Review: The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Orion, 1998. Paperback edition. Reissued 2009. First published in Great Britain in 1994 by Orion. 412 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4072-3491-5.

The Concrete Blonde is the third instalment in Michael Connelly’s book series featuring detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch of the LAPD. When the story begins, Bosch is being sued by the widow of Norman Church. About four year ago, Bosch shot and killed Mr. Church during the course of an investigation to identify and arrest a serial killer named the ‘Dollmaker’ by the media because he used makeup to paint the faces of his eleven victims. After his death, the police found evidence that Church was the serial killer. However, due to several procedural errors, Harry Bosch was suspended and, later on, demoted from the elite Robbery-Homicide squad (RHD) to the Hollywood Division. Church’s wife is being represented by civil rights attorney Honey Chandler who has the intention to demonstrate that Bosch acted in a reckless manner and is proposed to question the evidence that Church was the ‘Dollmaker’. To make matters worse for Bosch, someone has left a note in the front desk at the Hollywood station. The writer saying he’s the real ‘Dollmaker’ and that the body count continues. In other words, Bosch had killed the wrong guy.

With some delay, I still have the intention to read the Harry Bosch series according to its chronological order of publication. On this occasion it was the turn of The Concrete Blonde, a book that, in my opinion, exceeds the previous two. I particularly enjoyed how Connelly has intertwined the different plots that conform the story. This includes, at least, a courtroom drama, a police procedural and a thriller. With all these elements it is, therefore, difficult to classify. I found particularly interesting some of the clues that Connelly provides us for a better understanding of the judicial system in the United States.

Another strong point of Connelly that can be highlighted in this book is his ability to write dialogues and to introduce some elements of Bosch’s past that help us to better understand this character. I found also excellent the portrait of most of the characters that have a role to play in this book, among which it should be included as well the role played by the city of Los Angeles itself. I highly recommend it and I’m quite eager to start reading the next book in the series, The Last Coyote. Stay tuned.

My rating: A (I loved it)

The Concrete Blonde has been reviewed at Mysteries in Paradise (Kerrie),

The Harry Bosch Series, following its publishing order, is as follows: The Black Echo (1992), The Black Ice (1993), The Concrete Blonde (1994), The Last Coyote (1995), Trunk Music (1997), Angels Flight (1999), A Darkness More Than Night (2001), City Of Bones (2002), Lost Light (2003), The Narrows (2004), The Closers (2005), Echo Park (2006), The Overlook  (2007), The Brass Verdict (2008), Nine Dragons (2009), The Reversal (2010), The Fifth Witness (2011) (one page brief appearance), The Drop (2011), The Black Box (2012), The Gods of Guilt (2013)  (one page brief appearance) and The Burning Room (November 2014). (My reviews are available clicking on the book title)

The Orion Publishing Group

Grand Central Publishing

Michael Connelly Official Website 

La rubia de hormigón de Michael Connelly

Portada para: La rubia de hormigón

La rubia de hormigón es la tercera entrega de la serie de libros de Michael Connelly protagonizada por el detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch de la policía de Los Ángeles. Cuando la historia comienza, Bosch está siendo demandado por la viuda de Norman Church. Hace cosa de cuatro años, Bosch disparó y mató al Sr. Church durante el curso de una investigación para identificar y detener a un asesino en serie conocido como el “Fabricante de muñecas” por los medios de comunicación porque usaba maquillaje para pintar las caras de sus once víctimas. Después de su muerte, la policía encontró la prueba de que Church era el asesino en serie. Sin embargo, debido a varios errores de procedimiento, Harry Bosch fue suspendido y posteriormente degradado de una brigada de élite, la de Robos y Homicidios (RHD), a la División de Hollywood. La mujer de Church está siendo representada por la abogada especilaizada en derechos civiles Honey Chandler que tiene la intención de demostrar que Bosch actuó de forma imprudente, y se propone poner en duda la prueba de que Church era el “Fabricante de muñecas”. Para empeorar las cosas para Bosch, alguien ha dejado una nota en la recepción de la comisaría de Hollywood. El autor dice que él es el verdadero “Fabricante de Muñecas” y que el número de muertos continúa. En otras palabras, Bosch había matado al hombre equivocado.

Con algo de retraso, todavía tengo la intención de leer la serie de Harry Bosch siguiendo su orden cronológico de publicación. En esta ocasión le ha tocado el turno a La rubia de hormigón, un libro que, en mi opinión, es superior a los dos anteriores. Me gustó en particular cómo Connelly ha entrelazado las diferentes tramas que conforman la historia. Esto incluye, por lo menos, un drama judicial, un procedimiento policial y un thriller. Con todos estos elementos es, por lo tanto, difícil de clasificar. Me pareció particularmente interesante algunas de las pistas que Connelly nos ofrece para una mejor comprensión del sistema judicial de los Estados Unidos.

Otro punto fuerte de Connelly que puede ser destacado en este libro es su capacidad para escribir diálogos e introducir algunos elementos del pasado de Bosch que nos ayudan a entender mejor a este personaje. Encontré también excelente el retrato de la mayoría de los personajes que tienen un papel que desempeñar en este libro, entre los que debe incluirse también el papel que desempeña la propia ciudad de Los Angeles. Lo recomiendo encarecidamente y estoy muy ansioso por comenzar a leer el próximo libro de la serie, El último coyote. Permanezcan sintonízados.

Mi calificación : A (Me encantó)

La rubia de hormigón ha sido reseñada en Maite Uró, Elemental, querido blog, Viaje alrededor de una mesa y El consultorio del doctor, entre otros.    

La serie de Harry Bosch, siguiendo su orden de publicación, es el siguiente: El eco negro (1992), El hielo negro (1993), La rubia de hormigón (1994), El último coyote (1995), Pasaje al paraíso (1997), El vuelo del ángel (1999), Mas oscuro que la noche (2001), Ciudad de huesos (2002), Luz perdida (2003), Cauces de maldad (2004), Último recurso (2005), Echo Park (2006), El observatorio (2007), El veredicto (2008), Nueve dragones (2009), The Reversal (2010), The Fifth Witness (2011) (tiene una breve aparición), Cuesta abajo (2011), La caja negra (2012), The Gods of Guilt (2013) (tiene una breve aparición) y The Burning Room (noviembre de 2014). (Mis reseñas están disponibles al hacer clic sobre el título del libro en inglés)

Roca editorial

Paseando con Michael Connelly

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In Memory of Gabriel García Marquez with gratitude

In memory of Colombian writer and Nobel prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez who died at the age of 87 in Mexico City, last Thursday 17 April, 2014.

A grateful reader.

DSCN4498

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Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel directed by Wes Anderson

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a 2014 English-language comedy-drama film written and directed by Wes Anderson and inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. The film was released in Spain on 20 March 2014. The story revolves around the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The action involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

Begoña and I had the opportunity to see this film recently. I very much enjoyed it. Very entertaining and highly recommended. A great tribute to the author of The World of Yesterday, one of the books I have in highest esteem. (See here a great interview with Wes Anderson)

See film review at The Hollywood Reporter and at Mrs. Peabody Investigates

Official website

 

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Fritz Lang’s M: Watch the Restored Version of the Classic 1931 Film

M (Blu-ray)When Jean-Luc Godard asked the Austrian filmmaker Fritz Lang in 1961 to name his greatest film, the one most likely to last, Lang did not hesitate. “M,” he said. Read the rest of the article here.

The film premiered in 1931. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party took power in 1933, and banned the film the next year. It was then stored in a vault, where it stayed for many years. Audiences didn’t get the chance to see the film again until 1966. For its video release 30 years later, it underwent a restoration that included the addition of music and sound effects that wouldn’t have been authorized by Fritz Lang (he deliberately kept certain passages quiet) and the cutting of certain scenes. The image had also been altered to fit the 4:3 screen size. These injustices were amended in 2009 for the film’s Blue-ray release. (Source: IMDb)

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film’s copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. (Source: IMDb)

M (Masters of Cinema) DVD+Blu-ray

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Film Review: It Happened in Broad Daylight (1958) directed by Ladislao Vajda

El cebo (1958) PosterIt Happened in Broad Daylight originally titled Es geschah am hellichten Tag is a thriller directed by Ladislao Vadja, co-produced by West Germany, Switzerland and Spain and starring Heinz Rühmann, Michel Simon and Gert Fröbe. The original screenplay was written by Swiss playwright and novelist Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Friedrich Dürrenmatt wasn’t happy to see the detective proven successful at the end the story, and he wrote the novel Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman (The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel) from the previous film script. It was released in Madrid on 12 February 1959 under the title El cebo.

