(Reviewed by Judi Clark JAN 17, 1999)
In this first mystery of the series, the Morenos, a Cuban couple, have asked Lupe Solano to find the birth mother of their adopted daughter who needs a bone marrow transplant - and time is running out quickly. I don't want to give anything away, except to say it is quite an adventure including a sail to Cuba.
Ms. Garcia-Aguilera is herself a P.I. in Miami which is the key to this book. But it is not just technical details that makes it a good mystery - it's the personality and the philosophy of the main character. In this case, Lupe Solano is hot, smart and sexy. She's a self-proclaimed Cuban-American Princess (CAP) from a wealthy Coconut Grove family but has found her calling as a Private Investigator -- even if it does take her to some of the seedier parts of Miami. Through Lupe, we get a cultural glimpse into the infrastructure and family life of the Cuban-American community. Lupe is a good daughter, a good sister and the best Catholic that she can be given the circumstances of her profession. Her family ties are strong, but her ties to Cuba are even stronger. Lupe says it is normal for American born Cubans to think of Cuba as their home land and she and everyone else she knows is waiting for Castro to fall.
After reading Bloody Waters, all I can say is -- I'll be right back... I need to run out and buy every book in this series!
Amazon readers' rating: from 8 reviews(back to top)
(Reviewed by Judi Clark FEB 27, 1999)In this second mystery, Lupe is trying to get away for a well deserved week in Key West, when defense attorney Tommy delays her with a "quick" investigation. But then her childhood friend, Margarita, dies in an automobile accident while on her way to tell Lupe something about the man Tommy is defending. So Lupe postpones her vacation. The job is hard - everyone seems to be lying and the case gets more and more personal as she tries to find out Margarita's connection. Once again, Lupe is feisty and funny and a serious contender for one of my favorite fictional P.I.s.
Amazon reader rating: from 8 reviews(back to top)
(Reviewed by Judi Clark MAY 20, 1999)
This third Lupe Solano Mystery is the best one yet! The story begins at a Havana night club in 1958 where we witness a conversation between friends, the Delgado and the de le Torres, who are also business partners. While the band plays, there is shooting in the background, setting the tone of the revolution for these wealthy Cubans. Then the book moves to 1994, during that brief time in which Castro declares that anyone wanting to leave can- as long as they find there own way. This is when we learn that the de le Torres made it to Miami after Castro took over but the Delgados did not. So now the son, Luis Delgado has his chance to leave Cuba. He and some friends build a raft and set to sea becoming one more group of balseros. After being rescued at sea and then spending time in Guantanamo, Luis Delgado is finally in Miami. But something has gone wrong in his attempts to claim his father's half of money from Miguel and Teresa de le Torre. So he decides to hire Lupe Solano to help him with this matter of honor.
The author's technique is to gain our sympathy for Luis Delgado by giving us enough information on the history of these two families that we therefore understand how Lupe is drawn into the case at a more personal level than is professionally appropriate. I won't say anymore at this point except that it is a mystery that only a Cuban could write yet the content is universally provocative.
Amazon reader rating: from 7 reviews
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)Lupe Solano Series:
- Bloody Waters (1996)
- Bloody Shame (1997)
- Bloody Secrets (1997)
- A Miracle in Paradise (October 1999)
- Havana Heat (October 2000)
- Bitter Sugar (November 2001)
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- Voices from the Gap on Carolina Garcia Aguilera
- The Mystery Reader review of Bloody Secrets
- Crescent Blues Book Views revew of Havana Heat
- Read a chapter excerpt from A Miracle in Paradise
- Jacksonville.com review of A Miracle in Paradise
- MostlyFiction.com review of Luck of the Draw
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About the Author:
Carolina Garcia-Aguilera was born in Cuba. She become a private investigator because of her love of mysteries since childhood. She practiced ten years in Miami and now puts her experiences and knowledge to use in the Lupe Solano mysteries.