2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, M is for Melo, Patricia Melo

This week, the Crime Fiction Alphabet stops on letter “m”. My M is for Melo, Patricia Melo. She is a popular Brazilian writer who ‘uses crime as a pretext to understand the squalidness of the human soul’. (G. J. Demko’s Landscape of Crime). In 1999, Time magazine included her among the fifty ‘Latin American Leaders for the New Millennium’. Her following books are available in English:

O Matador, 1995 (English title The Killer, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1998). Summary:  Maiquel is basically a decent person but has a short fuse. In one mad moment he loses his temper and kills someone – and gets away with it. Then unusual circumstances lead to another murder, this time for profit. This is the story of Maiquel’s rise in social esteem, but fall into moral depravity. See a review at Publishers Weekly.

Elogio da Mentira, 1998 (English title In Praise of Lies, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2000). Summary: Jose Guber is in love with a deadly woman – Melissa, expert on poisonous snakes, which is what Jose wants to work into his latest crime novel. Jose unashamedly plagiarises his plots from the classics. Then Melissa makes it clear she would like to adapt one of his plots to kill her husband. See a review by Glenn at International Noir Fiction.

Valsa Negra, 2003 (English title Black Waltz, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005). Summary: A successful and renowned conductor of a major symphony orchestra in São Paulo is married to a beautiful and talented violinist, close to thirty years his junior. But his happiness is undermined by two fears: that he will never wholly share her life because, unlike her, he is not Jewish; and that she will be unfaithful to him. Jealousy – beyond the reach of reason – haunts his every moment, gnawing at his trust, his love, and ultimately his sanity. Black Waltz opens a fascinating and harrowing window into a mind bordering on paranoia and psychosis. See Amazon Customer Reviews

Inferno (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2003). Summary: For eleven-year-old Kingie, there are lessons to be learned from drug trafficking. His first job is as a lookout, working on the hillside slums of Rio de Janerio. But as he grows older he realises that in order to survive you must also keep a close watch on yourself as well. In her powerful new novel, Patrícia Melo tells of Kingie’s life of crime, of his poverty-ridden childhood, how he pursues his dreams and the way he learns to achieve leadership. In his uncertain world, chaos manifests itself as violence and deprivation, whether machine-gun fire, unwanted adolescent pregnancy, or the fraught relationships between servants and their employers. Kingie’s path intersects with a network of stories of love, family, crime and power. The plot twists through a compelling tale where rapid-fire language and a sharp sense of humour combine to make this gripping story. See Amazon Customer Reviews.

Mundo Perdido, 2006 (English title Lost World, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010). Summary:  Máiquel is an ex-contract killer who’s been a fugitive for ten years – ever since his girlfriend Erica ran off with his daughter, took up with an evangelical pastor and disappeared from his life. When his aunt dies, leaving him a house and a savings account, Máiquel has a fresh chance to find the lost world of his onetime family. Breaking all the rules in the book, including his own, he sets out on a relentless journey to seek revenge. See review by Keishon at Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog.

Besides she has written as well: Acqua Toffana, 1994; Jonas, o Copromanta, 2008; Aranha Dailili, 2009; A Viagem de Filomena, 2009; Ladrão de Cadáveres, 2010; and Escrevendo no escuro, 2011. (Wikipedia).

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 fellow bloggers.

Reseña: La edad de la duda (English title: The Age of Doubt) de Andrea Camilleri

This post is bilingual, scroll down to find the English language version

Traducción de Teresa Clavel Lledó. Título original: L’età del dubbio, 2008. Ediciones Salamandra, 2012. Versión Kindle. 339 KB. ASIN: B008MUMFPS.

Una mañana, Montalbano se despierta de repente. Ha tenido una pesadilla. Estaba en su propio funeral y, lo que es peor, Livia no tiene intención de asistir.

“Si hubieras vivido, yo habría intentado por todos los medios seguir contigo. (…… ) Claro que, a mi edad y después de haber perdido la vida pendiente de ti ¿qué otra cosa podría haber hecho? Pero, puesto que se me presenta inesperadamente esta oportunidad única, comprenderás que …”

Montalbano se queda intrigado, ¿qué puede significar que Livia se enfrenta a una oportunidad única?