If truth be told, El cebo, the name by which I knew this film, struck me the first time I saw it. Probably because I was just ten or eleven years old. The Franco regime censorship considered this film suitable for all audiences. And it scared me to death. Afterwards, I should have seen it several times on television. Although I’ve only realised recently that the script was written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. 

The film, correctly, was shot in black and white, with an aesthetic taken from the German Expressionism. More precisely, it has reminded me a lot of M (1931) by Fritz Lang. Pity that the music in this film falls short in comparison with the quality set by M. And despite the fact that the ending of the film is not the one envisaged by Dürrenmatt, I consider it an acceptable film, and has some interesting points. It provides a documented picture of that time period and, probably, is one of the first films dealing with the theme of child abuse.  

In my view It’s not the masterpiece regarded by some film critics but, anyway, it’s a quite an interesting movie.

By the way I also managed to watch last night The Pledge (2001) directed by Sean Penn, but in my view, as a film is worthless. 

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The Pledge by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

University of Chicago Press, 2006. Translated by Joel Agee. Originally published as Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman, 1958. ISBN: 9780226174372. 172 pp.  

The PledgeThe story is based on an original screenplay written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Hans Jacoby and Ladislao Vajda for the 1958 film Es geschah am hellichten Tag (English title: It Happened in Broad Daylight aka El Cebo in Spanish), directed by Ladislao Vajda, and starring Heinz Rühmann and Gert Fröbe. As far as I know, Dürrenmatt developed the film script into a novel Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman (The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel), with a different ending; he considered that Es geschah am hellichten Tag did not have a realistic ending. In 2001 The Pledge was adapted to the big screen in a film directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson, this time reflecting the ending envisaged by Dürrenmatt.

The Pledge, a novella, is narrated primarily in first person. The author himself is inserted into the narrative as a lecturer on the art of writing detective stories, but the story is told by a certain Dr. H., a former chief of police in the canton of Zurich. It is also interesting to note that the original title is subtitled Requiem auf den Kriminalroman, this subtitle has disappeared from my English edition, probably due to the difficulties that can involve translating correctly Kriminalroman to English, as Dorothy James suggests in her blog My Place for Mystery.

The story, as narrated by Dr. H., takes place in the small town of Mägendorf in Switzerland and revolves around the murder of a little girl called Gritli Moser. A peddler named von Guten found her body among the bushes not far from the edge of the forest. Inspector Matthäi, the best man under his command, is called to investigate the crime. It just so happen that it was Matthäi’s last day at the department. Von Guten soon becomes the main suspect and finally he admits committing the crime. However Inspector Matthäi has his doubts as to the real identity of the murderer, knowingly that the confession was obtained after forty hours of interrogation. Following to his confession, Von Guten hangs himself in his cell. Meanwhile Matthäi leaves his position in the police to devote his time to find the real culprit and thus fulfil the promise he made to the parents of the murdered girl.

I cannot but recommend this novella not only to all crime fiction readers but to everyone in general. A small gem in my view. Given its length, it will only take but a few hours of your precious time, but it’s worth it. It took me two or three sittings even if I’m not a fast reader. It is paradoxical to write a detective novel, to announce the requiem for the detective novels, but the answer can be found reading this remarkable story. A masterpiece.

‘Real events can’t be resolved like a mathematical formula, for the simple reason that we never know all the necessary factors, just a few, an usually a rather insignificant few.’

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

The Pledge has been reviewed by The crime segments.. (NacyO), Mrs. Peabody Investigates, Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan (Bill), Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog (Keishon), My Place for Mystery (Dorothy James), What are you reading for..?

The University of Chicago Press Books   

La promesa de Friedrich Dürrenmatt 

Imagen del editor

La historia está basada en un guión original escrito por Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Hans Jacoby y Ladislao Vajda para la película de 1958, Es geschah am hellichten Tag (títulada en inglés: It Happened in Broad Daylight y conocida como El Cebo en español), dirigida por Ladislao Vajda, y protagonizada por Heinz Rühmann y Gert Fröbe. Por lo que yo sé, Dürrenmatt desarrolló el guión de la película en una novela Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman (La promesa: Réquiem por la novela policíaca), con un final diferente; consideraba que Es geschah am hellichten Tag no tenía un final realista. En el 2001 La promesa fue adaptada a la gran pantalla en una película dirigida por Sean Penn y protagonizada por Jack Nicholson, esta vez reflejando el final previsto por Dürrenmatt.

