Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Queen of Bones by Teresa Dovalpage. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resourcesfor my stop on the tour! Check out my review and let me know what you think.
Juan, a Cuban construction worker who has settled in Albuquerque, returns to Havana for the first time since fleeing Cuba by raft twenty years ago. He is traveling with his American wife, Sharon, and hopes to reconnect with Victor, his best friend from college—and, unbeknownst to Sharon, he also hopes to discover what has become of two ex-girlfriends, Elsa and Rosita.
Juan is surprised to learn that Victor has become Victoria and runs a popular drag show at the local hot spot Café Arabia. Elsa has married a wealthy foreigner, and Rosita, still single, works at the Havana cemetery. When one of these women turns up dead, it will cost Padrino, a Santería priest and former detective on the Havana police force, more than he expects to untangle the group’s lies and hunt down the killer.
I really enjoyed Teresa Dovalpage‘s first novel, Death Comes In Through The Kitchen, and couldn’t wait to read Queen of Bones. The rich, Cuban culture is captured beautifully in this novel. I also enjoyed the bits of the political climate that we get to see here as well.
The two main characters from the first novel return to investigate this complicated case. I loved re-meeting these characters and learning more about them. It’s always wonderful to see character growth in the second novel.
The mystery was well written. Twists and turns galore kept me wondering what was happening. I really enjoyed the stories within the stories which kept me on my toes.
Queen of Bones is a fast-paced novel that I definitely recommend checking out.
*I received a free copy of this book from Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*
Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Hobbs, where she is a Spanish and ESL professor at New Mexico Junior College. She has published ten novels and three collections of short stories.
Her first culinary mystery Death Comes in through the Kitchen (Soho Crime, 2018) is set in Havana and features Padrino, a santero-detective. It is loaded with authentic Cuban recipes like arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) and caldosa (a yummy stew). Her second mystery, Queen of Bones, was also published by Soho Crime in November 2019 and includes elements of Santería and, again, food—clearly, the author loves to eat! Both novels are rich in details about life in the island, the kind only an insider can provide.
They are the first two books of Soho Crime’s Havana Mystery series. Upcoming are Death of a Telenovela Star (June 2020) and Death under the Perseids.
She also wrote A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010).
In her native Spanish she has authored six novels, among them Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain) and El difunto Fidel (The Late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, which won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009).
Once in a while she delves into theater. Her plays La Hija de La Llorona and Hasta que el mortgage nos separe (published in Teatro Latino, 2019) has been staged by Aguijón Theater in Chicago.
Let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to interact with you. If this sounds like something you would read, let me know!