Havana Fever


Havana Fever
Leonardo Padura, translated by Peter Bush
2009, Bitter Lemon Press
286 pages

HAVANA has changed in the latest addition to Leonardo Padura’s growing series of detective novels about the Cuban capital featuring the enigmatic (and by now former) police inspector Mario Conde. The city is now awash with dollars, dealers and degenerates which the author skilfully uses to paint a picture of a society that has undergone a subtle and not entirely welcome transformation. The contemplative cop sets out to investigate the disappearance of a beautiful singer of the 1950s, allowing Havana Fever to evoke the Cuba of the former dictator Batista with all its moral flaws. Padura cut his teeth as a journalist and Havana Fever builds on the gritty and very real world featuring Conde carefully constructed in past novels such as Havana Gold. For sheer atmosphere, and his ability to introduce the reader to the Cuba of ordinary people, past and present, Padura is unequalled. – EC