La promesa, una novela corta, está narrada principalmente en primera persona. El propio autor se introduce en la narración como un conferenciante sobre el arte de escribir historias de detectives, pero la historia la cuenta un tal Dr. H., antiguo jefe de la policía del cantón de Zurich. También es interesante destacar que el título original se subtitula Requiem auf den Kriminalroman, este subtítulo ha desaparecido de mi edición inglesa,  probablemente debido a las dificultades que puede implicar traducir correctamente Kriminalroman al inglés, como sugiere Dorothy James en su blog My Place for Mystery.

La historia, según lo narrado por el Dr. H., tiene lugar en la pequeña ciudad de Mägendorf en Suiza y gira en torno al asesinato de una niña llamada Gritli Moser. Un vendedor ambulante llamado von Guten encontró su cuerpo entre los arbustos no muy lejos de la orilla del bosque. El inspector Matthäi, el mejor hombre bajo su mando, acude a investigar el crimen. Se da la casualidad que era el último día de Matthäi en el departamento. Von Guten pronto se convierte en el principal sospechoso y, por último, admite haber cometido el crimen. Sin embargo el inspector Matthäi tiene sus dudas en cuanto a la verdadera identidad del asesino, a sabiendas de que la confesión fue obtenida después de cuarenta horas de interrogatorio. Después de su confesión Von Guten se ahorca en su celda. Mientras tanto Matthäi deja su puesto en la policía para dedicar su tiempo a encontrar al verdadero culpable y así cumplir la promesa que hizo a los padres de la chica asesinada.

No puedo dejar de recomendar esta novela no sólo a todos los lectores de novelas de crímenes y de misteriro, sino a todo el mundo en general. Una pequeña joya en mi opinión. Dada su extensión, sólo le llevará unas pocas horas de su valioso tiempo, pero vale la pena. Tardé dos o tres sentadas, aunque no soy un lector rápido. Resulta paradójico escribir una novela de detectives, para anunciar el réquiem por las novelas de detectives, pero la respuesta se puede encontrar leyendo este extraordinario relato. Una obra maestra.

“Los casos reales no puede solucionarse como una fórmula matemática, por la sencilla razón de que nunca conocemos todos los factores necesarios, sólo unos pocos, y por lo general unos pocos bastante irrelevantes.” (My free translation).

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

La promesa ha sido reseñado en Calibre 38 (Alexis Ravelo), Leer sin prisa (Atram).

Navona

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Review: Death Can’t Take a Joke by Anya Lipska

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

The Friday Project (An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd), 2014. Kindle Edition. 1202 KB. eISBN: 978-0-00-752441-9. 400 pages. ASIN: B00EN5JFBS.

Detective Constable Natalie Kershaw and Janusz Kiszka, a Polish immigrant who has settled in London, will find themselves once again in this second book by Anya Lipska Death Can’t Take a Joke. A title taken from a poem (On Death, without Exaggeration) by Polish author Wislawa Szymborska, Nobel Prize in 1996. The action takes place some years after the events narrated in the previous book Where the Devil Can’t Go. See my review here.

‘Kershaw was celebrating the last day of her secondment to Docklands nick: the stint in financial crime will look good on her CV, but after three month navigating the murky channels of international money laundering, she was gagging to get back to some proper police work. … In two days’ time she’d finally become what she’d first set her sights on at the age of fourteen – a detective on Murder Squad.‘

On her way to her work, on which was supposed to be her last day at Canary Wharf, Kershaw comes across with what may be a suicide case. The body of a man crashes over the hood of a black limo that was parked in front of an office building. The identification of the corpse is not easy, the man was not wearing  any ID card. The only clue is a Polish coin found at the scene. Moreover, nobody is missing at the building from which he supposedly jumped, not even among the visitors’ list.

Some eight hours later, Janusz Kiszka goes to meet his friend Jim Fulford for a drink but, contrary to his custom, Jim is delayed.

‘Jim owned a gym and fitness club off Hoe Street, and although his workout regime and armfuls of tattoos made him like a member of some neo-Nazi cell, he was in reality the gentlest man Janusz had ever know. He was besotted with his wife Marika – who he’d first laid eyes on at a Polish wedding Janusz had taken him to a decade ago.’

