Author(s): Leonardo Padura
On August 6 th 1989 , the day on which the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration, the body of a strangled transvestite is discovered in the humid undergrowth of the Havana Woods. He is wearing a beautiful red evening dress and the red ribbon with which he was asphyxiated is still round his neck. To the consternation of Lieutenant Mario Conde, in charge of the investigation, the victim turns out to be Alexis Arayan, the son of a highly respected diplomat. His investigation begins with a visit to the home of the 'disgraced' dramatist, Alberto Marques, with whom the murdered youth was living. Marques, a man of letters and a former giant of the Cuban theatre, helps Conde solve the crime. In the baking heat of the Havana summer, Conde also unveils a dark, turbulent world of Cubans who live without dreaming of exile, grappling with food shortages and wounds from the Angolan war.
"Padura's powerful writing creates an atmospheric picture of a turbulent city, illuminated by Conde's sardonic commentary." Sunday Telegraph Conde is thrown into the thick of a tangled web of mysticism, politics and subversive activity. The subterfuges adopted by people in everyday life, particularly in a climate of repression, are captured perfectly in Padura's seamy, heat-soaked pages and Conde's mask of "fears, wariness and lies" lends him mystique". Guardian "A scorching novel from a star of Cuban fiction. Conde's quest follows the basic rhythm of the whodunit, but Padura syncopates it with brilliant literary riffs on Cuban sex, society, religion, even food" Independent "Nothing is what it seems in this case, which has less to do with crime than with the struggle for identity in a corrupt society where outsiders are exiled in their own country. This prize-winning crime noir is the first of a quartet by Cuba's celebrated writer to be translated into English." Daily Mail
Leonardo Padura was born in 1955 in Havana and lives in Cuba. He is a novelist, essayist, journalist and scriptwriter. Havana Red has been published in Cuba, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Germany and France. It is the first of the Havana Quartet of Lieutenant Mario Conde novels to be published in English.