Leonardo Padura’s detective, Mario Conde, on BBC Radio 4

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Gillian Reynolds discusses the serialization of Leonardo Padura’s Havana Quartet on BBC’s Radio 4.

I miss Inspector Montalbano on television. I wonder if Lieutenant Mario Conde can take his place? Conde is the hero of The Havana Quartet (Saturday, Radio 4) and his first case was the disappearance of someone he knew at school, a poor boy who had become a success, marrying a beauty who was rich and well connected. Conde hated him, didn’t want to take the case but his boss insisted. Conde slept with the beautiful wife before the case was solved. He is the creation of Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, who admits to being influenced by Chandler and Hammett.
Mark Lawson, returning to Radio 4 to examine other nations’ detective fiction in Foreign Bodies (all this week), interviewed him, asking whether, living in a country where expression is not free, he has been censored? Yes, said Padura, but everything he writes is rooted in Cuban reality, religion, sexuality, the food people eat, the places they live. And, as Lawson perceptively pointed out, it’s all set in the Nineties which makes its social comment less risky. Padura also said Conde is a disaster as a cop. So that’s why I wasn’t convinced he’d got the murderer last Saturday. Still, I’ll be back for more this weekend.

For the original report go to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/11238771/The-Archers-David-Blunkett-realism.html

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