As editor Mallo says, Buenos Aires is a city “in love with its own disorder.” These 14 sly tales amply attest to that affection.
Murder most foul, the star attraction of almost any good noir, makes several appearances here. Inés Fernández Moreno offers a spooky tale of a veterinarian whose office yields a surprising collection of bones in “Crochet.” A zookeeper makes a startling discovery in Alejandro Soifer’s “Chameleon and the Lions.” A Chinese cop known as Lichi investigates mysterious gunshots in Ariel Magnus’s “Ex Officio.” And the mixed-race security guard in Leandro Ávalos Blacha’s “The Excluded” deals with the murder of a brother who barely acknowledged her. But Buenos Aires offers its share of white-collar crime, too. Claudia Piñeiro’s “Death and the Canoe” offers a grim look at plagiarism, while in Elsa Osorio’s “Three Rooms and a Patio,” a real estate deal goes horribly wrong. Some of the crimes here are psychological rather than legal trespasses. In Pablo De Santis’ “A Face in the Crowd,” a photographer receives a series of snapshots of a public park that may be connected to a crime. And editor Mallo spins the tale of an artist who takes a strange but not strictly illegal revenge on his assistant in “Eternal Love.” Unlike most American crime collections, very few of these stories feature explicit violence. But Alejandro Parisi’s “Fury of the Worm” and Gabriela Cabezón Cámara’s “The Golden Eleventh” will provide a jolt for fans of mayhem.
Mallo’s well-balanced collection gives readers a glimpse of both the geography of Buenos Aires and its heart.