Mar 6, 2007

Bitter Sugar by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, a review

Bitter Sugar by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera
Published November 30, 2010; Harper Collins Reprint
Genre: mystery

She drinks mojitos the way other people drink coffee, wears Manolo Blahnik heels, and hangs with the community of elite Cuban exiles living in and around South Beach, Miami.

Lupe Solano is a private investigator, the main character in a series of mystery novels by Cuban-born, Florida-bred author Carolina Garcia-Aguilera.

In the novels, the avidly anti-Castro father of the P.I. keeps a boat ready to return to Cuba at a moment's notice, at the first sign of "Cuba Libre," something he spends his life waiting for. On at least two occasions, Lupe uses his boat to sneak into Cuba, investigating lost or confiscated property, finding people, or recovering valuable artwork for her clients. Needless to say, her secret nighttime forays into Cuba provide some good suspense.

I found out about mojitos (a drink made with mint leaves, sugar, soda water, and rum) and the Cuban American community in Florida while reading these lively mysteries. They include Bloody Waters (1996), A Miracle in Paradise (1999), Havana Heat(2000), and Bitter Sugar(2001).

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