Review: In 1869, a war that has lasted five years between Paraguay and its neighbors has left the country in ruins. Worse, it is estimated that some 90% of the adult males have been killed as a direct result of the war. But the death of one man in particular can only be one thing — murder — in Invisible Country, a mystery by Annamaria Alfieri.
The victim is Ricardo Yotte, one of the most powerful men in the country, an ally with the heartless and brutal dictator Francisco Solano López. He was also the less than discrete lover of López's wife, former Parisian courtesan Eliza Lynch. Fearing that the first possible candidate for the crime in the small village where his body was found would be accused and convicted of it, the local residents decide to investigate for themselves. Among the group is Salvador Leon, the brother-in-law of the Comandante in charge of police matters. Though his wife is the Comandante's sister, Salvador fears the man himself, and his zeal to solve this crime quickly, no matter who may be hurt in the process.
In many ways, Invisible Country mirrors world events today, some 150 years after the Paraguayan War was fought. Dictators and their loyal henchmen are seen, at least initially, as generous heroes to their people, but are in fact greedy, violent war mongers. Innocent men and woman die not for their country and the benefit of all but to perpetuate the demanding and uncompromising rule of one. This spirited novel is more than just a whodunit-style mystery, of which it has a very good storyline, but one that explores the themes of the rights and wrongs of war and the people who are most affected by it.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Invisible Country.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Invisible Country for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Invisible Country: Paraguay
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Invisible Country by Annamaria Alfieri
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 2012
List Price: $25.99