This witty novel begins with the poisoning of a batch of bougainvillea plants. Although the owner of the flowers has just been kidnapped, her gardener’s concern is saving himself from her vindictive fury when she discovers that the red bougainvilleas she wanted are, in fact, pale mauve. Hell hath no fury like Juraci Santos, mother of Brazil’s greatest soccer star, Tico Santos. Tico is essential for Brazil to win the World Cup and someone has snatched Juraci, planning to force her son to throw the game.
That set-up is perfect for Leighton Gage’s fifth novel featuring Chief Inspector Mario Silva. The combination of high-profile crime and high-level skulduggery make exactly the kind of case Silva hates, one that could finish a career. Gage knows Brazil well and has a cast of characters so amusing and so skillfully constructed that this novel is irresistible.