Michael Eaude

Havana Confidential

Grab a Snake by the Tail

By

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The Cuban Leonardo Padura (born in 1955) is a most original crime novelist. That said, his books share many features with those of other famous practitioners of the genre. His detective, Mario Conde, drinks too much. He is lonely. He meets attractive women and even has sex with them, but for some reason they always leave him. Conde is a policeman but has no interest in promotion, paperwork or approval. He is driven to solve murders but works in his own way. He abhors the use of violence: his weapon is his brain. Ian Rankin, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Andrea Camilleri, Jo Nesbo… a long line of crime novelists have similarly outsiderish protagonists.

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