Making Havana his stomping grounds

Leonardo Padura is dubbed the “Hammett of Havana” with good reason, as his Mario Conde novels explore the noir underbelly of his chosen city. He talks to the Guardian about how his work reflects his country’s reality, crime fiction influences and changing the titles for British publication:

The novels in the British editions have had their titles changed so

that they feature Havana for the obvious reasons of its cachet. “If I

had been born in San Jose, Costa Rica, it wouldn’t have worked,” he

says with a smile. He has no intention of moving abroad. “When there

are all these social and economic problems, I have the good fortune to

live in another reality, whether it is with Trotsky or with Mario

Conde. That helps me to keep my mental health. It is my personal

decision to live here – I have a very close personal relationship with

this town and with this house. I need to live here to work, to write.

Sometimes, like almost all Cubans, I would like to be far away but

sometimes, when I am far away, like almost all Cubans, I would like to

go back”.

His next work is about the assassination of Leon Trotsky, which sounds like something I’ll definitely have to pick up.