When Cuban Inspector Ricardo Ramirez is dispatched to Canada and told to bring home a priest found in possession of child pornography depicting Cuban children, he knows his job will be hard enough. But it gets worse once he’s in Ottawa, and women in Havana start dropping dead from a mysterious toxin. Worried about his family, powerless to help pathologist Hector Apiro, and faced with the threat of a Canadian travel advisory that could shut down Cuban tourism, Ramirez tries to focus on his mission. As he does, he untangles a web of deceit and depravity that extends all the way from the corridors of power in Ottawa to those of the Vatican, and uncovers a cold-blooded killer.
The Poisoned Pawn is the gripping, fast-paced sequel to the award-winning, critically acclaimed mystery The Beggar’s Opera. Evoking the crumbling beauty of Old Havana and featuring Inspector Ramirez, a man haunted by the victims of his unsolved cases, The Poisoned Pawn will delight fans of Donna Leon and Martin Cruz Smith who love exotic settings and unforgettable characters.
Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. Her critically acclaimed mystery The Beggar’s Opera won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Readers’ Choice contest and was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. The Poisoned Pawn is the second in the Inspector Ramirez series. Peggy lives in Ottawa.
"Inspector Ramirez returns in The Poisoned Pawn still guided and haunted by visions of crime victims past ... the story treads dark and nasty territory, but Blair sidesteps the impulse to wallow in graphic violence by sticking to her characters' actions and motivations ... The Poisoned Pawn shows there is a way to hold onto decency and humanity in the face of the worse criminality." - National Post
"An affecting series. Even if impoverished and politically oppressed Havana presents unique burdens, Ramirez is not without a sense of humour as he goes about his clever sleuthing." - Toronto Star
"If you, like me, somehow managed to miss Peggy Blair's debut novel, The Beggar's Opera, then you should read this second book and run out to buy the first. Hopefully there's a third on the way." - The Globe and Mail
"Two crime novels. Two resounding successes. Peggy Blair proves her debut novel, The Beggar's Opera was much, much more than beginner's luck." - Vancouver Sun
"Blair shows a real flair for character. But it's the Cuban story that really makes it sing." - Ottawa Citizen