The following day, Janusz finds out that the day before Jim was stabbed outside his doorstep and, when reaching the hospital, he had already died. Janusz commits himself to discover who has been responsible. As the story unfolds, Natalie Kershaw travels to Poland and hires the services of Janusz Kiszka as interpreter during her voyage.

Death Can’t Take a Joke is the follow up of Where the Devil Can’t Go, Anya Lipska’s debut novel, a book I very much enjoyed. For this reason I was quite eager to read this one and, truth be told, I have not feel disappointed in the slightest. This is also an intelligent book, solidly structured and has a good pace. The different story lines have reminded me of a matryoshka doll. Each one fits inside the other until they finally converge in what happens to be only one story. The characters turn out to be credible and interesting. Anya Lipska has certainly proved that the success of her first book was not the result of chance, and that we are in the presence of a highly skilled writer which I hope will continue delighting us with her stories. Highly recommended.

My rating: A (I loved it) 

Death Can’t Take a Joke has been reviewed at Killing Time (Gareth), Raven Crime Reads, Shots crime & thriller ezine, Crime Fiction Lover, Amazon customer review (Simon Clarke), Paul D. Brazill (Read an excerpt), and at Euro Crime (Geoff Jones) 

The Friday Project

Anya Lipska Official Website

Anya Lipska: A tortured past brought to life in crime fiction 

La muerte no sabe encajar una broma, de Anya Lipska

La detective Natalie Kershaw y Janusz Kiska, un inmigrante polaco afincado en Londres, van a encontrarse nuevamente en este segundo libro de Anya Lipska La muerte no sabe encajar una broma. Título tomado de un poema (Sobre la muerte sin exagerar) de la autora polaca Wislawa Szymborska, Premio Nobel en 1996. La acción se desarrolla unos años después de los acontecimientos narrados en el libro anterior, A donde el diablo no puede ir. Ver mi reseña aquí.

“Kershaw estaba celebrando el que era su último día en la comisaría de los Docklands: su paso por delitos financieros se verá bien en su CV, pero después de tres meses navegando por los oscuros canales del blanqueo internacional de dinero, estaba deseando regresar a un trabajo policial propiamente dicho. … Dentro de dos días se convertirá finalmente en aquello en lo que habia puesto su mirada por primera vez a los catorce años de edad – una detective de la brigada de homicidios.”

Camino de su trabajo, en el que se supone que iba a ser su último día en Canary Wharf, Kershaw se cruza con lo que puede ser un caso de suicidio. El cuerpo de un hombre se estrella sobre el capó de una limusina negra que estaba estacionada frente a un edificio de oficinas. La identificación del cadáver no es fácil, el hombre no llevaba ningún documento de identidad. La única pista es una moneda polaca encontrada en el lugar. Por otra parte, no falta nadie en el edificio del que supuestamente saltó, ni siquiera entre la lista de los visitantes.

Unas ocho horas después, Janusz Kiszka acude a encontrarse con su amigo Jim Fulford para tomar una copa pero, contrariamente a su costumbre, Jim se retrasa.

“Jim era dueño de un gimnasio y club de fitness cerca de Hoe Street, y aunque su régimen de entrenamiento y sus brazos llenos de tatuajes le hacen parecer miembro de una banda neonazi, en realidad, era el hombre más amable que Janusz jamás había conocido. Estaba enamorado de su esposa Marika – a quien había visto por primera vez en una boda polaca a la que Janusz lo había llevado hace diez años.”

Al día siguiente, Janusz descubre que el día anterior Jim fue apuñalado frente a su puerta y, al llegar al hospital, ya había fallecido. Janusz se compromete a descubrir quién ha sido el responsable. Conforme se desarrolla la historia, Natalie Kershaw viaja a Polonia y contrata los servicios de Janusz Kiszka como intérprete durante su viaje.

