The Beggar's Opera Paperback – Feb 7 2012
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I have a penchant for smart, dark, literary crime fiction, and The Beggar's Opera is all of that: an excellent book. - Allan Guthrie, author of Two Way Split
About the Author
Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. Her critically acclaimed mystery The Beggar’s Opera won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Readers’ Choice contest and was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger Award. The Poisoned Pawn is the second in the Inspector Ramirez series. Peggy lives in Ottawa.
Top Customer Reviews
"That policeman should be more careful where he stands," Ramirez said to the dead woman sitting at the medical examiner Apiro's desk....She wore a frilly southern-belle dress and a wide white bandana....The several strands of beads around her neck revealed who she was -or rather had been--a follower of Santeria."
As a nation waits for a new era at the end of the punishing embargo, citizens walk a narrow line on ten pesos a month. The tourist hotels and destinations are off limits to Cubans unless they work there. Soap is impossible to buy, and coffee comes with sugar only. To manage to find a chicken for the Christmas holidays is a triumph.
Suddenly Ramirez's holiday goes on hold. Major Crimes has just picked up a vacationing Canadian lawman for the rape and murder of a young Cuban boy. Mike Ellis gave the kid spare change earlier. But he has no memory of the evening. His quarreling wife left him to return to Canada, and he was alone in a bar, drowning his sorrows in too much rum, wandering from the safe tourist paths into the dangerous back alleys of a raw but tempting world. Forensics from his hotel room look bleak for his case. Unless he can find an advocate, he'll soon be in jail at the mercy of hardened criminals who would welcome the chance to teach a lesson to someone on the other side of the law.
Canadians find Cuba a popular winter destination, but the pleasures of mojitos and white sands mask danger for thrill-seekers.Read more ›
2006. Michael Ellis, a Canadian police detective from Ottawa and his wife Hillary head to Cuba for some warm weather over the Christmas vacation. Mike is also suffering some fallout from the death of his partner. There seems to be more to this story than we are intially led to believe. Their marriage suffers a blow when Hillary cuts her time short and heads back to Canada. Mike decides to drown his sorrows in one of Hemingway's favorite bars. But when he wakes up the next day, he can't find his wallet, has no idea what he did the night before.....and finds himself being arrested for the rape and murder of a young street boy. He remembers giving the begging child some pesos the day before - but murder....
Inspector Ricardo Ramirez of the Havana Major Crimes Unit has 72 hours to secure an indictment. He'll be moving fast on this horrific crime. And the possible sentence? The firing squad is still in use in Cuba. Mike's commander at home sends a female lawyer, Celia Jones, to Cuba to see if she can help Mike in any way.
The Beggar's Opera was such a great read on so many different levels. The setting itself was a major character. Blair brings to life a Cuba outside the confines of a tourist resort. A Cuba where "anything could be a crime if it served the government's objectives." Unauthorized internet access = a five year prison sentence.Read more ›
With her debut novel 'The Beggar's Opera' Peggy Blair has woven an almost haunting novel of lives changed, and futures taken, in the setting of Havana, Cuba. Short-listed for the prestigious Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger Award in 2009, Peggy has been thrust into the limelight and has her fans impatiently waiting for the next instalment in the Inspector Ramirez Series.
The novel centres on the brutal rape and murder of a young street boy. The crime has caught the eye of the Minister of the Interior as Fidel Castro is set on deterring sex tourists from coming to Havana, especially those into child pornography and perpetrating sex crimes against them. Castro wants the suspect to be made an example to the world by making sure he is executed immediately after conviction.
Inspector Ricardo Ramirez of the Major Crimes Unit, Havana Division, and his newly appointed subordinate Detective Rodriguez Sanchez are tasked with the investigation to prove the suspect guilty. A task that will be challenged by a Canadian attorney hell bent of finding the real perpetrator of the crime.
While Ramirez goes about his policing he is followed by ghosts of deceased victims looking for him to solve their murders. The ghosts often try to give Ramirez clues with waving gestures and cryptic symbols that he sometimes misses, making his investigation stall, while he scrambles to piece together evidence and convict the Canadian policeman; Mike Ellis, suspected of the rape and murder. As you learn more about Ellis you want to believe he is innocent.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I have enjoyed all of Peggy Blair's books and look forward to reading more.Published 10 months ago by Stephanie Smith
A great book. Not only a page turner but amusing and also teaches a lot about Cuba. Also enjoyed the unexpected plot twists. I highly recommend this book.Published on Oct. 1 2013 by P. Steele
Ms. Blair's sleuth is a most unusually quirky detective. A man who sees ghosts that provide him with clues is a new twist to the genre. Read morePublished on May 26 2013 by Rickjcross
What a great story! Set in Havana, Cuba, Inspector Ramirez and Detective Sanchez investigate the rape and murder of a young Cuban boy. Read morePublished on March 14 2013 by Dolores M Bretecher
The best mystery novels immerse the reader in a milieu completely, providing a cultural experience almost unnoticed beneath compelling characters and an absorbing plot. Read morePublished on July 27 2012 by Jayne of Mystery