Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza


Within a few weeks Brazil will be hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Therefore, I have considered appropriate to pay attention to one of the leading Brazilian crime fiction writers, Luiz Alfredo García-Roza. Unfortunately I have not been able to buy any of his books in its original language at a decent price, but some Kindle edition of his books translated into English are now available at very attractive prices. I look forward to reading some of his books soon. Stay tuned.

From Wikipedia. Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza (born 1936 in Rio de Janeiro) is a retired Brazilian professor and current novelist. As an academic he wrote philosophy and psychology textbooks. After retiring from academia he became known as a novelist and shared the Prêmio Jabuti for Literature in 1997. He is known for his Detective fiction, in particular his Inspector Espinosa Mystery series. For additional information click here.

See also my previous post Interview with Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

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The Silence of the Rain [Picador; First Edition edition (July 1, 2003)]. Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 1). [Original: O silêncio da chuva, 1996]

In a parking garage in the center of Rio de Janeiro, corporate executive Ricardo Carvalho is found dead in his car, a bullet in his head, his wallet and briefcase missing. Inspector Espinosa is called in to investigate the apparent robbery and murder, but the world-weary Espinosa knows that things are not always as they seem. Carvalho’s recently acquired one-million-dollar life insurance policy and the subsequent disappearance of his secretary Rose complicate matters—as does Espinosa’s attraction to Carvalho’s beautiful widow, one of the suspects. And when two more people turn up dead, Espinosa must speed up his investigation before anyone else becomes a casualty.

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December Heat [Picador; First Edition edition (March 1, 2004)]. Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 2), [Original: Achados e perdidos, 1998]

A retired policeman spends a typically alcohol-filled evening with his girlfriend, a prostitute. When he wakes up the next morning, his wallet and car key are missing, his girlfriend has been murdered, and he can remember none of the events of the previous night. Inspector Espinosa, veteran detective and friend of the ex-cop, is convinced there’s more here than meets the eye, and when other bodies begin turning up, he finds himself not only racing after a killer but falling in love.

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Southwesterly Wind [Picador; First Edition edition (December 9, 2004)]. Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 4), Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 3), [Original: Vento sudoeste, 1999]

Chief of the Copacabana precinct Espinosa is more than happy to interrupt his paperwork when a terrified young man arrives at the station with a bizarre story. A psychic has predicted that he would commit a murder, it seems, and the prediction has become fact in the young man’s mind. As the weather changes and the southwesterly wind—always a sign of dramatic change—starts up, what at first seems like paranoia becomes brutal reality. Two violent murders occur, and their only link is the lonely, clever man who had sought Espinosa out a few days earlier for help.

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A Window in Copacabana [Picador; First Edition edition (January 24, 2006)]. [Original: Uma Janela em Copacabana, 2001]

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Three policemen have been killed over the course of a few days. Espinosa, chief of the 12th Precinct, doesn’t have much to go on. When the body of a woman connected to one of the dead cops is found on the sidewalk below her apartment window, things get even more complicated, as a reputed “witness”–the wife of a high-ranking government official–becomes obsessed with the case, and with Espinosa.

Nothing is quite as it first appears as Espinosa finds himself in his old haunts of Leme and Copacabana, and in the all-too-familiar terrain of corruption, greed, and fear.

Berenice procura (Companhia das Letras, 2005) Not an Inspector Espinosa mystery series.

Um menino de dois anos, filho de diplomata, brinca na praia de Copacabana sob os olhos vigilantes da babá. Ele tem uma das mãos ocupada com uma pá, que carrega com orgulho, e a outra entretida em recolher objetos do chão. Quando avista um morrote de areia, resolve pôr o utensílio de plástico em ação e começa a cavar. Até que encontra um corpo.
Esse seria mais um caso para o inspetor Espinosa – se Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza não tivesse decidido dar um descanso ao personagem de seus cinco romances anteriores. No lugar dele, o autor apresenta Berenice, uma taxista de 34 anos, também carioca, que corre todas as manhãs para agüentar o tranco de mais de dez horas diárias de trabalho. Berenice mora com a mãe e o filho; seu ex-marido, Domingos, faz visitas regulares aos três. Mais regulares do que Berenice gostaria, aliás. Domingos é jornalista free-lancer. Colabora com alguns jornais, repassando notícias que recolhe em hospitais e delegacias. Graças a essas conexões, e numa tentativa de se reaproximar da ex-mulher, vira seu informante sobre o assassinato do travesti Valéria – enterrado nas areias de Copacabana e encontrado pelo pequeno estrangeiro com sua pá.
O ponto de Berenice fica bem próximo da cena do crime, e quando ela chega para trabalhar, naquela manhã quente de segunda-feira, fica sabendo do assassinato ocorrido na noite anterior. Pouco depois, durante a primeira corrida, a conversa com o passageiro gira em torno do crime – cena que se repetirá diversas vezes no táxi de Berenice, agora muito interessada no caso. Graças às informações recolhidas por Domingos, Berenice chega a Russo, um sem-teto que estava na praia no momento do assassinato. Russo passa as noites num túnel abandonado do metrô e conhece como ninguém as galerias subterrâneas do Rio de Janeiro.
Cansada de ser apenas uma “caixa de ressonância da cidade”, um vazio onde as vozes dos passageiros ecoam, trazendo opiniões que entram e saem sem deixar nada, Berenice se envolve emocionalmente com o caso de Valéria e passa a comportar-se como detetive. E é através dela que Garcia-Roza nos apresenta um submundo inóspito da Cidade Maravilhosa, povoado por habitantes de galerias de águas pluviais e esgotos, órfãos criados por travestis, e delinqüentes que vivem de furtar turistas.

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Pursuit [Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (January 24, 2006)]. Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 5), [Original: Perseguido, 2003]

A hospital psychiatrist feels he’s being stalked by a young patient. For as long as possible, he convinces himself that the young man is harmless, but when the doctor’s daughter disappears and the patient goes missing, too, he calls on Espinosa for help. Soon after, the patient turns up dead.

With his death begins a chain of other deaths, each more mysterious than the one that preceded it, each seemingly linked to the doctor and his former patient. As Espinosa learns more about the doctor’s history, it becomes harder to discern the stalker from the stalked, reality from fantasy, and the sane from the diabolical. In this installment of the “seductive, fascinating” (The New York Times Book Review) series, the sultry maze of Rio de Janeiro’s streets conspires against Espinosa, confounding his judgment, stymieing his search, and, somewhere, concealing a murderer.

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Blackout [Picador; First Edition edition (June 23, 2009)]. Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 6), [Original: Espinosa Sem Saida, 2006]

With no witnesses and no weapon, it seems like the case of the one-legged homeless man found lying in a cul-de-sac on São João Hill, shot through the heart, will remain unsolved. But Chief Inspector Espinosa can’t shake thoughts of the hapless victim–who would target a penniless man who posed no physical threat? Focusing his incisive mind and his usual unhurried inquiry on a group of wealthy guests who dined at a nearby mansion on the rainy night of the murder, Espinosa interrogates his way into the lives of his suspects, exposing lies, cover-ups—and another murder.

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Alone in the Crowd [Picador; First Edition edition (May 25, 2010)]. Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 7), [Original: Na Multidão, 2007]

An elderly lady approaches the front desk at the Twelfth Precinct in Copacabana and demands to speak with the chief. Tired after a long day, she leaves without further explanation, promising to return. Two hours later, Doña Laureta is dead, and witnesses’ accounts vary as to whether she was pushed or fell in front of the bus that killed her on one of the busiest avenues in the city.

Veteran police chief inspector Espinosa quickly pinpoints a suspect in Hugo Breno, an unassuming bank teller whose solitary existence takes on a sinister cast as he shadows the inspector’s movements across the city. Meanwhile Espinosa discovers an unsettling connection from the past between himself and Breno and must turn his trademark psychological inquiry inward to determine how murky memories of a murder from long ago might play into Doña Laureta’s untimely passing. Chilling and ultimately heart-stopping, Alone in the Crowd presents Espinosa as we have never seen him before, the man of detached expertise and calm self-assurance entangled in a mystery where reason alone will not suffice.

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Céu de origamis (Companhia das Letras, 2009) Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 7)

Cecília é uma secretária competente. Depois que seu patrão sai do consultório dentário ela guarda todo o equipamento, desliga os aparelhos, tranca a porta e vai embora. Doutor Marcos é um homem tranquilo, e o trabalho com ele é sem sobressaltos. Hoje ele e a mulher vão jantar em casa de amigos. Fato raro, pensa a secretária. Em geral, doutor Marcos e a mulher ficam em casa. Estranho, para um casal jovem como eles…
Cecília gosta de trabalhar no consultório. Tudo é sempre tão perfeitamente previsível que Cecília jamais poderia imaginar que no dia seguinte receberia a visita da polícia em busca de informações sobre seu patrão. Na véspera, doutor Marcos desaparecera sem deixar sinal. Não havia registro de acidentes de trânsito nem de nenhum tipo de ocorrência policial. Só que ele simplesmente não chegara em casa.
E, como se não bastasse, havia um detalhe absurdo: o carro de doutor Marcos estava estacionado exatamente onde deveria estar, em sua vaga na garagem do prédio onde morava. O que teria acontecido com doutor Marcos? Sobre ele, Cecília explicaria a Espinosa: “Sempre foi atencioso e gentil, nunca alterou a voz, nunca reclamou com mau humor de alguma coisa. Ele parece irreal”.

Fantasma (Companhia das Letras, 2012) Inspector Espinosa Mysteries (Volume 8)

A mulher sentada à beira da calçada na av. Nossa Senhora de Copacabana só se sente em casa vivendo na rua: estar entre paredes a oprime, ela tem a sensação de que vai morrer sufocada. É tão fina e educada que todos a chamam de Princesa. Seu “lar” é um trecho do piso de cimento delimitado por pedaços de papelão. Muito gorda, tem dificuldade para se mover. Mesmo assim, não descuida da aparência: alisa bem o vestido sobre as pernas esticadas, penteia-se com esmero e passa batom com pelo menos frequência – sempre que recebe a visita do delegado Espinosa. E o delegado Espinosa visita Princesa várias vezes por dia. Afinal, tudo indica que ela viu quem enfiou uma faca no homem muito branco, talvez um estrangeiro, que amanheceu morto na calçada a alguns metros dela. Mas Princesa costuma sonhar, às vezes até quando está acordada… E como saber, nesta vida, o que é realidade e o que se passa no mundo dos sonhos?
Isaías é o grande amigo de Princesa. Ele sabe que a amiga viu alguma coisa que não deve ser lembrada. Acredita que precisa proteger a qualquer custo a moça dos perigos que podem surgir da noite – quando ela dorme sozinha na calçada – e do dia, quando os passantes são tantos que é difícil distinguir o inimigo que se aproxima para desferir um golpe. Como Princesa, Isaías é incapaz de lidar com o mundo complicado onde os dois vivem; como ela, é indefeso e vulnerável.

8 thoughts on “Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

  1. I read the first book, The Silence of the Rain, and liked it a lot. I will be interested to see what you think of it. I have the second book on my shelf to read, and have a couple of the later books. I hope I like them as well.

  2. Pingback: Review: The Silence of the Rain by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza | The Game's Afoot

  3. Pingback: Brazilian Crime Fiction | The Game's Afoot

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