Writer Berzins announces latest mystery novel

Riga Blanca, the latest mystery novel by Latvian-Canadian writer and artist Ilze Berzins, is due to be released Nov. 28 by local publisher Albert Street Press of Ottawa.

The book is a follow-up to last year’s Riga Mortis, which introduced the characters of Vizma Gross and Arnie Dambergs, two Latvian expatriates who teamed up to solve a crime.

“The novel,” Berzins said, “jets the reader from legal Ottawa to the criminal underworld of present day Rīga and explores the relationship between expats, local Latvians and the Russian ‘minority.’” The central character is Valeria Atnikova, a prosecutor who counts on financier and philanthropist George Soros to send her to America, from where she vows never to return.

Also in the story is Ottawa attorney Andy Laci and his wife Paulette, as well as Gross and Dambergs.

Berzins credits the title to a character in the story.

“Andy’s French-Canadian wife imagines Rīga to be another Casablanca with noir little bars, shady louche ex-KGBs, sexy femme fatales,” she said. “Casablanca is also the film Paulette and Andy watch on the night of their wedding anniversaries and it has become their film—their film and ultimately their nemesis.”

Cost of the book will be USD 20 plus postage and will be available direct from Berzins, who may be contact by e-mail at ilzeberzins@hotmail.com.

Riga Blanca

Ilze Berzins’ latest novel is to be published Nov. 28.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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