The Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 is a Community Meme hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise. By Friday of each week participants try to write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Click HERE to visit the contribution of other participants.
Raúl Argemí is an Argentinean crime fiction writer, currently living in Barcelona. His work has garnered diverse awards in Spain and it has been translated into French, Italian, Dutch, and German.
Biography (information taken from Wikipedia)
Born (1946) in La Plata, capital of the Buenos Aires province, Raúl Argemí had begun working early in his life in the scenic arts as an author and theatre director. In the beginning of the 1970s he was involved in the armed struggles of Argentina, joining the ranks of ERP-22 de Agosto. He lived underground until he was arrested in 1974. He spent the entire Argentinian military dictatorship rule incarcerated, and after the end of military rule and the return of democratic government, he was freed in 1984. At this time he started to work as a journalist. In Buenos Aires he held the position of Chief of Culture, and Director of Claves magazine, and he also collaborated in the Southern Cone edition of Le monde diplomatique. In 1986 he moved to the Patagonia region of Argentina, where he worked in the regional press. In 2000 he moved to Spain, country in which his career as a writer made a significant jump, and his novels started to be published frequently, many of which had been the result of long years of work during his life in Patagonia.
Bibliography (information taken from AMV Agencia Literaria)
El gordo, el francés y el ratón Pérez (The Fat, the French and Rat Pérez). Catálogos. Buenos Aires, 1996. 191 pages.
In the province of Buenos Aires, three characters meet by chance: Gordo García, a middle-class citizen who had dreamt of a better future and wound up working as a receptionist, and two other losers: “el Francés”, descendant of French Algerian immigrants to Argentina and leader of the trio; and Ratón Pérez, former boxer who lost every single tooth fighting in the ring. When they meet, they come up with the idea of kidnapping someone to obtain money and take revenge from the true and imaginary humiliations they have suffered in their lives. But, due to the tense relationship they have, the kidnapping of a wealthy woman ends up in a hired murder and leads them to their own destruction.
Los muertos siempre pierden los zapatos (The Dead Always Lose Their Shoes). Algaida. Sevilla, 2002. 336 pages. XXI Premio de Novela Felipe Trigo, 2002.
A police pursuit in Argentina’s Patagonia ends up in a “settling of scores” where nobody is supposed to be left alive. But, despite the efforts to erase every possible trace, there is one survivor: a criminal who knows too much about the ties the political power has with the organised crime. A young regional journalist, sure that he is on the right track to uncover the gang’s plot, starts on a journey on his own, has an accident and falls over a cliff and dies in the desert. His death, considered to be a murder, triggers an investigation that will involve Alejandro, friend of the dead man, and Juan Bermúdez, a veteran of the guerrilla war in Argentina.
Negra y criminal (Black and Criminal). A 24 authors novel. Zoela Colección Negrura, Barcelona, 2003.
The main character is a black woman, author (murderer or avenger) of a series of murders in the worlds and underworlds of present-day Barcelona. The story starts when the protagonist, still a teenager, commits her first crime, the murder of the person that sexually abuses her mother, absolutely eaten up by the poor and depressed neighbourhood. From that moment on, she decides to take the law into her own hands and she administers it to corrupt judges, rapists, procurers, and torturing policemen. Crime after crime, two police officers follow the trail of the murderer and put the pieces together, all the way to the end.
Penúltimo nombre de guerra. (The Penultimate Nom de Guerre). Algaida. Sevilla, 2004. 190 pages. XIII Luis Berenguer Award, 2005. Dashiell Hammett Award, Gijón, 2005. Brigada 21 Award.
The novel takes place in Argentina’s Patagonia and certain areas of the Andes. The main characters are a city alienated journalist, who is a mythomaniac and a con man, a policeman, and a head of a family of the Mapuche ethnic group who has been evangelised by a false Protestant minister and who commits crimes through exorcism. He comes across the other characters, and all share the past experience of having lived together in clandestine concentration camps in Argentina, the tortures, and the irregular flights to throw prisoners into the sea.
