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In 1923 in San Isidro, a suburb near Buenos Aires, Corto Maltese is investigating the disappearance of Louise Brookszowic implicated in “Warsavia”, a Polish organization that traffics prostitutes, whose objectives are explained by Corto’s friends, Fosforito. In truth, Corto’s decision to go to Argentina is fuelled by his desire to avenge Louise’s death (rather than search for her) and an attempt to track down and rescue her three year old daughter.
The central theme of the story, around which all the figures move is, however, that of the great Argentine landowners who possess huge flocks of sheep and control the nation’s entire wool industry. Pratt chooses the unyielding figure of señor Habban to represent this aspect of capitalism; the man is both extremely powerful but shady and can maneuver the police (inspector Estevez) and institutions at his will. In the end Corto Maltese manages to trace Louise’s daughter and bring her to safety but not without running considerable risks.
Unbeknown to Corto the girl is actually señor Habban’s young grand-daughter, the beautiful Paso Viola Farias, who saves him by managing to convince her grandfather to let Corto Maltese and the child go without harming them. In this story Corto meets Butch Cassidy, here in the employ of señor Habban, but actually famous at the time for being the head of the legendary “Wild Bunch”. Cassidy fled to Argentina after a life spent in shoot-outs and train robberies in the American West.
RECURRING CHARACTERS INTANGO: ESMERALDA, LOUISE BROOKSZOWYC
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