A Florida Mystery Twenty Years in the Making
If you liked The Trespasser by Tana French, The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen, or New Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, you’ll love The Miracle of St. Lazarus.
Miami, Florida 1992: A few weeks after Hurricane Andrew wreaks devastation and havoc across South Florida, a father and his infant daughter crash their car into a canal. The man’s body is recovered, but his baby girl is never found.
Twenty-three years later: After reports of alleged sightings of the girl, the case is reopened by police. Detective Maria Duquesne has been assigned to the case, but she has very little in the way of clues. Is it really possible that the girl has not died? Or is this simply the persistence of a desperate mother who will not accept the death of her daughter?
A cozy mystery with a unique lens: Author Uva de Aragón provides a multifaceted portrait of the Latino communities of Miami and Hialeah, creating an exciting thriller that will appeal to readers who enjoy mysteries with female sleuths.
Uva de Aragón has published a dozen books of essays, poetry, short stories, and the novel Memoria del Silencio, which is now offered in its first translation into English. Some of her short stories and a play have also been translated and appear in textbooks and anthologies such as The Voice of the Turtle, Cuba: A Traveler's Literary Companion, Cubana, and Cuban-American Theater. The Miracle of St. Lazarus is the newest soon-to-be bestseller in her incredible literary career.
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About the Author
Kathleen Bulger-Barnett earned a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Kentucky with a specialization in Spanish Golden Age literature at Virginia Military Institute. Since 1989 she has taught courses on Spanish language, literature, and culture. Research interests include Spanish Golden Age literature (both drama and prose) and also Cuban writers and Caribbean literature.
Jeffrey C. Barnett is Professor of Romance Languages and serves as the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program Head at Washington and Lee University. Since 1989 he has taught classes on language, culture, and literature both domestically and abroad, including courses on the Spanish-American novel of the Boom, Caribbean literature, and literary translation. His articles on Spanish-American narrative and comparative literary studies have appeared in journals in Spain, Latin America, and the U.S. He has translated a diverse selection of Latin American authors, ranging from the short stories of Carlos Fuentes to the epic poetry of Martín del Barco Centenera. Currently he is translating Rebaños (2010), a volume of poetry by Cuban author Zurelys Lopez Amaya. Uva de Aragón's The Memory of Silence marked his first book length translation. He has lived in Honduras, Mexico, and Spain. When not in the classroom or translating, he spends his time riding cross country on his motorcycle to find inspiration for his blog "From the Road: The Moto-Odysseys of the Big Papi."
What People are Saying About This
“Readers of The Miracle of St. Lazarus: A Mystery Twenty Year in the Making will enter, by the hand of Cuban American writer Uva de Aragón, into a world of police and literary mysteries. The paths of her detective Maria Duquesne and my character Mario Conde will intersect in an amusing fictional game that builds one more bridge between two shores of Cuban culture.”
Leonardo Padura, Cuban author of Grab a Snake by the Tail and The Man Who Loved Dogs
“A dead man. A missing baby. A few shadowy characters. And a mother who has never stopped looking for her daughter. With these elements, Uva de Aragón builds a fast-faced novel that has a strong sense of place (you’ll feel you are in Miami, drinking Cuban coffee) and nuanced, sympathetic characters. Plus, a healthy serving of Cuban food. When detective Maria Duquesne is assigned a cold case, she chooses a young assistant, Ivan Fernandez, to help her with the investigation. Its twists and turns take them back to the Mariel Boatlift days, with a hop to today’s New York. This is a solid mystery with an impeccable ending that will hook you from the first line.”
Teresa Dovalpage, professor of Spanish and ESL, New Mexico Junior College, novelist, and author of, among others, the detective novel Death Comes in through the Kitchen
“Uva de Aragón’s The Miracle of Saint Lazarus chronicles the extraordinary growth of the Hispanicand particularly the Cubanpopulation in Miami-Dade County since the 1960s. The author skillfully constructs the character of the Cuban American detective Maria Duquesne and follows her quest for clues to solve the ‘cold case’ of a 1992 car accident and the mysterious disappearance of a five-week-old baby. As part of the background for her main storyline, Aragón lovingly describes the traditional food habits, Spanish language, religious devotions, family relations, and other cultural practices that distinguish Miami as the capital of Cuban exile. As a result, the novel can be read as an insightful portrayal of a changing, complex, and diverse community as well as a whodunit.”
Jorge Duany, director of the Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University
“The Miracle of St. Lazarus: A Mystery Twenty Years in the Making is Uva de Aragón’s second major work of fiction appearing in English translation. It follows on the heels of her widely acclaimed novel, The Memory of Silence, and, given the mastery of her writing and her artful exploration of the mysteries of human existence, it most certainly will help grow her ever-increasing circle of readers. The Miracle of St. Lazarus skillfully retains all the major elements of a finely structured whodunit thriller. Yet it is more than a crime novel. Deeply anchored in Miami’s richly diverse Hispanic culture, the book offers a compelling study of the exilic condition and the pain of banishment, dislocation, and dispossession.
“While trying to unravel a murder mystery and the inexplicable disappearance of a baby girl, Maria Duquesne, a second-generation Cuban detective, does more than solve a cold case. Her detective work compels her to examine her own life and identity, as well as recognize the power of witness testimony. The investigation also reveals how people intent on retaining control over their own lives were compelled to uproot and start again in a new land replete with different practices, customs, language, and values, and it shows how essential it is for exiles, refugees, and immigrants to communicate to subsequent generations their first-hand experiences of totalitarian repression. Impressively translated into English by Kathleen Bulger-Barnett and Jeffrey C. Barnett, Uva de Aragón’s novel is a timely meditation on otherness and empathy.”
Asher Z. Milbauer, professor in the Department of English and director of The Exile Studies Certificate Program, Florida International University
“Uva de Aragón debuts in the genre of detective novels with Maria Duquesne, a rich, colorful character which will surely become legendary in the history of Cuban American literature. Duquesne, although universal, maintains her cubanidad with her love for expresso coffee, a great sense of humor, and her deep family values. The Miracle of San Lazarus is an excellent mystery novel with all the traditional elements of the genre, plus the originality of delving into the life of the city of Miami with its kaleidoscope of nationalities.”
Marlene Moleón, publisher and editor, Eriginal Books
“If The Miracle of St. Lazarus: A Mystery Twenty Year in the Making is published in English, it probably will become a bestseller, and, even more, be turned into a series or a movie. It is a whodunit or mystery novel that grips the reader from the first page to the last one.”
Olga Connor, Journalist, El Nuevo Herald