Red House (A Filom­e­na Bus­carsela Mystery)

  • Review
By – June 30, 2014

Once again, Ken­neth Wish­ni­a’s snarky detec­tive is on the case, in the third book in his series star­ring Lati­na female detec­tive Filom­e­na. She’s a hard­work­ing for­mer detec­tive turned PI, divorced moth­er of twelve-year-old Anto­nia, and in a rela­tion­ship with a Jew­ish doc­tor named Stan. She is putting in her time work­ing for a PI busi­ness, aim­ing to get her own license while try­ing to make ends meet in Queens. Filom­e­na is a defend­er of minori­ties, unapolo­getic as she bash­es racist civil­ians and rude police offi­cers alike. When I inter­viewed Wish­nia for this pub­li­ca­tion about his his­tor­i­cal nov­el The Last Ser­vant, he spoke to me in qui­et­ly mea­sured tones. It’s surpris­ingly fun­ny to read his depic­tion of this brash, trash-talk­ing ambi­tious pro­tag­o­nist, who car­ries a weapon and curs­es like a ban­shee, only hold­ing her tongue in her daugh­ter’s pres­ence. Filom­e­na should be spend­ing her work hours on bread and but­ter” cas­es, but she repeat­ed­ly sym­pa­thizes with her own peo­ple’s prob­lems. PI Bus­carsela takes on a des­per­ate immi­grant moth­er’s pro-bono case search­ing for her miss­ing day labor­er son. She coax­es infor­ma­tion out of his Span­ish-speak­ing cowork­ers and fol­lows clues, get­ting drawn fur­ther into com­plex­i­ties. Filom­e­na must deal with lay­ers of bureau­cra­cy and misog­y­ny in her chase for jus­tice. This smart sassy mom’s excla­ma­tions while bat­tling dri­vers on Long Island roads had me laugh­ing out loud. Filom­ena’s wor­ries about the world’s inequities and her actions to make things bet­ter make me wish she was a real live friend of mine.

Relat­ed Content:

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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