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Havana Red (Mario Conde #3)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  582 Ratings  ·  83 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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(showing 1-30)
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Dave Riley
Aug 14, 2009 Dave Riley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
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
This is a crime novel set in Havana, written by a Cuban writer. At the beginning of the book, a transvestite is found murdered in a park in Havana. The rest of the plot of the novel is about Inspector Mario Conde and his attempts to solve the case.

I was kind of surprised to see that a Cuban writer was able to write a book which is largely about homosexuality and has many gay characters, as most Communist countries are pretty oppressed when it come to what you can write about. And the author is
Νίκος Μ
Mar 01, 2016 Νίκος Μ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Ο Παδούρα είναι μοναδικός!Σε όσους αρέσει το καλό γράψιμο κι όχι να γράφουμε απλά για να γεμίσουμε σελίδες τότε σας τον προτείνω.Όποιο βιβλίο του και να διαλέξετε δε θα χάσετε
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
Aug 10, 2015 Tonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ένα αρκετά καλο αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα με άρτια πλοκή και δυνατούς ήρωες που θυμίζουν ήρωες τραγωδίας. Ο θάνατος ενός νεαρού ομοφυλόφιλου ξετυλίγει το κουβάρι της ιστορίας. Ο Μάριο Κοντε καλείται να λύσει την υπόθεση. Ένας αστυνομικός που εχει πάθη αλλα και ρατσιστικά συναισθήματα απέναντι στους ομοφυλοφιλους. Το θέμα της ομοφυλοφιλίας παίρνει διαστάσεις φιλοσοφικές-υπαρξιακές μεσα στο μυθιστόρημα. Η παρενδυσια δεν αναφέρεται μόνο στην κυριολεκτική της σημασία αλλα και στη μεταφορική θέλοντας να ...more
Rowland Bismark
Aug 02, 2010 Rowland Bismark rated it liked it
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
Linda Abhors the New GR Design
Será que me voy acostumbrando a lo que se llama Police procedural....las primeras dos de esta serie, las encontré un aburridas, pero como estoy acostumbrada al diálogo y a la acción de las novelas negras, digamos más lentas. Y ésta, igual. La nostalgia y la ciudad de La Habana dominan, hasta el punto de convertir La Habana en personaje, y convierten lo que sería un misterio de unas 150 páginas en novela de misterio con comentario político de 240 páginas. Sin embargo, me voy acostumbra ...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
Carlos Manzano
Es difícil alcanzar el nivel de "El hombre que amaba a los perros", una de esas novelas totales que no desfallecen en ningún momento, pero "Máscaras" se mueve con bastante dignidad dentro del género negro caribeño. El policía Mario Conde trata de desentrañar la muerte de un travesti, pero como sucede en las buenas novelas de género negro, el argumento es lo menos importante (aunque en este caso su previsibilidad lastre de alguna manera el libro). Quizá lo más destacable es la manera en que el pr ...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.
Oct 03, 2015 Bernardo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este trabajo hace más justicia a esta novela y a la tetralogía policíaca de Mario Conde
Vasilis Kalandaridis
Πυκνή γεμάτη έντονη γραφή.Παδουρα από τα παλιά.Μιλαει για το φαινόμενο της μεταμόρφωσης ή της αποκάλυψης.Αναλογα με την οπτική γωνία του καθενός.
Wayne Turmel
Apr 16, 2017 Wayne Turmel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm late posting this, but can recommend all of the Mario Conde books. They are not only pretty good procedurals, but do what i'm most looking for in a book--show me something I didn't know or didn't really think about. His insights into the daily life of working-class Cubans make up for any flaws in the translation.
Feb 25, 2009 Todd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2015 Alfredo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: negra
No deja de ser extraño tomar el libro de un autor al que te parece ubicar, un autor del que algo has leído y con el que has quedado más que satisfecho, y encontrarte con un camelo. Y te encuentras con un camelo porque, sencillamente, el autor se ha dado cuenta de que es él mismo y cree que tiene una reputación que defender. Con su permiso, procederé a explicar esta idea a partir de la última novela leída de Leonardo Padura, Máscaras, perteneciente a la serie del teniente Mario Conde.

En los dos p
Aneliya Petrunova
"Máscaras" es un libro precioso. Es el tercero de la serie de novelas policíacas de Leonardo Padura Fuentes con el mismo policía, Mario Conde. Ya había leído los dos primeros y, la verdad, no estaba muy encantada. Pero Máscaras" no es una novela policíaca en el sentido tradicional de la expresión. La historia del asesinato del travestí Alexis Arayán es sólo una excusa para contar la historia oscura de la Cuba comunista. Además, el libro es un verdadero placer de leer desde el punto de vista de e ...more
The third novel in this Havana quartet, this is the first that really blew my mind, probably because the central crime and many of the characters were part of Havana's much-suppressed gay community. The Count, the laconic and alcoholic Havana detective with thwarted literary aspirations and a romantic heart, has been assigned to solve the case of the son of a party leader who has been found brutally murdered, dressed in a vivid red dress and found in a seaside park known for its cruising. Typica ...more
Covadonga Mendoza
Oct 28, 2015 Covadonga Mendoza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le pongo cuatro estrellas por la prosa y el intento de ir más allá de una simple novela negra, por los recursos de estilo y el subtexto, pero realmente la trama policial es muy simple y carece de interés, al menos para mí. La novela explora la homofobia y el fenómeno homosexual en la Cuba de los noventa, usando la metáfora del travestismo y las máscaras, la transfiguración y la metamorfosis... La investigación podría haber estado algo más trabajada, al menos que no todo fuera ir a entrevistar a ...more
Apr 03, 2013 Darenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Oct 06, 2016 Margarida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um travesti vestido de Electra Garrigó é assassinado. Tendo como inspiração Virgilio Piñera (confesso, na minha humildade, que não conhecia), surge o velho Alberto Marqués, homossexual assumido, que abana os preconceitos do polícia Conde.
Em longos capítulos, Padura descreve as várias facetas do travestismo, as máscaras, e, embora sendo importantes para situar o tema, acabam por tornar este livro, em parte, maçador.
O que mais me agrada nestes policiais do MC não são, apenas, os casos de homicídio
May 18, 2014 Topf rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-spanish
I did not like at all the predictable motive of the macho man who suddenly, unexpectedly and unwillingly falls into the weirdly mythical, always foreign and rejected world of the homosexual/drag queen. I wanted to believe this was about the regular, privileged heterosexual man discovering otherness in a flawed yet compassionate way, but this book never achieved to convey that to me. Instead, I feel like it got lost in the cliché inability of said privileged heterosexual man to see true humanity ...more
Un gran escritor.
Un crimen-metáfora de una triste realidad a varios niveles así como los fuertes lazos de solidaridad en una sociedad totalitaria como la cubana.

Padura denuncia a través de la novela detectivesca -parte de una tetralogia- la terrible homofobia, la reducida gama de actividad productiva en su país ; así como los privilegios a unos pocos frente a las pocas oportunidades y satisfactores de la mayoría . Las autoridades impositivas y arbitrarias, producen un letargo y la impredictibi
Aug 06, 2011 Iris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Nov 04, 2013 Kenneth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 23, 2016 katy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un poco pretensioso. Padura compara el asesinato de un travesti a una tragedia griega. Hace mucho calor en La Habana. El Conde sigue buscando a una mujer para "templar". Su amigo el Flaco sigue tomando ron. Josefina sigue cocinando maravillas. El Conde escribe un cuento que se parece a El extranjero de Camus. Hay muchos detalles aquí, pero nada que me emociona mucho.
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.
Sep 11, 2011 Arturo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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...

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

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