Cayetano Brulé

Created by Roberto Ampuero

Havana-born CAYETANO BRULÉ and his family emigrated to Florida just before Castro took over, and he grew up on the streets of Miami, where he became an American citizen and was promptly drafted. He ducked Vietnam, though, and did his military service in Frankfurt.

In 1971 when he was in his early twenties and very much in love, he moved to Chile, just as Salvador Guillermo Allende Gossens assumed power.


Cayeteno is still there, working (when he absolutely has to) as a private eye (he learned his craft through a correspondence course) in Valparaiso.

He sports a thick Pancho Villa mustaches and glasses, is chubby and balding, but this slacker thinks of himself as a bit of a ladies’ man, a self-styled gourmet who’ll eat just about anything. He has a small white mutt named Hope and an assistant, Suzuki, of Japanese-Chilean descent, but all in all, he’d rather eat.

Aftet making his debut in ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann? (1993), Cayetano appeared in several more novels, all in Spanish, including El caso Neruda (2008), a sort of prequel to the series that travels back in time to the 1970s and has Cayento, then still a young pup, taking on his first case, urged on by none other than Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, one of the Chile’s (and the world’s) most beloved poets, to find a long-lost lover. The poet believes the young Cuban has “the right fingers for the piano of detective work” and, arming him with a stack of novels by Georges Somenon, sets him loose on the world as his “private Maigret” on what soon becomes a wandering daughter job.

The book offers a compelling look at Cayeano’s early years, as well as a riveting, sharply rendered look under the skin of Chilean society as it teeters from a struggling democracy towards a brutal dictatorship. It’s the first of the novels to be translated into English (as The Neruda Case).


A bestselling, award-winning author whose works have been translated around the world and one of the forces behind Scorpion Brigade, the first Chilean police TV series, Chilean born Ampuero, like his greatest creation, has been around — he has lived at various times in Germany, Cuba, Sweden and the United States, where he worked as a professor of creative writing and American literature at the University of Iowa, and last I heard was on leave to serve as the Chilean ambassador to Mexico.


  • ¿Quién mató a Cristián Kustermann? (1993).
  • Boleros en La Habana (1994)
  • El alem·n de Atacama (1996)
  • Cita en el Azul Profundo (2004)
  • El caso Neruda (2008)
    Translated as “The Neruda Case”Buy this book Buy the audiobook Kindle it!


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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