Leighton Gage, A Vine in the Blood (2011)

The writer kindly offered me a review copy of the fifth Chief Inspector Mario Silva mystery, set in Brasil.

The story begins with a sinister kidnapping, but the writer adds a humorous touch to the scene because we see it through the eyes of Luca, the victim´s colourblind gardener.

“Less than an hour after Juraci Santos was unceremoniously dumped into the backseat of her kidnappers´ getaway car, Luca Vaz crept through her front gate and poisoned her bougainvilleas.”

Luca steals into her garden during the night to poison her new bougainvilleas because he has realized they are not of the blood red variety the lady wanted. And unfortunately for a gardener, Luca ´wasn´t just color blind; he suffered from the most severe and rarest form of the malady: achromatopsia.´

Of course the kidnappers have chosen a victim who has wealthy connections. In this case Juraci Santos´ son is ´The Artist´, the most prominent player of the Brazilian football team – and the crime takes place thirteen days before the FIFA World Cup! Obviously Silva´s boss expects the team to solve this mess in time for the crucial event so their player can focus on the game.

Apart from an intriguing plot which made me think ´ah, that´s what happened´, the novel offers a thought-provoking insight into life in Brazil.

“From overhead came the constant drone of helicopters, the favored form of transport for the city´s wealthy elite, and the only reliable way to get anywhere in Sao Paulo on a weekday morning…”

A fine series, and even though it is darker than many I read, the story is not unnecessarily gory, and I am looking forward to more volumes about Mario Silva and his team.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in Brazil, Leighton Gage, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Leighton Gage, A Vine in the Blood (2011)

  1. Maxine says:

    Sounds like a good book. I can imagine many football supporters getting very het up at the thought of this plot applied to their favourite team.

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – I like the Mario Silva novels, and this one sounds as though it’s a good entry in the series. Thanks for the fine review of it. One of the things I really like about this series is exactly the point you bring up: it’s an honest look at an absolutely fascinating country.

  3. I’ve read his books before and I felt the same way, you really gain insight into the various countries below the US. I found his mysteries more scary because I see some of it here in Mexico and it’s a reminder of how cruel people can sometimes be.

  4. harvee says:

    Nice review, Dorte. I see it as a book that soccer lovers will really like, especially those heading to Brazil in 2014.

  5. Barbara says:

    This is the second good review I’ve read about this book. Must read it and find out something about Brazil, a country I know little about.

  6. Maxine: so can I, but fortunately you can also enjoy it even if you don´t know the least about the sport 😉

    Margot: it is indeed a fine series. I thought the first volume was a bit gory, but I have enjoyed the later books very much.

    Clarissa: yes, I can imagine it is a bit like Mexico.

    Barbara: that is a very good reason to read Leighton´s books.

  7. Kelly says:

    Aha! One I’ve actually read and reviewed!! I enjoyed it quite a bit myself and, having only read the first in the series prior to this one, plan to go back and read those I missed.

  8. kathy d. says:

    I read the first book and agree it was a bit gory, the characters I liked were bumped off! But I like the series and will keep at it. And the author is a good guy on a lot of issues, which come up at the Murder is Everywhere website.
    On another note, if you have any pull, can we get the Kaaberbol/Friis books, in addition to The Boy in the Suitcase, translated and published in English? I just read that book and liked it and the Nina Borg character so much, but it’s frustrating that no other books in the series are available in English. Do you know how many others there are?
    I wonder whom to petition. It’s not often that a series like this arises.
    Maybe I’ll call Soho Press.

  9. Petty Witter says:

    This does look a bit darker than your usual read, I’m glad you enjoyed it though. The fact that it is set in Brazil captured my attention straight away.

  10. Harvee: good point! Trust me not to think about that, but I suppose it shows my level of interest in sports 😉

    Kelly: basically a good plan. If I didn´t have all those books on my TBR, I would do the same.

    Kathy: I think Leighton Gage has realized he can write fine stories and engage the readers without adding additional gore. With regard to the translating of Kaaberbøl and Friis´ series, I don´t think there is anything I can do. But as the first seems to be very popular, I am sure Soho Press will translate the second soon. I´ll ask Lene Kaaberbøl via facebook if she knows anything.

    Tracy: I know I have been reading many cosies this year, but that was because I needed some light entertainment. I do appreciate more exciting stories now and then, and this series is really good.

  11. Kathy: Lene Kaaberbøl says Soho plans it for the autumn of 2012.

  12. Patti Abbott says:

    When will I ever get to all these great books I am missing. Sad.

  13. Patti: so I am not the only one with this problem? 😉

  14. kathy d. says:

    Wow! Success! Seek and ye shall find. No harm is asking, that’s for sure. So another Nina Borg book, cannot wait. This was my most highly anticipated book last year, The Boy in the Suitcase.” It didn’t disappoint, only a brief violent scenario could have been deleted. Great.
    Thanks and have a nice time writing, teaching, with family.
    When you get a chance, can you mention Danish mystery authors you like a bit?
    A friend of mine was reading Mercy. She was tormented once she read about Merete… “I can’t sleep. I have nightmares,” she complained. The next day she asked me when Adler-Olsen’s next book was being published in English!

  15. harry jones says:

    Reminds me of the 1998 Cup, in which the Columbian player who got an own goal against his team was assassinated shortly upon arrival home after losing out in the first round. I hope the book doesn’t give ideas to the wrong critics. Got to say the lack of a cursor takes some getting used to. Ciao.

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