The Girl from Veracruz is the twelfth and latest novel in John Scherber's Murder in Mexico mystery series. Like most of the others, it is set largely in San Miguel de Allende (although there is a trip to Veracruz).
It features the same team of detectives that we have come to care for in the preceding novels: Paul Zacher, age 40, a reasonably popular local artist; the lovely Maya Sanchez, his life partner (for the most part) and now head of the Paul Zacher Agency; and Cody Williams, a retired homicide detective from Peoria, Illinois. We also meet again Licenciado Diego Delgado, their contact with the San Miguel Judicial Police.
The story begins at the morgue...
Much of the novel, which takes place in 1982, is about the Huichols and Richter means "to introduce the reader to the Huichol people, their culture and religious life centered on peyote visions…."
For the Huichol, "the sacred and the secular are the same world, real and physical, enrapturing and mystical. Body, mind, and spirit; corn, deer, and peyote; nothing separates the idea from the daylight or the dream. It is all the same."
As in the finest of adventure stories — from The Odyssey to the present — Robert Richter´s protagonist, Cotton Waters, "Algo," is a seemingly ordinary man, not particularly successful in the eyes of the world, who for complicated reasons accepts a journey that has extraordinary challenges and that will change him forever...
he year was 1916. Young Frank Holloway "got mercury poisoning working in the Silver Creek Mine in Mogollón, New Mexico." To recover his health, his doctor told him to get away and go have "an adventure."
And so… perhaps lacking judgment because of the mercury poisoning, Frank opted for danger as well as adventure. On Tosca, his beloved mare, he rode south, and fifty miles west of El Paso he crossed the border into Mexico.
Frank, "with a fool's luck, managed to pick his way… between horse thieves from both sides, the Texas rangers who pursued them, Pancho Villa's Dorados, General Pershing's 6,000 gringo troops who were chasing Villa after the raid at Columbus, New Mexico,...
Let the Water Hold Me Down has the makings of a classic.
It is written with skill and with grace, and the old verities that are at the heart of being human are here: loss and grief, guilt and longing, loyalty and love.
Set in modern-day Mexico, it tells the story of Hank Singer and is also about his relationship with César Lobos de Madrid, whose "family was one of the oldest, wealthiest, and most politically connected in Chiapas, if not in all of Mexico."
Hank has arrived just a few weeks before the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, led by Subcomandante Marcos, who on January 1, 1994, declared war against the government and the military...
The story begins as Mark Sands, a successful money manager — after little people with grubby hands drug him and drop him over the parapet of his broad veranda — is falling twenty-seven floors to his death.
Feeling detached, perhaps defensively, from his plummeting body, Sands wonders, "How had the little people emerged from the painting over his buffet?
It was his Rafael Cantú masterpiece, The Last Supper, the prize of his collection. And they were the characters from the painting. He recognized the odd, ragged leather outfits.
Had he been murdered by these nightmare versions of Christ and the Apostles?" ...
The Theft of the Virgin is the ninth book in John Scherber's Murder in Mexico series. He tells a good story.
In The Theft of the Virgin, sixty paintings from the popular Vergruen Reference Collection of outstanding masterpieces of art — all forgeries — are on temporary display at the Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende... But are they all forgeries?
Paul Zacher, one of many talented artists in San Miguel de Allende, is our protagonist and for the most part our narrator.
Zacher suspects a scheme that is putting originals into the hands of very amoral and very wealthy collectors.
Gina is a "good deal older" than her circle of "newly retired women with educations, raised in the United States of America but now living in Mexico.
She helps her gardener with his English, takes pleasure in her garden, is fascinated by the old Mayan legends, grateful for the sacrifices of their gods, and holds sacred the food she receives.
A principle she lives by is this: "be thankful and say so regularly." She feels in her heart that this religious attitude is "much easier to grasp than the more intellectual, less sensory religions…."
"Paradise Valley — five thousand acres of prime, flat, fertile farmland nestled in the Sierra Madre of northeastern Mexico, only a hundred miles from the American border."
Inspired by actual events, several Amish families — finding new state laws impossible to live under because they undermined their faith and way of life — set off in 1922 to begin a new life in Mexico.
Seventeen-year-old Caleana's parents go to Mexico to camp out in the jungle near the Palenque ruins, but in the jungle mist the pilot of their small plane loses control and crashes. The father — a gifted archaeologist — is killed and possibly the mother, although because the mother's body had not been found, no one is sure.
Uncle Aiden, Aunt Bette, Caleana and her brother fly back to identify the body of their father, and while there Aunt Bette takes the children to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. Aunt Bette places in Caleana's hand "a beautiful amulet of green jade and crystals around a circle. In the middle of the circle was an ancient Mayan woman with a serpent on her head, and jaguar ears and claws." It had been found at the crash site and it was believed to be Caleana's mother's.