Patagonia Chu Chu. (Patagonia Chu Chu). Algaida. Sevilla, 2005. 222 pages. Francisco García Pavón Narrative Award 2004.
Buth Cassidy and Bairoletto are planning on attacking the narrow-gauge train that runs through the most abandoned snowy landscapes of the Argentinian Patagonia. The aim is to rescue Cassidy’s brother who is being moved from the prison for the insane where he vegetates. But things will get complicated: the train carries money in the luggage van and also European tourists. The idea of having that money so near makes these unimportant and petty robbers dream of becoming rich at the same time they save Cassidy’s brother. As for the tourists, they will turn into a constant source of problems.
Siempre la misma música (Always the Same Music). Algaida. Sevilla, 2006. 213 pages. Tigre Juan Award, 2005.
Always the Same Music is a passionate story between two poor characters living on the margins of society in Argentina. The background of the novel is a special event, the 1978 World Cup. The end to the story will take place eight years later, but the origin of the tragedy can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century: the arrival of immigrants to Buenos Aires. The main characters are criminals who try to lead a normal life in a country under a bloody and corrupt dictatorship. The regime pursues and hunts its political enemies, and takes over the territory of the outlaws: theft, stolen car selling, drug dealing. And this changes the rules of the game.
Retrato de familia con muerta (Family Portrait with Dead Woman). Roca. Barcelona, 2008. 203 pages. L’H Confidencial Award, 2008.
Juan Manuel Galván, a judge on active service, is fascinated with the murder of a middle-class Argentinian woman. The violence with which she is murdered, the difficulties in finding a clear motive absorb him. He is so engrossed in the crime, trying to do his job as best as he can, trying to find and punish the criminals, that he becomes obsessed with the case. Little by little, a complex web of intrigue is woven around the victim and her murder; the case gets more and more entangled, more and more complicated. Her family, her friends, everything in her life, everything becomes a huge trap, resulting in her unworthy and pathetic death.
La última caravana (The Last Caravan). Edebé. Barcelona, 2008. 304 pages.
Laura goes to a residential home for the elderly, built on the banks of a Patagonian lake, looking for a man named Roque Pérez who, apparently, worked with her father many years ago. Laura has not seen her father since she was a child and she thinks that perhaps this man knows something about him and can help her. And so they meet. Roque tells Laura of the establishment of a rather peculiar political party in the midst of the worst economic crisis in Argentina; he also tells her of a bank robbery, carried out by a rather eclectic group of former political prisoners, prostitutes, choir singers and retired elderly people. Then he tells her of the desperation, the failure, the collapse of everything, the parting, the disappearance of all the members of the group after the robbery: the last caravan.
El ángel de Ringo Bonavena (Ringo Bonavena’s Angel). Edebé. Barcelona, 2012. 284 pages.
‘Ringo’ is the nickname of an Argentinean boxer, Oscar Bonavena, and this is his story. We learn of his birth and his childhood, of his family and his beginnings as a heavyweight professional boxer, the highlights of his career. When Oscar is born, God sends him an angel to help him and protect him in his eagerness to become a world-famous boxer. And so Angel, for that is the angel’s name – who, incidentally, was more of a troublemaker in Heaven, so God decides to get rid of him – meets Bonavena’s family and becomes one of them. His aim: to take Ringo to the heights of boxing, all the way up until he fights Cassius Clay and is defeated. Bonavena’s loss to Clay is the beginning of the end of his career as a contender. He is then hired by the owner of the Mustang Ranch brothel in Las Vegas to put up fight shows and entertain clients, but he refuses to get paid to lose fights to his opponents. Finally, a thud shoots him dead. At that exact moment, Angel had forgotten the mission God entrusted him with, he forgot to look after Ringo and was thoroughly enjoying earthly pleasures.
My previous posts about Raúl Argemí are HERE. Unfortunately none of his novels have been translated into English. He also writes YA fiction. He blogs at http://raulargemi.blogspot.com.es/