The Beggar's Opera

The Beggar's Opera

Book - 2012
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In beautiful, crumbling Old Havana, Canadian detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will help save his troubled marriage. He doesn't yet know that it's dead in the water--much like the little Cuban boy last seen begging the Canadian couple for a few pesos on the world famous Malecon. For Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, head of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police, finding his prime suspect isn't a problem--Cuban law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. But Ramirez also has his own troubles to worry about. He's dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of unsolved murders. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step ...
Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Canada, 2012.
ISBN: 9780143179979
Branch Call Number: BLAIR
Characteristics: 346 p. ; 23 cm.


From Library Staff

MissAnnie Feb 21, 2012

The subject matter here is somewhat difficult, however the characters are fascinating and the plot unfolds in unexpected ways.

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Mar 15, 2017

An evocative description of Cuban life and an engrossing tale. I felt the pain of the detective dying of a genetic disorder that caused him to hallucinate. But I was let down by how this story line developed. Mike Ellis is a sympathetic character that I wanted to root for and he held my interest to the end. An OK read but not something I would recommend widely.

Feb 17, 2017

The Beggars Opera took me back to my trip to Cuba some years ago. The shortages, the fact that locals are restricted where they can go, the poverty and the politics. While I really enjoyed my 2 weeks in Cuba and learned a lot from the tour guide, I felt sorrow for the people and their situation. This book was well researched and captured many of those feelings.

emily8 Mar 25, 2014

A little neat on tying things together. but still an excellent debut novel. Also valuable lesson for being in the right place at the right time in meeting Ian Rankin.

Feb 26, 2014

An Ottawa author writes a police/murder drama set in Cuba featuring a Cuban detective. It makes for an interesting twist on things but without a good story line it wouldn't hold up. A young boy is raped and murdered and a visiting Ottawa policeman is accused. How his innocence is proven is a tad simplistic but the Cuban setting keeps the interest up.
I am curious to see if her next novel shows improved story telling and more complex characters.

Dec 26, 2013

This first mystery featuring Inspector Ramirez is a mixed bag: Ramirez and coroner/doctor/surgeon colleague Apiro are good characters, with real possibility to be great in future installments, but are bogged down in an-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink plot. The story, of a Canadian police officer charged with a brutal crime while on vacation in a Havana decidedly less appealing than tourist brochures would suggest, suffers from too many complications and a crime so offensive, it may turn away many readers. Blair, and future entries in this series, may be one to watch for, but this first book might be best stopped after completing chapter 60.

Nov 02, 2013

In the eagerness to criticize the Castro Government in Cuba, the writer exposes cuban and canadian cops as stupid, who doesn't know what they are doing and have no idea where they stand in the investigation. Beyond the middle of the book, plot wraps more interesting , with a few twists - surprises. The book is full of terrible descriptions of abuse of children.

Apr 01, 2013

Fantastic mystery! Well written and full of surprises.

Sep 18, 2012

One of the best books I've read this year - fantastic descriptions of Havana, and its people, laws, customs, etc. A good story too. Loved it.

SPLAG Aug 19, 2012

I read this because it was written by a classmate of mine from Mount A. While I agree that the subject matter was a bit gruesome, I couldn't put the book down. It gives great insight into Cuba. The longing look at the pencil stuck with me and was glad Peg came back to it. Looking forward to the next in the series.

Excellent, fast moving plot with unusual twists and turns.Written by a lawyer, it juxtaposes some human rights enjoyed in Canada with those of a totoletarian state[albiet dependant on tourist income]. I can't wait for the author's next novel. This is almost in the same league as Dragon Tatoo. Certainly much better than the simple plots of the Donna Leon series in Venice which have become so pedentic and predictable.

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