Hotel Brasil-Frei Betto; Jethro Soutar (translator)

Hotel Brasil
Frei Betto; Jethro Soutar (translator)
Bitter Lemon, Mar 18 2014, $14.95
ISBN 9781908524270

In Rio de Janeiro, the rundown Hotel Brasil caters to singles; at least that is what proprietor Dona Dinó claims. The regulars residing in this dump include wannabe telenovela actress Rosaura dos Santos; political hack Rui Pacheco; reporter Marcelo Braga; transformed due to age restrictions from hooking to pimping Madame Larência; transformista nightclub entertainer Diamante Negro; former professor and present collaborator with anthropologist Mônica Kundali on a book (though he craves a different collaboration) Cândido Oliviera; and gemstone seller Seu Marçal.

The family like camaraderie shatters when someone decapitates Marçal before removing his eyes. Delagacia da Lapa Police Chief Delegado Olinto Del Bosco sarcastically interrogates and accuses the owner, the residents and caretaker Jorge Maldonado as the murderer. Del Bosco arrests only Maldonado as the easiest for him to get away with a brutal beat down until he breaks and confesses.

Although a Brazilian police procedural, Hotel Brasil reads more like a fascinating character study of a different side of Rio than typically depicted. The ensemble cast is solid with their background cleverly darkly satirizing stereotypes and as a group lampooning the Agatha Christie country house mystery subgenre in a South American urban setting. Readers who appreciate something different in their whodunits will enjoy this entertaining suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: