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Blood Tango: A Mystery by Annamaria Alfieri
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250004550
Date: 25 June 2013 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1945, Colonel Juan Domingo Perón has been deposed. After his farewell speech, Perón and his radio actress mistress, Evita Duarte, must hide from the new government. Meanwhile, a young shop assistant, Luz Garmendia, is stabbed to death in front of the shop, Chez Claudia, where she modeled clothes for Evita. Because she bears a striking resemblance to Evita, it could be a case of mistaken identity. Soon afterwards, there is another murder and Detective Roberto Leary is determined to find the killer before more innocent women die.

Annamaria Alfieri, an incredibly gifted writer, must be in love with South America's beautiful people and turbulent history. She writes mysteries based on historical events of great importance. Her latest one, Blood Tango (following the highly successful City of Silver and, my favorite, Invisible Country, is set during the ousting of Dictator Juan Perón. The novel's central character is the provocative Evita Duarte. Born a peasant, and scorned because she was illegitimate, she rose to become one of the world's most famous women. She was loved by many, and she was hated by many. Some called her a saint, and some called her a whore. Most definitely she was a champion of the working poor.

Alfieri's novels are packed with political intrigue, religious dogma, stupefying mystery, and passionate romance. The love affair between Juan Perón and Evita Duarte is nearly as famous as that of Romeo and Juliet and Samson and Delilah. Evita is determined to do most anything to see the man she loves regain control of Argentina. The novel depicts her as an intelligent, strong willed woman who should be a role model for the young. She sometimes displays a hot temper; however, many successful women possess this. Another romantic couple in Blood Tango consists of the handsome Detective Roberto Leary who is protecting seamstress and tango dancer, Pilar Borelli, from a vicious killer.

The setting is the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, known as the Paris of the south. Unfortunately, political unrest has filled the streets with blood. The parks, cathedrals and designer shops are empty. Students and factory workers protest the great disparity between the wealthy and the working poor. Detective Leary, a good man, endeavors to find the killer of a poor sixteen-year-old girl who has been deemed a "nobody" by the self-serving politicians. To further complicate matters, World War II rages throughout Europe, causing shortages of medical, textile, and food supplies in Argentina, a country that is ripe for civil war.

In her quest to free her lover, Evita travels from lavishly appointed manors to impoverished barrios.

Mystery fans need to discover the novels of Annamaria Alfieri. She has successfully tapped into the growing market of South American historical mysteries. She has a talent for taking real people and placing them into fast-paced mysteries that are intriguing and controversial.

Alfieri's latest novel, Blood Tango is a great introductory to her work. Emotional and gripping, it was difficult for me to put down until I had discovered the identity of Luz Garmendia's murderer. I can't wait for her next novel; I wonder what gorgeous South American country and captivating historical event will serve as its setting and background.

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