Gregory Mcdonald

Carioca Fletch

Gregory Mcdonald is the author of twenty-five books, including nine Fletch novels and three Flynn mysteries. He has twice won the Mystery Writers of America’s prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery Novel, and was the first author to win for both a novel and its sequel. He lives in Tennessee.

Books by Gregory Mcdonald


Fletch Won

Fletch, Too

Fletch and the Widow Bradley

Carioca Fletch

Confess, Fletch

Fletch’s Fortune

Fletch’s Moxie

Fletch and the Man Who

Son of Fletch

Fletch Reflected


The Buck Passes Flynn

Flynn’s In


Skylar in Yankeeland

Running Scared

The Brave


Who Took Toby Rinaldi? (Snatched)

Love Among the Mashed Potatoes (Dear M.E.)

Exits and Entrances

Merely Players

A World Too Wide

The Education of Gregory Mcdonald

(Souvenirs of a Blown World)

Dedicated with affection and admiration

to Gloria and Alfredo Machado, their family

and friends


Naturally the samba drums were beating, rhythms beside rhythms on top of rhythms beneath rhythms. Especially just before Carnival did this modern city of nine million people on the South Atlantic reverberate with the ever-quickening rhythms of the drums. From all sides, every minute, day and night, came the beating of the drums.

“You cannot understand the future of the world without first understanding Brazil.” That was the way the trim, forty-year-old Brazilian novelist Marilia Diniz spoke. Informative. Instinctual. Indicative. The umbrella over the cafe table on Avenida Atlantica shaded her eyes, leaving her mouth in the afternoon sunlight. She shrugged her thin shoulders. “Unfortunately, Brazil is beyond anyone’s understanding.”

Marilia sat across from Fletch in a light dress with only straps over her pale shoulders. Marilia Diniz was the rare carioca who never went to the beach.

Laura Soares, more appropriately dressed in shorts, sandals, a halter, more appropriately tanned golden brown, sat to Fletch’s right. Laura would always go to the beach.

Fletch was dressed in the uniform he had learned to be innocent, egalitarian: shorts and sneakers.

In front of Marilia and Laura were glasses of beer, chope. Fletch had the drink he liked best in all the world: guarana.

“Now that Fletch sees the Praia de Copacabana he will never go anywhere else,” Laura said. “Maybe I will never even be able to get him to come back to Bahia.”

“I’ll go back to Bahia anytime,” Fletch said. “If your father lets me.”

“He’ll embrace you. You know that.”

“I don’t know.”

“The first truth about Brazil,” Marilia said, “is its absolute tolerance.”

“Does Brazil tolerate intolerance?”

“I suppose so.” Marilia wrinkled her nose. “You see, you cannot understand.”

Across the avenida stretched the huge, dazzling Copacabana Beach, from the Morro do Leme to his left, to the peninsula separating Copacabana from the beaches of Arpoador, Ipanema and Leblon to his right.

On the beach, among the brightly colored umbrellas and blankets, were thousands of golden brown bodies,

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