, really came to life and I was constantly turning pages to find the next move. And the opening is one of the best I have ever read! All in all, a great book and I will be ordering the next one as soon as it is due.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars smart crime fiction, 4 July 2013
Fans who love reading crime fiction this is a new name to keep at watch out for. This story is full of drama. A Candadian Dectective Mark Ellis takes his wife to Havana in hope to save his troubled marriage. Mark and his wife have an argument with his wife leaving Havana and leaving Mark in Havana alone.
Mark ends up getting arrested. But I do not want to spoil how or why. Y ou can buy this book on lovereading. I have a full review on this book and more book reviews on my word pres site ireadnovels wordpress com
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4.0 out of 5 stars Promising first novel., 23 Aug 2014
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A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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A fairly standard modern procedural - the unusual but topical locale (Cuba, with its old problems of socialist deprivation and new problems of sex tourism) and the detective with a quirk (Inspector Ramirez communes with ghosts).

There are perhaps some issues with the structure of the novel, writing this sort of stuff being very much about pace and a satisfying denouement, neither of which the author gets quite right, but all the ingredients are in place and her atmospheric descriptions of contemporary Cuba alone make this a worthwhile read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is brilliant! For all who live a bit of supernatural ..., 30 July 2014
By 
Claire, Lulu "Lulu" (UK) - See all my reviews
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I see dead people... and they follow me around!
This book is brilliant! For all who live a bit of supernatural vs crime, two of my favourite genre's and this combines them both. Gripping and thrilling, definitely an author to watch. If you are a fan of crime dramas and a bit of supernatural, definitely read this, it is the first book and looks like it won't be the last :-) Give it a try, the characters are so realistic and come to life in your mind. Well worth the time to read this!
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Midnight in Havana
Midnight in Havana by Peggy Blair
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