Cover image for Bitter sugar : a Lupe Solano mystery
Bitter sugar : a Lupe Solano mystery
Garcia-Aguilera, Carolina.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiv, 315 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Private property was stolen and livelihoods destroyed in the wake of Castro's Cuban revolution, breeding bitterness and rage-which in turn breed murder.

Bitter Sugar

Sexy, smart, and hot-tempered, Lupe Solano is arguably the best private investigator in Miami -- though her father would be much happier had she chosen a safer career. So Lupe is thrown a curve when her beloved "Papi" asks her for professional help.

Senor Solano's old friend Ramon Suarez owned a prosperous sugar mill back in Cuba until Castro nationalized the property and forced him and his family into exile. Now, years later, an unnamed source in Spain is offering to purchase the confiscated property at a fraction of its value. Lazy, no-good nephew Alexander Suarez wants the money. Tio Ramon is suspicious and wants to know what's behind this sudden interest in a nonproducing sugar mill.

What starts as a routine journey down a paper trail soon turns deadly when Alexander is found brutally slain in a sleazy Miami hotel -- and his last known visitor, Tio Ramon, is accused of the murder. Suddenly Lupe has a killer to unmask if she's going to prove Papi's dearest friend innocent.

But Lupe is rapidly becoming entangled in the mysterious web of spun sugar and blood that captured and killed Alexander. And when bullets smash through her own window, she begins to wonder if maybe Papi was right all along. But stubborn honor -- and anger -- compel her to continue with her investigation, even if what she turns up rocks her world, her family, and the entire Miami Cuban community to its very foundations.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Cuban-born Lupe Solano is not a hard-boiled private eye. She has a weakness for cafecon leche, long baths, and the scent of men's cologne. She keeps her office (managed by her sexually confused and outlandishly outfitted cousin) stocked with fine wine. Lupe takes her job seriously, though, and in her sixth adventure in the Miami-based series, she has even more than usual invested in uncovering the truth. She is hired by her father's best friend, Ramone, an aging Cuban expatriate, to investigate a mysterious offer to buy property rights to his Cuban sugar mills, long ago confiscated by Castro. Why would anyone want to buy the unprofitable mills, and why is Ramone's nephew so eager for his uncle to sell? The situation heats up when the nephew turns up dead, and Ramone is found at the scene with the bloody knife in hand. Simultaneously juggling various current and past boyfriends, Lupe cracks the case with style and a sense of humor--and teaches readers a bit about Cuba in the process. --Carrie Bissey

Publisher's Weekly Review

Surprises abound in Lupe Solano's sixth foray (after 2000's Havana Heat) into the seamier side of Miami's Cuban Amigra community, whose residents await Castro's defeat and an eventual return home. Some exiled sugar barons have made second fortunes, like Tio Ramon, head of the Suarez family and Lupe's father's lifelong friend. When Ramon's nephew and co-owner of the family sugar mills receives a buyout offer and then disappears, he asks her Papi for help and the dutiful daughter gears up immediately. Lupe is not always so skillful at juggling her two lives, that of a cosseted daughter, still living at home and pinning medals of the Virgin to her brassiere strap, with that of the emancipated single woman, a savvy PI with lovers and a wardrobe to die for. The author exploits this dichotomy to sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragic effect. As Detective Anderson of the Miami police points out, bodies seem to accumulate around her. Loyalty, tradition, principle and justice guide her, although she's not above taking a few shortcuts to get what she needs. She will go to extraordinary lengths for family, friends and clients, often at no small cost to herself, as is the case when she winds up in the hospital. This present challenge is a chance to gain her father's approval of her career choice, even though he may not like what she uncovers. Garcia-Aguilera saves her best surprise until last, leaving fans wanting more. (Oct. 30) FYI: This will be the last Lupe Solano mystery for a while, since Garcia-Aguilera is currently writing a romance novel for HarperCollins. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Cuban American private detective Lupe Solano attempts to help a friend of her father after he receives disturbing news. Foreigners interested in buying his confiscated sugar plantations in Cuba want him and his nephew to relinquish all claims. Lupe's involvement escalates when someone subsequently kills the nephew. Strongly recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.