Once again, Kenneth Wishnia’s snarky detective is on the case, in the third book in his series starring Latina female detective Filomena. She’s a hardworking former detective turned PI, divorced mother of twelve-year-old Antonia, and in a relationship with a Jewish doctor named Stan. She is putting in her time working for a PI business, aiming to get her own license while trying to make ends meet in Queens. Filomena is a defender of minorities, unapologetic as she bashes racist civilians and rude police officers alike. When I interviewed Wishnia for this publication about his historical novel The Last Servant, he spoke to me in quietly measured tones. It’s surprisingly funny to read his depiction of this brash, trash-talking ambitious protagonist, who carries a weapon and curses like a banshee, only holding her tongue in her daughter’s presence. Filomena should be spending her work hours on “bread and butter” cases, but she repeatedly sympathizes with her own people’s problems. PI Buscarsela takes on a desperate immigrant mother’s pro-bono case searching for her missing day laborer son. She coaxes information out of his Spanish-speaking coworkers and follows clues, getting drawn further into complexities. Filomena must deal with layers of bureaucracy and misogyny in her chase for justice. This smart sassy mom’s exclamations while battling drivers on Long Island roads had me laughing out loud. Filomena’s worries about the world’s inequities and her actions to make things better make me wish she was a real live friend of mine.
- The Glass Factory: A Filomena Buscarsela Mystery by Kenneth Wishnia
- The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia
- The Mystery of the Milton Manuscript by Barry M. Libin