I've read a lot of novels in the first ten years of this new century, and I must say that Sweet Spot is one of the three or four I like the best.
The story is set during seven spectacular days of Carnival in Mazatlán, the second largest Carnival in the world. A lot happens during those seven days, including scandal, murder, amoral politics, drug lords searching for our protagonist "Mundo," and bed time with a desirable young revolutionary, the amoral Mijares.
Sweet Spot is incredible. Linton Robinson should be catapulted to the top of the pile of contemporary authors. Why didn't this novel win the National Book Award or the Pulitzer Prize?
How about a romance novel set in Mexico? And complete with a beautiful young girl who is of course headstrong and independent; and a bad man who is handsome and powerful and in fact a legendary drug lord; and his equally handsome but not quite-so-bad assistant.
Strange, but true. Charles Embree's A dream of a throne
, the story of a Mexican revolt, is based on the story of the Lake Chapala area during the 19th century.
Available from the author
Life in Mexico observed by someone who is bursting with affection for his new country.
I have reviewed a lot of fiction and non-fiction books for Mexico Connect, but I...
THE DANE CHANDOS BOOKS
COLLECTING BOOKS ABOUT MEXICO?
VILLAGE IN THE SUN
HOUSE IN THE SUN
ALL by DANE CHANDOS
"A story filled with sex, violence, and drugs, even love, a story of treachery, where only power and money ultimately are valued."
Author Belden Butterfield was born in Argentina, educat...
I like this book, but I don't like the title: Drama & Diplomacy in a Sultry Mexican Beach Town. The book is not about "drama & diplomacy." It's about one person's life in Puerto Vallarta...
Throughout the novel, we see the forceful character of Frida displaying itself
The largest Frida Kahlo exhibit ever has just ended in Mexico City. Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her b...
Cormac McCarthy is best known for his Border Trilogy, three novels set along the Texas-Mexico border, the first of which, All the Pretty Horses, is set almost entirely in Mexico, south of the Te...
Some corrupt Mexican soldiers are also looking for the hidden gold, and so Kylie and Raven and their Yelapa companions have a lot more on their hands than they had bargained for.
R. D. Lyons is a long...
The location for these nine stories is the town of Tecate in the Baja, located 34 miles east of Tijuana. Tucked away in the extreme northwest of Mexico, it couldn't possibly be any closer to the U.S. border. The town can also boast that it is the home of Daniel Reveles, author of three attractive collections of novellas. The latest of these is the one reviewed here.
My reprobate pilot is a doctor. His own health problems prompted early retirement to Mexico. When he couldn't pass a health exam for a new flying license, he changed a 3 to an 8 on the expiration date of his old one and flew down from Seattle.
Most generous with his gringo friends, Doc shares his medical expertise, his Jaguar, his Harley and now his Cessna. This is my first flight in a small plane and I'm excited. Our plans are simple. Two hours round trip to the coastal beach, a swim and picnic lunch. We should be back in the afternoon.
The objects in my house have become a form of dialogue between my housekeeper Yolanda and me. I put things in places where they are artistically pleasing to me. That is why the Virgin of Guadalupe has resided for a year in my bathroom, along with other sculptures and paintings of female forms.
But when I arrived home after a month in the States, I found my large terra-cotta Virgin moved to the small table below my entryway nicho. Around her were placed a few cacti in small pots that I'd had up in the nicho next to a grouping of stones, greenery and pre-Columbian replicas. Now the Virgin stood solidly in front of them, the nubs of white candles rising from attached candelabra on each side of her.
The story line concerns a young Mexican girl, Teresa Mendoza, 23 years old, who is in love with a Chicano Cessna pilot who flies cocaine and hashish from Colombia to locations in Texas. It's a dangerous trade to be in and Teresa's lover, Güero Dávila, is well aware of the risks, not only from drug enforcement agents but also from rival narcotraficantes. With the former, the risks are imprisonment. With the latter, the penalty is death should one lose a shipment or not play the game the way the bosses want it played.
Some of us wondered how that wedding could be blessed by God. Was it really His will? The village padre said it was. No one dared ask why. That would just give him a chance to preach to us about the power of faith. And, after all, our good standing in the church means a lot to us. The church provides the major distraction in our tedious lives, giving us religious fiestas and processions, baptisms, weddings, first communions and funerals.
I'm sorry your husband couldn't come today. He's a much better driver than you are. No offense, its just that, generally speaking, women aren't very good drivers. Watch out for that kid on the bike. Driving in Mexico here, its not easy, especially for a woman. These Mexicans, they drive like madmen.