The Mongolian Conspiracy
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A gripping and hilarious 1960s Mexico City noir
Only a couple of days before the state visit of the President of the United States, Filiberto García ― an impeccably groomed "gun for hire," ex-Mexican revolutionary, and classic anti-hero ― is recruited by the Mexican police to discover how much truth there might be to KGB and FBI reports of a Chinese-Mongolian plot to assassinate the Soviet and American presidents during the unveiling of a statue.
García kills various bad guys as he searches for clues in the opium dens, curio shops, and Cantonese restaurants of Mexico City’s Chinatown ― clues that appear to point not to Mongolia, but to Cuba. Yet as the bodies pile up, he begins to find traces of slimy political dealings: are local gears grinding away in these machinations of an "international incident"? Pulsating behind the smokescreen of this classic noir are fierce curses, a shockingly innocent affair,smoldering dialog, and unforgettable riffs about the meaning of life, the Mexican Revolution, women, and the best gun to use for close-range killing.
that you were attacked confirms it. Are you hurt?” “No.” “Have you started investigating the Chinese?” “Yes.” “Was your attacker Chinese?” “No. Seems like he was one of us.” “Okay. Keep me informed, García. I guess tomorrow you’ll meet the people we discussed.” “Yes.” “Good night.” They both hung up at the same time. Fucking Rosendo del Valle! And all his goddamned secrecy. And now I’ve got to get rid of this stiff. Fucking stiff! The one in Juárez was a proper corpse. This one is just a
del Valle. Besides García’s investigation, we have doubled our surveillance on the borders, in hotels.” “The lives of two presidents are at stake, Colonel. I think we should arrest that Wang.” García spoke: “I think it’s better to leave him be and watch him. I don’t think he’s the one in charge, but he could lead us to the person who is.” “Your opinion, Colonel?” “García’s right. He’s already being watched, around the clock, without his knowledge.” Del Valle turned back to García. That
agree?” “Why don’t you have them watching the Cubans?” García’s voice was sharp. Laski stopped smiling. He looked concerned: “You are upset that we saw you with the girl, Filiberto. But it doesn’t matter. We are all men and we all know how these things are.” “I don’t like that kind of joke.” “I’m sorry, Filiberto, but it’s all part of the game. When you get involved in these international affairs, nothing is private. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.” Laski’s voice had also gotten hard.
cantina. First I got them drunk. There they were, slumped over on the floor, backs against the counter, their eyes wide open. The dead always have stupid expressions on their faces. And me pretending to be good old Filiberto. Listen, Marta, out there in San Andrés Tuxtle, I killed a man then fucked his wife, right there in the same room, I raped her. Must have been one of those reactions the Russian was talking about. Because now those things aren’t low-down shit, they’re reactions. The Russian
translation, Katherine Silver, with the kind help of Francisco Prieto, got in touch with the author’s offspring. Bernal’s youngest daughter, Cocol, offered insights into her father’s idiosyncratic use of certain terms and turns of phrase and also generously shared some family lore. New Directions asked if her stories could be added as an afterword to The Mongolian Conspiracy. Cocol agreed, “with the caveat that I am speaking from the myopic perspective of a fifteen-year-old, tinged by family