Lucha Corpi


Lucha Corpi (1945 – ) was born April 13, 1945 in Jaltipan, Veracruz, Mexico.  In 1975  earned a B.A. in comparative literature from UC-Berkeley, and in 1979 she earned a M.A. in comparative literature from San Francisco State University. Corpi prefers to be considered for a series of four poems called “The Marina Poems,” but she is in Lucha Corpithe first wave of feminist Chicana detective novelists. She married and moved with her husband to Berkeley, California, in 1964 at the time of the Free Speech Movement and the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the southwestern United States. This rebellious spirit has figured in most of her fiction.

In Corpi’s Eulogy for a Brown Angel (1992), Detective Gloria Damasco and her friend find a four-year-old boy dead during a Chicano Civil Rights march in Los Angeles in 1970. She returns to the case eighteen years later, employing a “dark gift” that allows her to dream and to see answers to problems. Cactus Blood (1995) is set in Delano during the farmworkers’ strike of 1973, and Black Widow’s Wardrobe (2000) delves into folklore.

Publishers Weekly wrote  of Cactus Blood that “Corpi writes convincingly about Gloria’s attempts to interpret her visions and does a fine job depicting decent people handling dangerous situations. But many moments of harking-back and a rash of coincidences slow the narrative.”

This trio of novels have come to be known as The Gloria Damasco Series. Fans then waited for Crimson Moon, 2004. which is a bit too full, combining the student movement at Berkeley, a serial rapist ingovernment, a militant Chicano group in Denver, and the Zapatista movement in Mexico. The most recent Corpi mystery is Death at Solstice, 2009, which won an International Latino Book Award for best mystery.

Corpi is a poet and author of children’s books.