Rio de Janeiro, 1913. The Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic is murdered at the former home of the Marquesa de Santos, known as the House of Exchanges, a sophisticated brothel where secret meetings take place. Under the guise of a medical clinic, the brothel is run by a scientist obsessed with the study of female sexual fantasies. During the criminal investigation, a forensic expert who frequents the House comes face to face with a rogue from Cais do Porto possibly involved in the murder. The two begin a competition to figure out who is the greatest seducer.
Alberto Mussa was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1961. His father’s family originated from Lebanon and Palestine, and he explores Arab-Brazilian identity in his works. In addition to translating poetry and short stories, Mussa has written several novels about the history of Rio de Janeiro. He has won numerous awards, including the Premio Biblioteca Nacional for Queen Jinga’s Throne (1999) and the Casa de las Américas and APCA prizes for The Qaf’s Riddle (2004).