IN BEAUTIFUL, CRUMBLING OLD Havana, detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water, much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the couple for a few pesos on the world famous Malecón.
For Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, head of the Havana Major Crimes Unit, arresting Ellis isn’t the problem—the law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. And Ramirez has his own troubles. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of his unsolved cases. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step. . . .
First in a new series featuring Inspector Ramirez, The Beggar’s Opera exposes the bureaucracy, corruption, and beauty of Hemingway’s Havana.
Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. A recognized expert in Aboriginal law, she worked as both a criminal defence lawyer and Crown prosecutor. Her critically acclaimed mystery The Beggar’s Opera, won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Readers' Choice award and was selected as one of Amazon's best books in 2012. She lives in Ottawa.
“[An] impressive debut novel ... [the] book itself unfolds with an artless ease: the investigation and its developments are both compelling and convincing, a genuinely mysterious mystery that manages to both surprise and maintain its internal integrity...The Beggar’s Opera is a well-crafted, genuinely satisfying mystery.”
–The National Post
“Gripping…Passion, corruption, danger: it’s a Cuba-set mystery that satisfyingly delivers all the compelling characteristics of its setting.”
-Andrew Pyper, NTY bestselling author of The Guardians
“An impressive police procedural… Blair keeps the tension high, even as she paints a comprehensive, sensitively detailed picture…”
-Sarah Weinman, in the Quill and Quire
“An impressive debut…compelling and convincing… The Beggar’s Opera is a well-crafted, genuinely satisfying mystery that bodes well for future novels featuring Ricardo Ramirez.”
-The National Post
“A fast-paced, well-plotted mystery.”
“Blair’s Havana is a steamy, twisted locale and her Inspector Ramirez is just the kind of dogged detective you want to root for.”
-Robert Rotenburg, author of Old City Hall and The Guilty Plea
“A riveting story that kept me reading late into the night. Peggy Blair combines masterful writing with a clever plot and an unforgettable journey into the dark heart of Havana.”
-D.J. McIntosh, author of the bestseller The Witch of Babylon
“I have a penchant for smart, dark, literary crime fiction, and The Beggar’s Opera is all of that: an excellent book.”
-Alan Guthrie, author of Two-Way Split