Hey there, fellow armchair detectives and adventure seekers! Get ready to unravel a thrilling mystery in “Ausentes” by Edelweis Ritt. We’re about to embark on a journey to São José dos Ausentes, Brazil, where a curious discovery leads to an investigation that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Grab your magnifying glass and join us for a chat that’s as exciting as a cozy mystery under the South Brazilian sun!
Read the review of the book HERE.
MIli: The discovery of a skull in a creek seems to trigger a series of events in the protagonist Ana’s life.
Can you elaborate on how this event impacts her and sets the stage for the investigation into a murder, and what it reveals about her cyclothymic mind?
Edelweis: Ana was born into a humble family but in a safe environment, she went to university and had never
had contact with death. She was fascinated by the idea of a crime. São Jose dos Ausentes is a very
safe city and so a crime was totally unexpected.
Mili: The character of Rodrigo, a geologist who disappeared after evaluating rare earth mines, adds an
intriguing layer to the story. How does his disappearance tie into the central mystery, and what can
you tell us about the significance of rare earth mines in the plot?
Edelweis: Brazil has several rare earth mines and this material is very valuable. Rodrigo had a unique skill,
because few people specialize in these mines, which exist in only a few countries, the main ones
being China and Brazil. We know that crime and money often go hand in hand, so his disappearance
during the holidays raised the question of whether there was any connection between his work and
Mili: The book is described as a mystery set in South Brazil. Could you share more about the cultural elements and settings that make this story unique and provide readers with a glimpse into
contemporary South Brazilian life?
Edelweis: I used the term cozy in the sense that there is no blood or suspense, but more focus on the
psychology of the characters. This concept of cozy is fluid, but the regional part of Brazil is well
emphasized. Some people in Brazil thought I described too much, but I wanted to bring some of the
regional culture of the state of Rio Grande do Sul to other people, especially outside Brazil. Brazilian
culture is not well known outside of Brazil.
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Mili: It is mentioned that Ana investigates the murder with the assistance of her cousin, the town police
chief. What can you tell us about their dynamic and how their collaboration shapes the narrative?
Are there any challenges or conflicts they face during the investigation?
Edelweis: A book written in the first person that does not have access to the police facts makes it difficult to
investigate. The fact that Ana has a cousin in the police helps her learn the facts of the case. It’s very
common in small towns in Brazil for people to be related, so it’s believable. The biggest conflict here is about what a police officer in the family can or should tell a relative.
Mili: Was there a specific author who served as your inspiration to pursue a career in writing?
Edelweis: Agatha Christie for sure. I read all her books as a teenager. But I admire Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn
as well as local writers like Julio Cortazar or Gabriel Garcia Marques.
Mili: Could you recommend a book that you find endlessly re-readable?
Edelweis: I’ve often read constructed thrillers like Gone Girl and Sharp Objects. I often analyze plots to learn
how to create suspense.
Mili: What are your top three favorite books?
Edelweis: Kafka’s Castle, Gabriel Garcia Marques’ One Hundred Years of Solitude and Umberto Eco’s The Name
of the Rose.
Well, folks, we’ve reached the final chapter of our adventure through “Ausentes.” But don’t put away your detective hats just yet! This book is a treasure trove of suspense and cultural insights that you won’t want to miss. So, grab your copy, sip on some mate tea, and dive into the rich world of São José dos Ausentes.
Happy sleuthing and happy reading!