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Havana Red (Mario Conde #3)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  300 ratings  ·  44 reviews
This is the first of the Havana quartet featuring Lieutenant Mario Conde, a tropical Marlowe. A body is found in a Havana park. A young transvestite dressed in a beautiful red evening dress, strangled. The victim had fled his family, finding refuge with Marques, an author living alone surrounded only by books, his house in ruins. In the baking heat of the Havana summer Con ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by Bitter Lemon Press (first published 1997)
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From BBC Radio 4 - Saturday Drama:
Lieutenant Mario Conde's fondly held prejudices are tested by this case involving a man found strangled in Havana Woods wearing a beautiful red dress. A dramatisation of the third story in the Havana Quartet.

directed by Mary Peate

Leonardo Padura is a novelist and journalist who was born in 1955 in Havana where he still lives. He has published a number of short-story collections and literary essays but he is best known internationally for the Havana Quartet serie
Dave Riley
Unfortunately I'm still missing one volume in Padura's Havanna Quartet so I cannot make a ruling on the 'set' overall. However, Havana Red -- the first in the series -- is the most thoughtful.Leonardo Padura is a remarkable novelist not only in the way he engages his themes but also in the way he constructs his stories.

Superficially, the Havana Quartet is made up of 4 stories about the Havana police inspector, Mario Conde, who is depicted as a contemporary hard boiled investigator, a la Philip M
Rowland Bismark
Havana Red is the summer-episode of Padura's four-season 'Havana quartet' introducing Detective Lieutenant Mario Conde. Oddly, it is the first volume in the quartet available in English translation, but appears to be the third in the series. As the book begins with Conde relegated to desk duty after "his public punch-up with Lieutenant Fabricio" three months earlier (presumably in the 'spring' volume (Vientos de cuaresma)) it's clear that English-speaking readers are missing quite a bit of the c ...more
James Klagge
Started this on the plane to California, finished it on the flight home. I picked it up b/c of an article about Padura in the New Yorker--a Cuban writer who managed to avoid censorship by the Castro regime by writing detective novels. I'm not sure what to think about this b/c the book in fact contained considerable criticism of past (if not present) Cuban policies and behavior toward artists. It certainly does not seem discreet. The writer is engaging and philosophically reflective. I'm not real ...more
Dennis Fischman
I wish my Spanish were good enough to read this in the original. I may try some day. Then again, I didn't like the main character, Mario Conde, so well that I'm sure I want to spend a lot more time with him. He strikes me as a poor man's Inspector Brunetti, transplanted from Venice to Havana, losing subtlety from his relationships and vegetables from his diet along the way. El Conde also reminds me bit of Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen, another aspiring writer turned cop in a nominally Communist ...more
Un gran escritor. Un crimen-metáfora de una triste realidad a varios niveles frente a fuertes lazos de solidaridad en otros. Padura denuncia a través de la novela detectivesca -parte de una tetralogia- la terrible homofobia, la reducida gama de actividad en una sociedad totalitaria,los privilegios a unos pocos frente a las pocas oportunidades y satisfactores en su pais. Las autoridades cubanas, impositivas y arbitrarias, dan una sensación de letargo para la impredictibilidad del dia siguiente. ,
I wanted to like this book, so much. I took it with me when I went to Havana but after reading the first few pages, I went back to my other book. Too much work for a vacation read. I picked it back up after the trip and it took me a while to finish. This book was hard to read, I think because the translator did not have the confidence to interpret Padura's words. The word choices and sentence structure probably works so much better in Cuban Spanish. This is the first book available in English bu ...more
Κατερίνα Μαλακατέ

Σπανίως με ενθουσιάζουν αστυνομικά μυθιστορήματα που αφήνουν λίγα στη φαντασία, σε τούτο δω πάντως, παρ’ όλο που ήξερα με βεβαιότητα σχεδόν από την αρχή τον δολοφόνο, με κράτησε η γραφή, το θέμα και ο εξαιρετικός κεντρικός χαρακτήρας.

Στην Αβάνα ο αστυνόμος Μάριο Κόντε αναλαμβάνει να εξιχνιάσει ένα περίεργο έγκλημα με θύμα μια τραβεστί ντυμένη με ένα κατακόκκινο φόρεμα που βρίσκεται στραγγαλισμένη στο κεντρικό Πάρκο. Στην πορεία της έρευνας ο Κόντε γνωρί
The exiled son of a patrician Cuban family is found dead – dressed as a woman. Initial suspicions are directed amongst Havana’s queer community. However, as Lieutenant Mario Conde develops a friendship with distinguished queer playwright Alberto Marqués – a martyr to censorship – Conde’s prejudices are eroded and the field of suspicion widens. Havana’s transvestites, Conde discovers, aren’t the only ones in disguise.