La muerte no sabe encajar una broma es la continuación de A donde el diablo no puede ir, la primera novela de Anya Lipska , un libro que me gustó mucho. Por esta razón, yo estaba deseando leer éste y, a decir verdad, no me he sentirdo decepcionado en lo más mínimo. Este es también un libro inteligente, sólidamente estructurado y tiene un buen ritmo. Las diferentes tramas de la historia me han recordado a una muñeca matrioska. Cada una de ellas encaja dentro de la otra, hasta que finalmente convergen en lo que pasa a ser una única historia. Los personajes resultan creíbles y son interesantes. Anya Lipska ciertamente ha demostrado que el éxito de su primer libro no fue fruto de la casualidad, y que estamos en presencia de una escritora altamente cualificada que espero que nos siga deleitando con sus historias. Muy recomendable.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

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Barcelona Shadows (Original Title: La mala dona) by Marc Pastor

Marc Pastor (Barcelona, 1977) is a Spanish writer who holds a degree in Criminology and Criminal Policy. He works for the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force in the scientific squad, and is also the author of four novels, Montecristo (Proa, 2007), La mala dona (La Magrana, 2008), L’any de la plaga (La Magrana, 2010) and Bioko (Ara Llibres, 2013). He writes in Catalan.

La mala dona (Barcelona Shadows) is a novel based upon the recreation of real events that took place in Barcelona at the start of the 20th century in the Barri Xino, a tough red-light district in the city at that time. The reader gets a glimpse of dark and seedy corners of the neighbourhood through a fictional police investigation carried out by Inspectors Corvo and Malsano, in their pursuit of Enriqueta Martí, one of the most fearsome criminals in the city. Known as the ‘Vampiress of Ponent Street’, she abducts small children to either sell them to paedophiles or kill them, drink their blood and use their remains to make ointments for the rich. The novel combines intrigue, terror and police investigation from a unique perspective and creates a gothic atmosphere reminiscent of works by Edgar Allan Poe and Arthur Conan Doyle. Death is the omniscient narrative voice in this work that is part historical novel and part detective story. Well researched and carefully constructed, it displays great narrative agility combined with a strong cinematographic touch. (Information taken from Catalan literature online

Pushkin Press

RBA (in Spanish)

La Magrana (in Catalan)

Read some reviews of Barcelona Shadows at The Independent and The Telegraph.

Raven at Raven Crime Reads wrote about this book: I concede that this dark tale, populated by a cast of grotesques and infused with a visceral wit, may not be to everyone’s taste, but it really tapped into the dark imaginings of the human psyche. All in all, a clever, parodic novel that will appeal to those who actively search out something different within the crime genre and an entirely satisfying read at that.

I’m most grateful to Raven for bringing to my attention this book. Plan to read it shortly. Stay tuned.

La mala dona was awarded the first literary prize Crims de Tinta in 2008.

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Sant Jordi’s Day Barcelona

We are close to Book Day and one of the traditions in Barcelona is the Speech of Sant Jordi. Donna Leon will be in charge of reading the speech this year, and she will be the first woman to do so. Her last Commissario Brunetti book By Its Cover (William Heinemann, 2014) is already available in Spanish under the title Muerte entre líneas (Seix Barral, 2014) translated by Maia Figueroa Evans.


Synopsis: By Its Cover is the much anticipated twenty-third instalment in Donna Leon’s bestselling crime series, where Commissario Brunetti is better than ever as he addresses questions of worth and value alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra. When several valuable antiquarian books go missing from a prestigious library in the heart of Venice, Commissario Brunetti is immediately called to the scene. The staff suspect an American researcher has stolen them, but for Brunetti something doesn’t quite add up. Taking on the case, the Commissario begins to seek information about some of the library’s regulars, such as the ex-priest Franchini, a passionate reader of ancient Christian literature, and Contessa Morosini-Albani, the library’s chief donor, and comes to the conclusion that the thief could not have acted alone. However, when Franchini is found murdered in his home, the case takes a more sinister turn and soon Brunetti finds himself submerged in the dark secrets of the black market of antiquarian books. Alongside his ever-faithful team of Ispettore Vianello and Signorina Elettra, he delves into the pages of Franchini’s past and into the mind of a book thief in order to uncover the terrible truth. (From the publisher)
Sinopsis: Una tarde, el comisario Brunetti recibe la llamada desesperada del director de una biblioteca veneciana. Diversos libros antiguos de gran valor han desaparecido.  Los bibliotecarios sospechan del hombre que pidió consultar los volúmenes, un catedrático de la Universidad de Kansas. El único problema es que, después de comprobar sus credenciales, el profesor simplemente no existe. Brunetti empieza entonces a investigar entre los habituales de la biblioteca, y es así como conoce al exsacerdote Franchini, un lector apasionado de literatura cristiana antigua, o la condesa Morosini-Albani, una generosa mecenas. Cuando Franchini aparece asesinado, el caso toma un rumbo más siniestro y pronto Brunetti se encuentra sumergido en el sombrío mundo del mercado negro de libros antiguos. En Muerte entre líneas, Donna Leon se ha inspirado en uno de los mayores escándalos del comercio de libros de la Historia: el robo, real, de miles de libros antiguos de la biblioteca napolitana de Girolamini. (De la editorial)

