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American anthropologist Anna Merino arrives in the sleepy village of Cuamantla in rural Tlaxcala, Mexico to conduct her dissertation research only to find herself embroiled in a homicide and the theft of the village's most prized possession,The Real Cedula,a document from King Philip ll of Spain, dating back to 1551.
A Corpse for Cuamantla is set in the central Mexican state of Tlaxcala, Mexico's smallest and most densely populated state, 80 miles east of Mexico City. American anthropologist Anna Merino arrives in the rural village of Cuamantla to conduct her dissertation research only to find herself embroiled in a homicide and the theft of the village's most prized possession,The Real Cedula,a document from King Philip ll of Spain, dating back to 1551.
In the middle of Anna's first fiesta, the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, a school boy wanders into the school's rose garden and discovers the body of the murdered Pedro García, Director of Cuamantla's morning primary school. Everyone in the village knew Pedro was good at making enemies and now Anna finds herself in the sights of one of those enemies!
Part I. The First Death
Cuamantla was dressed to kill. The tiny rural village in central Mexico woke up early to prepare for the day's fiesta. The central plaza blazed with the patriotic colors of the Mexican flag. Food stalls dotted the square. Mariachis warmed up their instruments on the ornate bandstand and pyrotechnic arrays littered the village in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, a festival celebrating the Battle of Puebla where Mexican armies defeated their French invaders nearly a hundred and fifty years ago.
Across the plaza from the Church, banners of red and white carnations hung from the roof of the single story primary school, headquarters for the day's activities. The festooned building housed two separate but equal primary schools. Pedro García directed the morning school and Miguel Menéndez led the afternoon school. Pedro García, like the rest of the village of Cuamantla, woke up early on Cinco de Mayo. However, his mind was on everything but the fiesta.