Havana Red is a well-written but not outstanding murder mystery. The evidence wh
Barbara Greene
Enjoyed this book about crime in Havana and the detective Conde character. In this one he us fascinated and challenged by the gay culture in Havana. This book had at least three stories going on, including the murder of man dressed as a transvestite.
This is one of the “Havana Quartet”. I am the kind of person that usually insists on reading a series in order, but I knew this was not the first book in the series. Instead, its the first book that was translated in to English. Since this was the one available at my library, I went with it thinking that it must be able to stand alone or they wouldn’t have published the translation out of order. I had no trouble following the plot, however there was quite a bit of backstory missing that I think ...more
Mario Conde, otherwise known as the Count, is a detective in the Havana police department. Currently he's been suspended from detective duties and is passing the time in a depressing and futile desk job. He wanted to be a writer but that hasn't happened. His life is going nowhere. Abruptly, his boss puts him back on active duty to investigate the death of a transvestite in a red satin dress who was murdered in the Havana Woods. Leonardo Padura, the author of this series of detective novels, is a ...more
Padura's writing styling is almost stream of thought, passionate thought, which takes some getting used to at first but is absolutely seductive. His characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, and he reaches deep into commentary on Cuban economic and political realities... all while telling an excellent crime story.
If you have coveted that library shelf of Graham Greene and Georges Simenon, you are going to love this book. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and more! Havana Red is the first of a quartet of crime noir series by Leonardo Padura. In my opinion it defies classification as it has a certain cultural and historical quality and a profoundness of thought not ordinarily associated with crime fiction. Although a bit heavy at times on the flamboyant and the rhetoric, it does not annoy - every page remains a ...more
I've lost interest - though this is, I think, a little better than Havana Blue, Padura's characters are finally somewhat artificial and stilted. And plot is not usually enough to carry a book all by itself. The prose can be good, but it is not overwhelming. And so it's simply not worth the effort. Maybe if I had slept better last night, I'd have more patience this morning. But I did not and do not.

Other, less indolent readers, should not be deterred, however... It's me, not him.
Gina Rheault
DNF. Did not finish.

When I read a book the music of the language is as important to me as the words themselves (sort of like me. In this book and in Hanvana Black, I found the translation painful thus never got to the story. I felt like I was deciphering every sentence to figure out its meaning, and it seemed to me very rocky, awkward and difficult to follow, so I gave up. It hurt to read.

Sorry, Leonardo Padura, I suspect the original is pretty darn good.
Fabio Tassi
La terza delle stagioni di Mario Conde: una torrida estate cubana.
Entusiasmante lettura: una discesa all'interno dell'universo del tenente Mario Conde, collocata durante l'abbacinante estate cubana del 1989. Una delle migliori descrizioni del clima habanero a ridosso del 'periodo especial' affatto propagandistica o grottesca. Slanci di elevato stile letterario mainstream che non appesantiscono un mirabile equilibrio all'interno della trama di genere.

Hot weather, cross dressers, transgenders, snobbish artists... and a crime! Perception of a man, what he sees[visually] and his need for constant audience!
Now we're talking. Padura's prose gets ratcheted up four notches from H. Blue--there were many exquisite lines and perfectly poignant scenes. Conde's prejudice against gays is flimsy, but the history of Cuban persecution, then attempted reparation, is clearly wrought through emotional scenes with the fictional playwright Alberto Macaques. The organization is cinematic. I already wanted to go to Cuba. Now I must.
Dan Freeman

Can be quite difficult to read due to the translation but a good insight into the corrupt political and cultural climate in Cuba. Tangents galore, but that just makes it interesting. The two other books in the trilogy (Havana Black and Havana Blue) have only recently been translated into English, so will be interested to see if the level is maintained.
This is the first book we've read for my Pulp Caribbean class that I thought presented a compelling look at the lives of real people in the Caribbean. It also confronted prejudice regarding homosexuality, which was interesting. I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading the others in this series.
I can but hope it lost a lot in translation. As a crime novel it's dull, unremarkable and formulaic. It does offer, at times, interesting insights into the Cuban society and, beyond the murder mystery itself, it's clearly an attempt at social criticism. I just don't feel it succeeded at that level.
A sexy, steamy look at the lives of criminals and detectives in Havana ... people you don't necessarily meet as a tourist in the city. It's a straight-ahead murder plot, complicated by the restrictions and difficulties (and joys!) of living in modern-day Cuba.
Buenísimo. Mi favorito, el personaje del Marquez. Pues no veo yo al Conde como el gran policía que pintan. Aunque su cuento es increíble. Está bien pensar que como poli falla, pero como escritor es un cabronazo. Me encantó.
Not an easy read but quite an interesting style. maybe the translation is not quite as good as it could have been.
Mark Mosrie
I had hoped for more from this mystery set in the neighborhoods of Havana, Cuba, and I'm chalking it up to a bad translation from Spanish to English. I'll have to read the rest of this series in Spanish.
The story is good, but maybe if i had read it in Spanish it might have been better, there were some errors in the translation. It was not really what I was expecting.
Hard-boiled, biting, noir crime novel about a failed writer turned cop, Mario Conde (aka The Count) investigating the murder of a young transvestite.
Parts were interesting and well-written, and parts were too philosophical - verging on pretentious. Not sure would read any more by him.
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Leonardo Padura Fuentes (born 1955) is a Cuban novelist and journalist. As of 2007, he is one of Cuba's best known writers internationally. In English and some other languages, he is often referred to by the shorter form of his name, Leonardo Padura. He has written movie scripts, two books of short stories and a series of detective novels translated into 10 languages. In 2012, Fuentes was awarded ...more
More about Leonardo Padura Fuentes...

Other Books in the Series

Mario Conde (8 books)
  • Havana Blue
  • Havana Gold
  • Havana Black
  • Adios Hemingway
  • Havana Fever
  • La cola de la serpiente
  • Herejes
El hombre que amaba a los perros Adios Hemingway Havana Blue Havana Black Havana Fever

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