Donna Leon webpage in Spanish

Donna Leon webpage in English

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Reseña: La luna de papel de Andrea Camilleri

This post is bilingual, scroll down to find the English language version

Ediciones Salamandra, 2007. Traducción de Maria Antonio Menini Pagés. Título original: La luna di carta, 2005. ISBN: 978-84-9838-119-1. 256 pág.

http://www.salamandra.info/pics/cubiertas/phpr8MfC3.jpg

La señora, o mejor dicho la señorita Michela Pardo acude al Comisario Montalbano para denunciar que su hermano Angelo ha desaparecido hace dos dias. Angelo tiene cuarenta y dos años, es soltero y vive solo, pero no pasa un día sin visitar a su madre que vive con ella. Durante un corto período de tiempo ejerció la medicina, pero fue expulsado del Colegio de Médicos como descubriremos más adelante. Ahora trabaja para varias compañías farmacéuticas como visitador médico. Montalbano se compromete a acompañar a Michela a casa de su hermano, esa misma tarde.

Simultáneamente nos enteramos de que varias personas de cierta relevancia social, incluyendo un ingeniero y un senador, han fallecido recientemente. Extraoficialmente se sabe que sus muertes ha estado relacionadas con el consumo de drogas. Y se sospecha que la cocaína que consumieron se encontraba en malas condiciones.

La visita a la casa de Angelo no tiene éxito al principio, sin embargo, hay una pequeña habitación cerrada en la azotea. Cuando Montalbano logra abrir la puerta, se encuentra el cuerpo sin vida de Angelo Pardo. El disparo que mató a Angelo también le arrancó la mitad de su rostro. Él tiene la bragueta de su pantalón abierta y su pene colgando por fuera.

Michela confiesa que su hermano tenía una amante, Elena Sclafani. Ella no lo mencionó antes, porque Elena es una mujer casada. Su marido es un profesor, mucho mayor que ella. Posteriormente Montalbano se enterará de que el marido de Elena es impotente.

Elena no tiene coartada para la noche del asesinato de Angelo y se convierte en la principal sospechosa. Más tarde, nos enteramos que Elena estaba con otro hombre esa misma noche.

Montalbano es incapaz de resistirse al encanto de estas dos mujeres, incluso si sospecha que ninguna de ellas está diciendo la verdad. Además, ha comenzado a darse cuenta de que el tiempo no pasa en vano y siente que está envejeciendo. Su memoria inmediata no es lo que era.

Entonces, recuerda que un día, cuando él era un niño, su padre le dijo en tono de broma que la luna estaba hecha de papel. Y, confiando en lo que dijo su padre, él le creyó durante algún tiempo. En este punto, Montalbano se da cuenta de que él ha creído a estas dos mujeres cuando le han dicho que la luna estaba hecha de papel.

La Luna de papel es la novena entrega de la serie de misterio protagonizada por el Comisario Montalbano y una de las pocas que tenía aún sin leer. Pensé que era una buena oportunidad leerla ahora que una nueva entrega de la serie se pondrá a la venta pronto en España, Juego de espejos (Salamandra, 2014). Para mi gusto, es siempre un placer leer estos libros y La luna de papel no es una excepción. No estoy seguro de que se trate de uno de sus mejores libros, pero estoy bastante seguro de que es una de las historias mejor elaboradas de la serie. Por esta razón es muy recomendable y estoy bastante convencido de que tanto sus lectores incondicionales como aquellos que se acercan a sus libros por primera vez se verán completamente recompensados​​.

