Set between Cubas 20 years apart, Havana native Teresa Dovalpage's new mystery features an unusual detective--an ex-cop turned Santer'a priest and a familiar face from her acclaimed crime fiction debut, Death Comes in through the Kitchen.
... a truly atmospheric mystery that delves deep into the theme of homecoming and all the secrets we think we leave behind. The novel’s greatest strength lies in Dovalpage’s excellent portrayal of an island nation that has retained its unique cultural identity even as it adapts to the times, and its parallel to protagonist Juan Chiong’s own personal development ... The Cuba depicted in these pages is a riotous blend of old and new, leaping off the pages as Juan compares his previous experiences with the Cuba he’s experiencing today. It is eye-opening to read how multi-faceted everyday life in Havana can be ... a rich exploration of Cuban life through the lens of a murder mystery involving a native son who’s come home to finally sort out the mysteries of his past. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about everyday life in Havana without the cost of a ticket there.
One aspect of Cuban culture depicted regularly and enthusiastically is the food. This will surely please readers of Dovalpage’s first Havana mystery, in which a key character is a food blogger. From malanga fritters to guava pastries, black beans and rice to fried plantains: descriptions of meals and beverages further immerse readers in daily life in Havana ... Introducing a variety of characters complicates the plot, which is slow-moving. Readers’ satisfaction depends on their investment in the happiness of the key characters: without an emotional investment, the subplots and broadening cast will burden the reading experience ... it’s clear that Teresa Dovalpage’s setting will attract genre devotees ... If you’re keen to explore Havana, heap a spoonful of Teresa Dovalpage’s storytelling onto your plate, and dig in!
Dovalpage adeptly draws on her heritage, intertwining her native country's tumultuous history with the contemporary experiences of the Cuban diaspora. While the collision of past and present produces fatal results, the ensuing labyrinthine journey provides readers with plenty of compelling diversions along the way.