What do you get when you combine pre-Castro Havana of the 1950’s, a missing American Naval officer, a sexy stewardess, kidnapping, President Truman, the mob and an American journalist who’s just sober enough to take on the adventure of his life?
A story that will seduce and captivate you like Havana itself. Strap yourself in, my friends, maracas, Mojitos, and the cha-cha-cha are calling your name. With a spin of the roulette wheel, it begins:
‘Sure, the tourists and sailors packed the Tropicana and Sans Souci nightclubs like rats on a sinking ship. They scrambled, eyes wide with desperation as they crowded the dance floor and gawked at the shows. They had finally found the one place on earth where they could experience pure joy. No worries here, it would seem. They were a world away from home, for God’s sake, in a place where the forbidden was put on display and offered up on a silver platter to those brave enough to partake. Why, I wondered, was it necessary to be in danger to experience pleasure? It would make sense that pleasure should have nothing to do with fear or danger, but the truth is they cannot exist without each other, and in no place was this more obvious and attainable then right now, right here in Havana.’ – Havana Mystery
Havana Mystery is more than a fictional novella; it is based on real events, and provides the full picture of Cuba in the 1950’s, depicting tourism, crime, and the heart-wrenching things Castro was beginning to do to the Cuban people. Now available in paperback from lulu.com.
Color postcards of Havana circa 1929, ‘Souvenir of Cuba’ postcard circa 1949, photo of Naval Officers and gal in club in Havana circa 1949. From collection of Kathleen Pfeiffer.
I came across your blog after being sent a link by my brother, who was searching for information about our late father, Frank Snodgrass.
That photo of “Naval Officers and gal” … the man bending over looks an awful lot like my father. I’ve read the fascinating letters from Joe McCoy, which reference a “Frank Snodgrass”. It’s a relatively uncommon surname and my dad was an officer in the US Navy, so I think it’s fair to assume they are one and the same.
It’s amazing to get an insight into my father’s life from 20 years before I was born.
Incidentally, my father told me a story about the torpedoes. They were testing heat-seeking torpedoes and had constructed a burning decoy boat as a target. They launched a torpedo and it went straight after the fiery target, circled it, and came right back towards them, hitting their own ship on its bow.
I wondered if you have a higher resolution scan of that image, so that I can properly discern whether or not it depicts my dad.
What a great story about the torpedo. I’ll have to check my dad’s letters and see if he mentions it. I don’t have a higher resolution scan of that image, but am emailing some more photos to Adrian which may be of your father. What an adventurer your father was! I’m so glad you all found me and my write-up.
Kathy, It’s been a delight to read your blog. Thank you.