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No Happy Ending by II Paco Ignacio Taibo
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No Happy Ending (1989)

by II Paco Ignacio Taibo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Héctor Belascoarán Shayne (3)

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No Happy Ending by Paco Ignacio Taibo II

Héctor Belascoarán Shayne tells us that he decided to become a detective because he didn’t like the color his wife picked for the new carpet. He had been an engineer. He got his license by mail. He had never read a British mystery novel. He didn’t know a fingerprint from a finger sandwich. He could only shoot something if it didn’t move very much.

Héctor is a usually a taciturn, enigmatic man who is an unrepentant teetotaler with a penchant for Pepsis. He shares an office with three characters, a plumber, an upholsterer and a sewer engineer

One day a murdered man dressed as a roman soldier is found at his office and then he gets a mysterious message to ignore was he saw and along with the message there was a plane ticket to New York City. All Héctor really knew at this point was that he loved his home, Mexico City with a passion and if he waited the killer would show his face.

In this case the detective is correct and it appears that there is more than one killer and that they are from the police. Since this is Mexico, the question is whether they were from the secret police, the auxiliary police, the judicial police, the special, the bank, the preventative, the traffic, the federal?

Héctor uncovers links from these men to a very unsavory incident in Mexico City’s recent past. What it has to do with him appears to be serendipity but he is caught in a web he cannot escape. His life is on the line and he is very like a gunslinger of the old West shooting first and asking questions later.

This is a very intriguing character and the people in his life are also worth knowing. The prose is somewhat Hemingwayesque and I look forward to reading more of this writer.
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  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
II Paco Ignacio Taiboprimary authorall editionscalculated
Neuman, William I.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The third English language case for Mexico City independent detective Hctor Belascoarn Shayne, No Happy Ending, is Paco Ignacio Taibo II at his subversive, darkly comic best. First, Hctor discovers the body of a dead actor, dressed like a Roman in full breastplate and regalia, propped up on the toilet in his office. Shortly thereafter, he receives a threatening letter and a snapshot of another murdered corpse. As Hctor investigates the killings he discovers that both share a connection to a dead stuntman named Zorak who apparently perished while training a government-backed paramilitary group. Once again, the one-eyed anarchist detective finds himself up against the very institutions which persecute the downtrodden and oppress the masses. In typical Taibo fashion, Hctor appears destined to lose? the ending to this remarkable absurdist tale shows his bullet-ridden body lying face down in the gutter during a rainstorm.… (more)

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