I’m on the case. After browsing through many mysteries at a very popular bookstore in Brooklyn, I came home and took a picture of one of my bookshelves. I had to prove to myself that there are books written by Latinos. It’s true, there are no Latino mysteries anywhere in my apartment. The lack of them remains to me, a mystery.
I’ve had notions of various mystery storylines taking residence in my brain. I decided to check out some of the more popular Latino/a novels and this is what I found. Unfortunately , not too much! Sarah Cortez and Liz Martinez edited Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery in 2009- published by Arte Público Press. Sunny Frazier, Acquisitions Editor at Oak Tree Press gave it a great mention on her website Murder Circle. I tried to download the book by Kindle. It doesn’t exist there. I tried to buy it at Barnes and Noble, one of the last bookstores in my neighborhood. It didn’t exist there either. They promised to order it for me. Weirdly enough, one Amazon write up says the reader will be disappointed… A potential reader may not finish that review and move on to something else. But wait! It goes on to say disappointed that the stories are not traditional tales. That does not mean that the stories are disappointing. I’m afraid that as we hurriedly read through cyber reviews that we won’t press the arrow to the next page and miss the opportunity to read a complete and favorable review.
If my Latino Mystery curiosity attack was strong enough, I might have ridden the train up to Harlem and attempted to find my desired book at the Latino bookstore- La Casa Azul. I’d like to support this burgeoning bookstore and I will, but after the week I had, my feet found their way home. I’m intrigued by thought of going there and seeing all the wonderful goodies that I’m sure are waiting on bookshelves for me. One blog site aptly named La Bloga does address Latino mysteries. I read about Chicana mysteries and about mysteries set in Brazil. Great stuff. Now, tell me about what we’re doing on the East coast.
When talking about Latino mysteries my spouse and I chuckled as we envisioned the various layers of a Latino/a mystery. We laughed at the thought of a gripping tale written by Latinos, about Latinos, for Latinos. I held my sides, it felt as though they were splitting or was that my pants? Why the laughter? You’ve got to remember that I’m a writer but Latina first. There were a quite few counterintuitive thoughts going on in my head. My first hand knowledge has shown me that some of us Latinos are heavy into denial. My own personal circle would rather uncover lids over pots of arroz con gandules than to delve into facts. Just writing that makes me feel as though I’ve betrayed! Betrayal! Another thing I try not to get caught at. The idea of getting past the bochinche- gossip– and interpreting facts, not based on loyalty, is essential to solving a mystery. Inquisitiveness, betrayal, and delving into the unknown are ingredients for my best reads. Getting into the crux of the matter is fine fodder for an excellent mystery but may not be on the agenda of some people I’m in contact with on the daily. I’d love to seek out some good stories- not of the standard telenovela kind (sorry Abuelita). So, I’ve begun a new chapter and promise to pass on what I’m learning. Now that I’ve ordered it, I can’t wait to receive my copy of Hit list: The Best of Latino Mystery in the mail. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you about it when I finally get to nestle with it on my pillow at night.
I’m putting the call out here, folks! Let me know of a Latino mystery novel that has kept you spell bound. I want to read the ones I can identify with on this side of the country- and the West too! If you’ve written a Latino/a mystery contact me. Let’s talk! If you’ve been stirred in any form by what I’ve said here, let the world know.
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