Death at Solstice: A Gloria Damasco Mystery
by Lucha Corpi
Published: 30 Sept 2009
Chicana detective Gloria Damasco has a “dark gift,” an extrasensory prescience that underscores her investigations and compels her to solve numerous cases. This time, the recurring vision haunting her dreams contains two pairs of dark eyes watching her in the night, a phantom horse and rider, and the voice of a woman pleading for help. But most disquieting of all is Gloria’s sensation of being trapped underwater, unable to free herself, unable to breathe.
When Gloria is asked to help the owners of the Oro Blanco winery in California’s Shenandoah Valley, she finds herself on the road to the legendary Gold Country. And she can’t help but wonder if the ever-more persistent visions might foreshadow this new case that involves the theft of a family heirloom, a pair of antique diamond and emerald earrings rumored to have belonged to Mexico’s Empress Carlota.
Soon Gloria learns that there’s more to the case than stolen jewelry. Mysterious accidents, threatening anonymous notes, the disappearance of a woman believed to be a saint, and a ghost horse thought to have belonged to notorious bandit Joaquín Murrieta are some of the pieces Gloria struggles to fit together. A woman’s gruesome murder and the discovery of a group of young women from Mexico being held against their will in an abandoned house send Gloria on a fateful journey to a Witches’ Sabbath to find the final pieces of the puzzle before someone else is killed.
Corpi weaves the rich cultural history of California’s Gold Country with a suspenseful mystery in this latest installment in the Gloria Damasco Mystery series.
Finalist, ForeWord Review’s 2010 Book of the Year Awards
“In her fourth outing (after Black Widow’s Wardrobe), Chicana sleuth Gloria Damasco has no idea that the road to finding stolen jewelry in the wine country of California’s Shenandoah Valley will lead to murder, kidnapping, and great danger. VERDICT: Corpi has constructed a twisting story line that confounds her intelligent detective and the reader at every turn. This will please readers looking for a fast-paced tale with a Hispanic cultural background.”
“Gloria Damasco, Corpi’s Chicana detective, puts her clairvoyant powers to good use in her third case. Newly married, Gloria is enjoying life with husband Justin, who is also a partner in her detective agency. When Gloria’s sister-in-law calls and asks her to help a friend who owns a winery in the Gold Country, she reluctantly agrees. Upon arriving at the winery, she finds far more than the burglary of some heirloom jewelry. Her recurrent dream of dark eyes watching her, a phantom horse and rider, a woman pleading for help, and the sensation of being trapped underwater may well be linked to the strange happenings at the estate. Mysterious accidents, the disappearance of a woman who may be a saint, and a ghost horse supposedly belonging to Joaquin Murrieta, a notorious bandit, are only the beginning. This multilayered plot full of California history and Latin American lore will interest a wide variety of mystery readers.”
For LUCHA CORPI, art has always meant activism. As a woman, a Hispanic, an immigrant and a mother, she has always found herself breaking down barriers in both life and literature. Corpi was born in 1945 in Jáltipan, Veracruz, Mexico, a small tropical village on the Gulf of Mexico into a community that fostered creativity, performances and an appreciation for music, poetry and storytelling.
Corpi holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from UC-Berkley and an M.A. in World and Comparative Literature from San Francisco State University. A tenured teacher in the Oakland Public Schools Neighborhood Centers Program for 30 years, she retired in 2005.