my cart my cart |

Penguin.ca

Image of THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
$8.99 | add to cart

eBook: ePub eBook | 352 pages | ISBN 9780143183433 | 07 Feb 2012 | Penguin Canada | 18 - AND UP
Peggy Blair

Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. A recognized expert in aboriginal law, she worked both as a criminal defence lawyer and Crown prosecutor. Her critically acclaimed mystery The Beggar's Opera won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Reader's Choice contest and was shortlisted for the Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger Award. The Poisoned Pawn is the second in the Inspector Ramirez series. Peggy Blair is named in Canadian Who's Who. She lives in Ottawa.

THE BEGGAR'S OPERA

Peggy Blair

In beautiful, crumbling Old Havana, Canadian detective Mike Ellis hopes the sun and sand will save his troubled marriage. He doesn’t yet know that it’s dead in the water, much like the Cuban boy last seen begging the Canadian couple for a few pesos.

For Inspector Ricardo Ramirez, arresting Ellis isn’t the problem—the law is. He has only seventy-two hours to secure an indictment and prevent a vicious killer from leaving the island. And Ramirez has his own troubles. He’s dying of the same dementia that killed his grandmother, an incurable disease that makes him see the ghosts of victims of his unsolved cases. As he races against time, the dead haunt his every step…

PDF LogoRead an excerpt | More Previews »
Peggy Blair's site LogoVisit Peggy Blair's site

PROLOGUE

Ricky Ramirez’s parents stood on the other side of the door, speaking in hushed tones with the doctors. His grandmother’s hand felt like wishbones in his small one. Her eyes were still closed and she breathed shallowly. The hospital room smelled of tobacco and anise, mixed with sweat.

He was surprised more than frightened when she suddenly sat up and pulled his head towards her by the ears. She tugged so hard it brought fresh tears to his nine-year-old eyes. “The dead will come,” she rasped. “My gift to you, as the eldest child.” He barely recognized her voice. She hadn’t spoken for days.

“What dead, Grandmother? Are you coming back?” Dead people left, and as far as he knew they never returned.

“No,” she smiled weakly. She released her grip and patted his cheek with her soft brown hand. “As much as I would like to see you grow up, little man.”

“Then who is coming, mamita?” He rubbed his sore ears. Her body slowly deflated onto the metal bed. She reached for his hand..

Read More » | More Previews »

“A nuanced account of the struggles of two men to comprehend the sudden and unexpected turns in their complex lives. Blair nicely strings the reader along, casting doubt on what’s real and what’s imaginary, while serving up a tale that combines a penetrating commentary on Cuban life with a whodunit full of twists and turns ... readers can look forward to following the further exploits of the enigmatic Cuban police detective.”
The Sherbrooke Record

“Full of atmosphere. The Beggar’s Opera is a debut novel with a twisted climax, revealing dialogue and astute social observation on how far apart we are from Cuba and yet how close.”
The Hamilton Spectator

“I have a penchant for smart, dark literary crime fiction and The Beggar’s Opera is all of that: an excellent book with a really strong sense of place, excellently drawn, with varied and interesting characters, lovely writing and terrific details.”
—Allan Guthrie, author of Two Way Split

“Peggy Blair knows the human costs of crime.... She marries this knowledge to a gripping plot in a great new series kick-off in The Beggar’s Opera. Passion, corruption, danger: it’s a Cuba-set mystery that satisfyingly delivers all the compelling characteristics of its setting.”
—Andrew Pyper

“Impressive.... Blair keeps the tension high even as she paints a comprehensive, sensitively detailed picture.... The Beggar’s Opera was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award, and it’s easy to see why.... Ramirez’s time on earth may be limited by the ticking clock of his dementia, but in the interim, he has more cases to solve, and based on this solid debut, we will be eager to read about them.”
Quill & Quire

“A riveting story that kept me reading late into the night. Peggy Blair combines masterful writing with a clever plot and an unforgettable journey into the dark heart of Havana.”
—D.J. McIntosh, author of The Witch of Babylon

“Blair’s Havana is a steamy, twisted locale and her Inspector Ramirez is just the kind of dogged detective you want to root for.”
—Robert Rotenberg, bestselling author of Old City Hall

“Blair has created a marvellous cast and a plot that keeps on surprising. Ramirez’s return is awaited.”
The Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon)

The Beggar’s Opera does not disappoint. It’s fast-paced, atmospheric, has unusual characters and delivers surprises right to the final pages.”
Ottawa Citizen

“A bang-up whodunit.... Old school or new, the essential test for any mystery novel is that it read downhill, forcing us to keep turning the pages faster as we come to the end. The Beggar’s Opera does this, and adds quirky leads, an exotic setting, and not one, not two, but at least three twists at the end (saving the best for last). It’s a great start for the series.”
Toronto Star

“A fast-paced, well-plotted mystery.... One can only hope Blair ... continues her career as a crime writer as well as she has begun.”
Vancouver Sun

“A splendid fictional debut.... [Blair] delves into the dark side of the sunny island.... Blair’s riveting, gritty tale is so realistic, it may give readers nightmares about landing in legal trouble while in another country.”
The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)

The Beggar’s Opera pays loving and detailed homage to the unique beauty of the island nation.... There are enough strong characters, dazzling locations and subplots in Blair’s book to sustain more than one season of thrillers.... [Blair’s] gift for detail and colour is breathtaking, almost psychedelic…. a thriller that gives fresh and fair dimension to Havana and Cuban life.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“An impressive debut.... The Cuban setting is treated almost like a character in its own right, emerging gradually and naturally from the narrative, rather than being imposed with lengthy asides or explanations.... Blair exhibits a keen facility with both characterization and narrative development.... the book itself unfolds with an artless ease: the investigation and its developments are both compelling and convincing, a genuinely mysterious mystery that manages to both surprise and maintain its internal integrity.... The Beggar’s Opera is a well-crafted, genuinely satisfying mystery that bodes well for future novels featuring Ricardo Ramirez.”
National Post

Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. A recognized expert in aboriginal law, she worked both as a criminal defence lawyer and Crown prosecutor. Her critically acclaimed mystery The Beggar's Opera won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize Reader's Choice contest and was shortlisted for the Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger Award. The Poisoned Pawn is the second in the Inspector Ramirez series. Peggy Blair is named in Canadian Who's Who. She lives in Ottawa.

About the BookAdditional FormatsPeggy Blair
Praise

“A nuanced account of the struggles of two men to comprehend the sudden and unexpected turns in their complex lives. Blair nicely strings the reader along, casting doubt on what’s real and what’s imaginary, while serving up a tale that combines a penetrating commentary on Cuban life with a whodunit full of twists and turns ... readers can look forward to following the further exploits of the enigmatic Cuban police detective.”
The Sherbrooke Record

“Full of atmosphere. The Beggar’s Opera is a debut novel with a ...

Read more »