This is Spain



‘The Sound of One Hand killing’ by Teresa Solana

The shady, accident-prone private detective twins Eduard and Borja ‘Pep’ Masdeu are back.

“A glorious picture of an urbane and lubricious Hispanic lifestyle as the brothers gumshoe their way through Barcelona.” –Times Literary Supplement

First published in the Catalan language, this novel is the third in the Barcelona series featuring twin private detectives Eduard and Borja ‘Pep’ Masdeu. I hadn’t read either of the first two installments, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment in any way. From the start the plot moves along quickly, and there is an amusing angle in which the author herself turns up as a character. She’s writing a novel about “alternative therapies” and so requires the twins to do research in that field. Along the way the hapless duo stumble across murders and even kidnappings, and it rapidly transpires that they’ve made the situation worse through their interference, yet they somehow bungle their way into solving the mysteries. If Peter Sellers was still with us, he’d be the ideal candidate to play one (or perhaps both) of the characters in a film.

The most enjoyable thing for me in this book was the recognition of current society in Spain today – particularly the need for many trying to put a brave front on the daily struggle to stay above water. If you’re looking for a super-sleuth like Sherlock Holmes, or a cerebral detective like Inspector Morse, then frankly this is not the book for you. This is a story of two bumbling brothers who end up in wild predicaments that will shock and yet amuse you. More than once I burst out laughing at their naive yet mercenary attempts to retrieve a dire situation. Do the Barcelona scenes reflect the city accurately? Perhaps, but maybe it needs a resident there to give their opinion. It certainly rings true to life of a Spanish city generally. The only character who didn’t convince, I’m sad to say, was the British aristocrat Lord Ashtray (!) but even so I finished the book with the desire to read more on Eduard and Borja ‘Pep’ Masdeu from Teresa Solana.

My rating – 4 out of 5. An entertaining and exhilarating read to deflect one’s mind from more mundane matters.

This book is available from Offside.

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