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The Neruda Case by Robert Ampuero

I frequently enjoy novels in which literary figures appear.  Such is The Neruda Case, by Roberto Ampuero.  Pablo Neruda, beloved Chilean poet, womanizer, and Nobel Laureate, cajoles a neighbor, Cayetano Brule, to become a private detective and solve a mystery deeply hidden in Neruda’s personal life.  To add to the literary ambience, Neruda insists that all Brule needs to study in order to become a private detective, are the works of George Simenon, the Belgian mystery writer, and creator of the Inspector Maigret series!  Brule navigates the world of Chilean political intrigue, pre and post Allende regime, and also visits Mexico, Cuba, and East Germany as he attempts to solve the case.  The Neruda Case is not only enjoyable, it makes you want to read more Neruda and explore Chilean history.  This is Roberto Ampuero’s first book translated from the Spanish.  Like Neruda, he has both a diplomatic and literary career, serving as Chile’s ambassador to Mexico and also holding a creative writing faculty position at the University of Iowa.

Amy P.

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