Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Needle in a Haystack by Ernesto Mallo

Needle in a Haystack
by Ernesto Mallo
translated by Jethro Soutar

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2010
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Buenos Aires
Paperback: 190
Rating: 4

Inspector Lascano Mystery series:
Needle in a Haystack
Sweet Money
book 3 - tba, not yet translated

First sentence(s):
Some days the side of the bed is like the edge of an enormous abyss.

Superintendent Lascano is a detective working under the shadow of military rule in Buenos Aires in the late 1970s. Sent to investigate a double murder, he arrives at the crime scene to find three bodies. Two are clearly the work of the Junta's death squads, murders he is forced to ignore; the other one seems different.

The trail leads Lascano through a decadent Argentina, a country poisoned to its core by the tyranny of the regime. The third corpse turns out to be that of Biterman, moneylender and Auschwitz survivor. When Lascano digs too deep, he must confront Giribaldi, an army major, quick to help old friends but ruthless in dealing with dissenters such as Eva, the young militant with whom Lascano is falling in love.

My two-bits:

Interesting storytelling format with reveals that occur before the end. It started to feel mystery-ish to me midway in the book.

Lots of good character development of several different characters that paint a picture of the place and time period.


* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)


  1. Not a huge fan of that type of format...sometimes it does okay, but normally it bugs me.

  2. The setting and background would definitely be a draw. I'm always up for a mystery set in a different part of the world.


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