Review: The Silence of the Rain by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Henry Holt and Co., 2013. Kindle edition (1162 KB). First published in Brazil under the title O silêncio da chuva, 1996. Translated by Benjamin Moser, 2002. ASIN: B00DK43OWE. ISBN: 9781466850309. 272 pages.

https://i1.wp.com/jacketupload.macmillanusa.com/jackets/high_res/jpgs/9781466850309.jpgThe Silence of the Rain is the first instalment in a series featuring Inspector Espinosa from the First Precinct in Rio de Janeiro. When we first find him, Espinosa is heading towards the Praça Mauá, a good place to sit and think.

‘The square was small and located in one of the busiest parts of Rio, but it allowed him to escape the claustrophobia of the station house. Tuesday wasn’t such a bad day, especially compared to weekends when the station was packed full of hookers and pickpockets from the post. That was his clientele: hookers, pickpockets, drunks and junkies, the small fry of the port’s underworld. The real crimes, committed in the offices downtown, never reached the First Precinct―even the high-class prostitution in the buildings right next to the station were safe from police action. And murders were rare downtown.’ 

Soon the news arrives to the police station in Praça Mauá that a body has been found inside a car that was parked in a garage located downtown. The victim, an important executive in a large company, is identified as Ricardo Fonseca de Carvalho, forty-two, executive director of Planalto Minerações. Ricardo was shot inside his car. It’s worth noting here that the reader knows, from the first pages, what really happened in the car. In any case, Inspector Espinosa is called to investigate. Espinosa considers a number of possible scenarios but it doesn’t occur to him the hypothesis of a suicide. There was no gun in the car.

Espinosa discovers that Carvalho had recently signed a life insurance for a million dollars and the case is further complicated by the mysterious disappearance of Rose, Ricado Carvalho’s secretary. His widow, Bia Vasconcelos, an internationally renowned designer, becomes the prime suspect, but at the moment of Ricardo’s death, Bia was with Julio Campos de Azevedo at Bar Luiz. Julio teaches at the architecture school and has a girlfriend called Alba who runs a fitness club. Inspector Espinosa soon will feel attracted by them both, Bia and Alba. The story is further complicated when two other bodies related to the case are found.

Luiz Alfredo García-Roza in an interview (see below) has said he became a novelist late in life. His first mystery novel, The Silence of the Rain, was published in 1996, when he was 60 years old. Before that, from 1972 to 1995, he had written only theoretical essays (eight altogether: in philosophy, psychology, and psychoanalysis); at that time he was a professor of psychology and philosophy at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Fortunately, The Silence of the Rain was honoured in 1997 with two great literature prizes in Brazil, which encouraged him to write a second book, Achados e perdidos, 1998 (December Heat). Since then he has published another seven books in his Inspector Espinosa Mystery series (five are available in English), Vento sudoeste, 1999 (Southwesterly Wind); Uma Janela em Copacabana, 2001 (A Window in Copacabana); Perseguido, 2003 (Pursuit); Espinosa Sem Saida, 2006 (Blackout); Na Multidão, 2007 (Alone in the Crowd); Céu de origamis, 2009; and Fantasma, 2012. He has also published a standalone novel in 2005, Berenice procura. 

For quite some time now, I was interested in reading Garcia-Roza’s novels. Unfortunately I have not been able to find his books in its original language at a reasonable price. Finally I have had to be content myself with an English translation since the Spanish version is out of print. I particularly liked the figure of Inspector Espinosa, he is quite an endearing character for his humanity. Besides, the story has a strong sense of place, something I appreciate very much in my readings. I found particularly interesting the way the author is able to keep the reader’s attention despite all we know from the very first pages. I must admit that the resolution of the case is perhaps its weakest point but, all in all, I enjoyed reading this book and I have the intention to continue with the next one in the series.

My rating: A (I loved it)

The Silence of the Rain has been reviewed at Mysteries in Paradise (Kerrie), Petrona (Maxine), Ms Wordopolis Read (Rebecca), Findingtimetowrite (Marina Sofia), and at The View from the Blue House (Rob). 

Macmillan Publishers 

Interview with Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

See also my previous post Luiz Alfredo García-Roza

El silencio de la lluvia de Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

https://i0.wp.com/i.imgur.com/P6liD5y.jpg

El silencio de la lluvia es la primera entrega de una serie protagonizada por el inspector Espinosa de la Primera Comisaría de Río de Janeiro. La primera vez que lo encontramos, Espinosa se dirige hacia la Praça Mauá, un buen lugar para sentarse a pensar.

‘La plaza era pequeña y se encontraba en uno de los barrios más concurridos de Río, pero le permitía escapar de la claustrofobia de la comisaría. El martes no era un día tan malo, sobre todo en comparación con los fines de semana cuando las dependencias de la comisaria se llenaban de prostitutas y carteristas. Esa era su clientela: putas, rateros, borrachos y drogadictos, los peces chicos de los bajos fondos del puerto. Los verdaderos crímenes, cometidos en las oficinas del centro, nunca llegaban a la Primera Comisaría, incluso la prostitución de alto standing en los edificios justo al lado de la comisaría estaban a salvo de la acción policíal. Y los asesinatos en el centro eran poco frecuentes.’

