”I’m not afraid of that old man,” Adela once told her niece. But everyone in the small town of La Curva, Nicaragua, knew that the wealthy land owner, Don Roque Ramirez, wanted Adela Rugama dead. And on Christmas Day, Adela disappeared. It was two months before her murdered body was found.
An American professor of Nicaraguan descent spending the summer in his parents’ homeland learns of Adela’s murder and vows to unravel the threads of the mystery. He begins the painstaking process of interviewing the townspeople, and it quickly becomes apparent that Adela a hard-working campesina who never learned to read and write and Don Roque had one thing in common: the beautiful Ixelia Cruz. The love of Adela’s life, Ixelia was one of Don Roque’s many possessions until Adela lured her away.
The interviews with Adela’s family, neighbors, and former lovers shed light on the circumstances of her death and reveal the lively community left reeling by her brutal murder, including: her older sister Mariela and her four children, who spent Christmas morning with their beloved aunt, excitedly unwrapping the gifts she brought them that fateful day; her neighbor and friend, Lizbeth Hodgson, the beautiful mulata who rejected Adela’s passionate advances early in their relationship; Padre Uriel, who did not welcome Adela to mass because she loved women (though he has no qualms about his lengthy affair with a married woman); her former lover Gloria, the town’s midwife, who is forever destined to beg her charges to name their newborn daughters Adela.
Through stories and gossip that expose jealousies, scandals, and misfortunes, Sirias lovingly portrays the community of La Curva, Nicaragua, in all its evil and goodness. The winner of the Chicano / Latino Literary Prize, this spellbinding novel captures the essence of a world rarely seen in American literature.