Teaser Tuesday meme courtesy of MizB at Should Be Reading. Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two “teaser” sentences from that page, plus the title and author of the book. Please avoid spoilers!
"He didn't know her very well, but from their few conversations on the train, he concluded that she was going through tough times. Marrying a guy she hated, who'd had a lot to do with her father's death, had clearly been a mistake that was affecting her deeply." (p. 71)Who is the main character?
I'm a young high school graduate spending 48 hours on a train from La Paz, Bolivia going through the high Andean plateau to Arica, Chile on the coastline, to join my parents. During the trip, I become unwittingly entangled in the lives of several passengers, including a girl in an arranged marriage.
Review: Reminds me of other train trips such as Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. This is also a murder mystery, described as in the style of "classic noir."
I give this mystery novel 3 1/2 stars, maybe four if I could have read it in the original Spanish! Some things are often lost in translation! The train ride from the bowl of the city of La Paz up to the rim, across the stark and dry plateau, and then down to the coastline of Chile was the highlight of the book for me. Descriptions of the scenery, the sunsets, the people, and the few lonely homesteads on the plateau, were very interesting. I once flew over the Andes on the way from Brazil back to the U.S. and often wondered what it was like down below.
Also, relationships among mestizos, Indians, and Europeans in Bolivia are revealed on board the Andean Express. Granted this train ride was set some 40 years ago, I believe, and there is a hint in the novel about pending social change by a new political party.
The plot followed the general scheme of Murder on the Orient Express and other mystery train rides, but this "noir" novel is not a traditional mystery. Alderete has married a young woman from the upper social classes in Bolivia. It's an arranged marriage. Alderete is hated by close to a dozen people on the train, including his reluctant bride. A young high school graduate traveling to Chile to meet his parents witnesses the interactions and is used as an unwitting pawn in the developments.
Noir and mystery lovers, and armchair travelers, will enjoy Andean Express.