Pronto llega a la comisaría de la Praça Mauá la noticia de que un cuerpo ha aparecido dentro de un coche que estaba aparcado en un garaje del centro. La víctima, un importante ejecutivo de una gran empresa, es identificado como Ricardo Fonseca de Carvalho, cuarenta y dos años, director ejecutivo de Planalto Minerações. Ricardo recibió un disparo en el interior de su coche. Vale la pena señalar aquí que el lector sabe, desde las primeras páginas, lo que realmente ocurrió en el coche. En cualquier caso, el inspector Espinosa acude a investigar. Espinosa se plantea una serie de escenarios posibles, pero no se le ocurre la hipótesis de un suicidio. No había ningún arma en el coche.

Espinosa descubre que Carvalho había firmado recientemente un seguro de vida por un millón de dólares y el caso se complica aún más por la misteriosa desaparición de Rose, la secretaria de Ricado Carvalho. Su viuda, Bia Vasconcelos, una diseñadora de renombre internacional, se convierte en la principal sospechosa, pero en el momento de la muerte de Ricardo, Bia estaba con Julio Campos de Azevedo en el Bar Luiz. Julio enseña en la escuela de arquitectura y tiene una novia llamada Alba que dirige un club de fitness. El inspector Espinosa pronto se sentirá atraído por las dos, Bia y Alba. La historia se complica aún más cuando se encuentran otros dos cuerpos relacionados con el caso.

Luiz Alfredo García-Roza en una entrevista ha dicho que se convirtió en un novelista tardío. Su primera novela de misterio, El silencio de la lluvia, se publicó en 1996, cuando  tenía 60 años. Antes de eso, desde 1972 hasta 1995, había escrito sólo ensayos teóricos (ocho en total: sobre filosofía, psicología y psicoanálisis); en ese momento era profesor de psicología y filosofía en la Universidad Federal de Río de Janeiro. Afortunadamente, El silencio de la lluvia fue galardonada en 1997 con dos grandes premios de literatura brasileña, que lo animaron a escribir un segundo libro, Achados e perdidos, 1998. A partir de entonces ha publicado otros siete libros en la serie de misterio protagonizada por el inspector Espinosa Vento sudoeste, 1999; Uma Janela em Copacabana, 2001; Perseguido, 2003; Espinosa Sem Saida, 2006; Na Multidão, 2007; Céu de origamis, 2009; y Fantasma, 2012. También ha publicado una novela independiente en el 2005, Berenice procura. 

Desde hace algún tiempo, estaba interesado en leer las novelas de García-Roza. Lamentablemente no he sido capaz de encontrar sus libros en su idioma original, a un precio razonable. Finalmente he tenido que conformarme con una traducción inglésa ya que la versión española está agotada. Me ha gustado especialmente la figura del inspector Espinosa, es un personaje muy entrañable por su humanidad. Además, la historia tiene un fuerte “sentido de lugar”, algo que aprecio mucho en mis lecturas. Me pareció particularmente interesante la forma en que el autor es capaz de mantener la atención del lector a pesar de todo lo que sabemos desde las primeras páginas. Debo admitir que la resolución del caso es tal vez su punto más débil, pero que, en general, me gustó mucho la lectura de este libro y tengo la intención de continuar con el siguiente de la serie.

Mi valoración: A (me encantó)

Entrevista con Luiz Alfredo García-Roza

14 thoughts on “Review: The Silence of the Rain by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza

  1. I read this (in the English translation) just a few days ago, and found a lot to like — more or less the same things that you mention, in fact, plus the sense that Espinosa and his sidekick must somehow deal with the situation that many of their cop colleagues are entirely corrupt. It didn’t bother me that I spotted the baddie pretty early on (despite a neat piece of misdirection Garcia-Roza pulled late in the book to try to cast doubt on this deduction), but I did find the resolution hopelessly contrived — so much so, in fact, that it seemed to me to erode the integrity of all the rest. I’ll almost certainly pick up more of Garcia-Roza’s novels, if I come across them, in the hope that they won’t be similarly undermined; but this one I’d regard as more a B- than an A.

    Is my two cents.

    1. Thanks for your comment. You are right, I forgot to mention that the corruption in the police station plays an important role in the story. I must say I hesitated between an A and a B, but finally I decided that, despite some flaws it was a very pleasant read in my view.

      1. it was a very pleasant read in my view
        I certainly agree with you in that, despite the occasional trivial oddity in the translation.

  2. José Ignacio- I like this series very much, and in my opinion, it gets better as the series goes on. One thing I like about the novels is Espinosa’s character. I also like real look at life in Rio de Janeiro, which becomes increasingly clear as the series goes on. I hope you will enjoy the rest of the novels.

    1. Thank you Margot. I know how much you like this series and I’m glad to hear that it get better as it goes on. Nice chap this Espinosa, and a great setting too.

  3. I loved this book, also. I have bought several more in the series, but have not read the 2nd one yet. I am hoping I like that one as well.

    I do agree that the ending was a let-down but I was so happy with all the elements in the book that I still loved it.

  4. kathy d.

    I’ve read a few books in the series, including this one. I like them much, especially Espinosa’s character — and that he likes books. Also, he’s a thinker. The books aren’t all shoot-em-up action thrillers. They involve contemplation and investigating.
    I appreciate the author’s observations about life in Rio de Janeiro, and that in his
    own way, he brings up social issues.
    I must find more of these books.

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