De camino a Vigàta Montalbano se queda atascado en un embotellamiento de tráfico. Las fuertes lluvias y el mar han inundado la carretera. Se las arregla para rescatar a una joven no muy agraciada de nombre Vanna Digiulio. Ella se dirigía al puerto para reunirse con su tía, que llegaba en una barca. La barca era, de hecho, un yate con un capitán y una tripulación de cuatro miembros. Montalbano siente lástima por ella y la lleva hasta el puerto donde se enteran de que el Vanna, que es también el nombre del yate, se ha retrasado debido a las malas condiciones meteorológicas. Montalbano ofrece la estación de policía a la joven para hacer su espera más cómoda.

El yate notifica haber rescatado un bote con un hombre muerto que estaba a la deriva en la entrada del puerto. El hombre estaba desnudo y su rostro está completamente desfigurado. Más adelante vamos a saber que fue envenenado. Curiosamente, cuando el yate llega, la joven desaparece y la propietaria del yate parece sorprendida cuando se le pregunta acerca de su sobrina. ¿Qué sobrina? responde.

Durante el curso de esta investigación Montalbano contará con la ayuda de la teniente Laura Belladonna que, fiel a su nombre, es una bellísima mujer. A pesar de su edad Montalbano se sentirá extremadamente atraído por ella. Hasta casi perder el juicio.

Es sorprendente descubrir que Andrea Camilleri todavía es capaz de entretener a sus lectores con otro libro en su serie de misterio protagonizada por el comisario Montalbano. Y no me ha decepcionado. Tenía ochenta y tres años de edad cuando el libro fue publicado, el décimo cuarto en su serie de novelas y el décimo octavo si se tienen en cuenta también todas sus colecciones de relatos. Por otra parte Montalbano, a pesar de su edad (mi edad por cierto) y la forma cómo se siente al respecto, aún se encuentra en excelente forma y es capaz de enamorarse. Como dice el propio Camilleri en el video adjunto Montalbano se encuentra ante una duda existencial para la que no encuentra respuestas. Además, el lector encontrará el material habitual en sus libros, personajes encantadores, diálogos ingeniosos y se nos hará la boca agua con las descripciones de sus comidas. Casi no puedo esperar a leer su próximo libro.

Mi calificación: 4/5

Ediciones Salamandra

In Italian

The Age of Doubt, by Andrea Camilleri

One morning, Montalbano wakes up suddenly. He has had a nightmare. He was at his own funeral and, worst of all, Livia has no intention to attend.

“Salvo. listen If you had lived, I would have done everything in my power to stay with you. I might even have married you. After wasting my time chasing after you, what else could I do? But now I’m suddenly faced with this unique opportunity, you must understand_.”

Montalbano is left intrigued, What can it mean that Livia is facing a unique opportunity?

On his way to Vigàta Montalbano gets stuck in a traffic jam. The heavy rains and the sea have flooded the road. He manages to rescue a not very graceful young lady by the name of Vanna Digiulio. She was heading to the port to meet her aunt who was arriving in a boat. The boat was in fact a yacht with a captain and a crew of four members. Montalbano feels sorry for her and takes her to the port where she finds out that the Vanna, which is also the yacht’s name, has been delayed due to bad weather conditions. Montalbano offers the police station to the young lady to make her waiting more comfortable.

The yacht notifies to have rescued a dinghy with a dead man that was adrift at the harbour’s entrance. The man was naked and his face is completely disfigured. Later on we’ll find out that he was poisoned. Strangely enough, when the yacht arrives, the young lady disappears and the yacht’s owner seems surprised when she is asked about her niece. What niece? she replies.

During the course of this investigation Montalbano will be assisted by Lt. Laura Belladonna that, true to her name, is a gorgeous woman. Despite his age Montalbano will feel himself extremely attracted to her. Until nearly lost his wits.

It’s amazing to find out that Andrea Camilleri is still able to entertain his readers with another book in his mystery series featuring Inspector Montalbano. And I was not disappointed. He was eighty-three years of age when the book was published, the fourteenth in his series of novels and the eighteenth when taking into account as well his collections of short-stories. Moreover Montalbano, despite his age (my age by the way) and the way he feels about it, is in excellent shape and is still able to fall in love. As Camilleri himself says in the video attached Montalbano faces an existential doubt for which he finds no answers. In addition, the reader will find the usual stuff in his books, charming characters, witty dialogues and the meal descriptions will make our mouth water. I can hardly wait to read his next book.

My rating: 4/5.

The Age of Doubt has been reviewed by NacyO at the crime segments, and by Jim Napier at Reviewing the evidence, among others.

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