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.
12 thoughts on “2012 Crime Fiction Alphabet, M is for Melo, Patricia Melo”
José Ignacio – A compelling choice for M! Melo does a very solid job I think with psychological themes.
A Brazilian author I have never heard of. 🙂
One of the goals of this meme, I suppose, Scott. Thanks. 🙂
All of those books sound very interesting. O Matador in particular reminds me of a counter point to Crime and Punishment. I do like that the books aren’t just sequels and explore such different stories.
I presume that’s what we like about international crime fiction, to explore different stories. Thanks for visiting
I never heard of Melo! Will check her out!
Here is my CFA: M post
This author definitely sounds worth a try. Good to have so many available translated in English.
Thanks José Ignacio, really enjoyed the post and the guide to the books but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the decription of Melo as an author who, ‘uses crime as a pretext to understand the squalidness of the human soul’ is probably something that just might keep me at a distance …