South American mysteries: Garcia-Marquez, Vargas Llosa, and Sabato: three great short novels


These three books will take you to Columbia, Peru, and Argentine. They’re all short enough for an afternoon’s read, great length for a three-to-five hour flight.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) is on my list of all-time favorites. A reporter visits a small town to interview locals as he writes the account of a preventable murder.

In Who Killed Palomino Molero a young airman is found murdered, and his superior officers are indifferent while the commanding officer stands in the way of the investigation. Published in 1986, it’s set in the ’50s.


Ernesto Sabato lived until within two months of his one hundredth birthday, dying in 2011. In The Tunnel (1946) the first-person narrator tells the story of a tragic obsession.


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