Rosaura A Las Diez Summary

Marco Denevi

Rosaura A Las Diez

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Rosaura A Las Diez Summary

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Rosaura A Las Diez, or Rosaura at 10 O’Clock in English, is a 1955 Spanish-language mystery novel by Argentinian author Marco Denevi. It centers around a group of characters that live in a boarding house called La Madrilena, in Buenos Aires. It is owned by a woman named Mrs. Milagros, who lives there with three of her daughters, a painter named Camilo, and a young law student named David, among other characters. However, when one of the residents begins receiving letters from a mysterious woman named Rosaura, the entire boarding house gets pulled into the mystery. Exploring themes of love, mystery, crime, and the way people are intertwined, it was one of the most popular Argentinian novels of the era, and was adapted into a 1958 film directed by Mario Soffici.

The story opens as Inspector Julian Aguirre arrives at La Madrilena, to interview Mrs. Milagros, who owns the boarding house. A murder has been committed, and the Inspector is getting a detailed description of one of Mrs. Milagros’ boarders. Camilo Canegato is a painter who has lived at the boarding house for twelve years, and is known as a quiet man, beloved by all, and who is regarded as a member of the family by Mrs. Milagros and her daughters. Camilo has been involved in an odd but passionate romance with a mysterious woman named Rosa. He met her when he was approached by Rosa’s father to restore a portrait of his late wife. After that, every Wednesday at 10 o’clock, a perfumed letter arrived at the boarding house addressed to Camilo. Mrs. Milagros, her daughters, and fellow boarder Miss Eufrasia have made a sport of spying on the letters and finding ways to read them when Camilo is not around. The women view Camilo and Rosa’s relationship as their own personal soap opera. When one of the letters arrives without Camilo’s name on it, the women read it and discover details of the romance. When they approach Camilo about it, he explains the whole story, and Mrs. Milagros offers to help Camilo and Rosa get married. One evening, Rosa arrives at the boarding house unexpectedly. Everyone is excited to meet her, but Camilo reacts strangey. He doesn’t want to talk to her or be seen with her. Mrs. Milagros pushes for the two to get married, thinking Camilo is too afraid to do it himself. They get married, and La Madrilena hosts the wedding. After the party, Rosa and Camilo leave for their room. Later that night, another boarder, law student David Reguel, runs out of his room crying “He’s killed her!”.

The next part of the book shifts to David Reguel’s testimony to the inspector. He claims to have seen the murder coming. David has never liked Camilo, seeing him as a loose cannon always on the brink of losing his cool. Camilo is a smart man, but physically weak, and David thinks that’s the source of his anger. David, an educated man, has been observing Camilo for quite some time and has built up a collection of theories, all of which point to him being dangerous. He also says that he and Rosa talked, and Rosa told him that her real name is Marta Correga. After the wedding, David followed Camilo and Rosa back to the hotel and later saw Camilo leave the hotel alone. When he investigated the room, he found Rosa’s body: she had been strangled.

Next, the inspector interviews Camilo. Camilo tells the inspector that he has always had trouble differentiating between dreams and reality, and he has been medicated for this problem in the past. However, while staying at the boarding house, Mrs. Milagros convinced him that he didn’t need his medication anymore. In fact, there never was a Rosa, and he wrote the letters to himself. The entire romance was a lie, and when Rosa showed up at the boarding house, he didn’t know if she was real or not. He wanted to get rid of her, but didn’t know how to. The inspector also interviews Miss Eufrasia Morales, a retired schoolteacher. She says she was always skeptical of Camilo and Rosa’s romance, because she heard that Camilo can’t paint portraits from real life, he only paint over photographs. Thus, his story about her father and the painting had to be a lie. Eufrasia also says that the maid, Elsa, has been in love with Camilo for a long time and that there’s a hidden letter that Rosa didn’t want anyone to know about. Finally, Elsa, the maid, produces the letter written by Rosa – aka Marta Correga. The letter explains the crime, revealing that Marta was a prostitute and was killed by her employer Turco, for refusing to go along with his plan. Camilo is cleared, saved by a woman who loves him for who he is.

Marco Denevi was an Argentinian author, lawyer, and journalist. His debut novel, Rosaura a Las Diez, went on to to win the Kraft Award and remains his most well-known work. In 1987, he was inducted into the Argentine Academy of Letters. His popular novel Ceremonia Secreta was adapted into the 1968 film Secret Ceremony, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mia Farrow.