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Mexican author Élmer Mendoza
Mexican author Élmer Mendoza in Mexico City in 2013. Photo: Antonio Nava/Secretaria de Cultura/Wikimedia

Have you met El Zurdo Mendieta?

Mexican writer Élmer Mendoza, father of narco-literature and creator of Inspector Zurdo 'Lefty' Mendieta, returns with 'Ella entró por la ventana del baño.'

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Mexican writer Élmer Mendoza returns to his iconic character El Zurdo 'Lefty' Mendieta in Ella entró por la ventana del baño (Alfaguara, 2022), the sixth installment in the series of novels starring the seasoned Mexican detective.

In this new novel, El Zurdo Mendieta sets out to catch a heartless drug dealer, nicknamed El Siciliano, and accepts a parallel mission: to find the past love of an 86-year-old businessman who is about to die. 

Crime, passion and eroticism are the three basic components of this new adventure of the detective, where women play a decisive role.

"I give a lot of value to women, the women in my books are strong, necessary, indispensable. Heterosexual men are dependent on women; many men alter the course of their lives because of the presence of a woman, and in the case of Siciliano it brings a mark and those marks cannot be erased," said the Mexican author in a recent interview with EFE.

elmer mendoza

Professor of Literature at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa and member of the Mexican Academy of Language, Mendoza is considered a father in his country's noir literature and one of the greatest exponents of drug trafficking culture in Latin America.

"The crime novel in Latin America is basically a social novel. Latin America is a very wounded continent, with deep wounds, and the genre that registers it most carefully is the noir genre," said the author in another interview with Zenda libros.

Mendoza rose to fame with the publication of Balas de plata (published in English as Silver Bullets), a novel that won the 2007 Tusquets Prize and in which detective Edgar Mendieta appears for the first time. Lefty Mendieta — a Mexican police officer, not immune to the corruption that surrounds him, who also takes anxiolytics — is "an intuitive psychologist, as is every self-respecting detective: that's why he knows that murderers lack the aptitude for sadness" and is guided by the motto "the guilty find me," writes literary critic Ernesto Ayala-Dip in the newspaper El País.

silver bullets

The novelty of this sixth installment of El Zurdo is its strong eroticism.

"I really wanted to write a Lefty novel that had to do with eroticism. Eroticism is very powerful. I had to show the redhead, this character who is very strong, who has a lot of control over this businessman, Favela, who lets himself be swept away, falls in love with her and causes Lefty Mendieta, more than twenty years later, to retrace her steps to bring her back," added the author.

On the other hand, the veteran Mexican writer wanted to use this book to reflect on love and relationships in middle age: 

"When I was writing, I found three cases of divorced men who had searched for their first wife. After 30 years they tried to resume. I haven't asked people what they might know about this phenomenon, but it helped me to reinforce what I was working on," he said during an interview with EFE on Feb. 20. 

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