Mi valoración: 4 (Me encantó)   

Andrea Camilleri nació en 1925 en Porto Empedocle, provincia de Agrigento, Sicilia. Su carrera como escritor comenzó en 1978. Su obra se puede dividir en dos grandes bloques: la novela histórica y la novela policíaca. Su primera novela policíaca, La forma dell’acqua (1994), coincide con el nacimiento de su personaje más conocido, el Commissario Salvo Montalbano. Desde entonces ha protagonizado más de veinte novelas: La forma dell’acqua (1994), Il cane di terracota (1996), Il ladro di merendine (1996), La voce del violino (1997), La gita a Tindari (2000), L’odore della notte (2001), Il giro di boa (2003), La pazienzia del ragno (2004), La luna di carta (2005), La vampa d’agosto (2006), Le ali della sfinge (2006), La pista di sabbia (2007), Il campo del vasaio (2008), L’età del dubbio (2008), La danza del gabbiano (2009), La caccia al tesoro (2010), Il sorriso di Angelica (2010), Il gioco degli specchi (2011), Una lama di luce (2012), Una voce di notte (2012) y la última publicada en Italia, Un covo di vipere (2013). Además ha publicado también varias colecciones de relatos como: Un mese con Montalbano (1998), Gli arancini di Montalbano (1999), La paura di Montalbano (2002), Storie di Montalbano (2002) y La prima indagine di Montalbano (2004).   

Ediciones Salamandra

Sellerio (It)

The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri

Mrs., or rather Miss Michela Pardo goes to Commissario Montalbano to report that his brother Angelo has gone missing for two days. Angelo is forty-two years old, he is single and lives alone, but not a day goes by without visiting his mother who lives with her. For a short period of time he practiced medicine, but was expelled from the College of Physicians as we will discover later on. Now he works for several pharmaceutical companies as health visitor. Montalbano agrees to accompany Michela to his brother’s house that afternoon.

Simultaneously we learned that several people of a certain social relevance, including an engineer and a senator, have recently passed away. Unofficially everyone knows that their deaths have been related to drug consumption. And it’s suspected that the cocaine they consumed was in poor conditions.

The visit to Angelo’s house has no success initially, however there is a small locked room on the rooftop. When Montalbano manages to open the door, he finds the lifeless body of Angelo Pardo. The shot that killed Angelo also ripped him out half of his face. He has opened the fly of his pants and his penis hanging out.

Michela confesses that his brother had a lover, Elena Sclafani. She didn’t mentioned it before because Elena is a married woman. Her husband is a teacher, much her senior. Later Montalbano will find out that Elena’s husband is impotent.

Elena has no alibi for the night of Angelo’s murder and becomes the prime suspect. Further on, we will find out that Elena was with another man that same night.

Montalbano is unable to resist the charm of these two women, even if he suspects that none of them is telling him the truth. Besides, he has begun to realise that time does not pass in vain and feels he is growing old. His immediate memory is not what it was.

Then, he remembers that one day, when he was a child, his father told him jokingly that the moon was made of paper. And, trusting what his father said, he believed him for  some time. At this point, Montalbano notices that he believed in the two women when they told him that the moon was made of paper.

The Paper Moon is the ninth instalment in the mystery series featuring Commissario Montalbano and one of the few that I had still unread. I thought it was a good opportunity to read it now that a new instalment in the series will soon be released in Spain, The Game of Mirrors (Salamandra , 2014). For my taste it’s always a pleasure to read these books and The Paper Moon is no exception. I’m not sure if it isn’t one of his best books, but I’m pretty sure that it’s one of the better crafted stories in the series. It is therefore highly recommended and I’m quite convinced that both his unconditional readers and those who approach at his books for the first time will be fully rewarded.

My rating: A (I loved it)

The Paper Moon has been reviewed at Euro Crime (Michelle Peckham), Euro Crime (Norman), Reviewing the evidence (Ayo Onatade) and at Petrona (Maxine).

Andrea Camilleri was born in 1925 in Porto Empedocle province of Agrigento, Sicily. His writing career began in 1978. His work can be divided into two main groups: the historical novels and the detective novels. His first crime book, La forma dell’acqua (1994 ), coincides with the birth of his most famous character, Il Commissario Salvo Montalbano. Since then he has been the main character in more than twenty novels: La forma dell’acqua (1994), Il cane di terracota (1996), Il ladro di merendine (1996), La voce del violino (1997), La gita a Tindari (2000), L’odore della notte (2001), Il giro di boa (2003), La pazienzia del ragno (2004), La luna di carta (2005), La vampa d’agosto (2006), Le ali della sfinge (2006), La pista di sabbia (2007), Il campo del vasaio (2008), L’età del dubbio (2008), La danza del gabbiano (2009), La caccia al tesoro (2010), Il sorriso di Angelica (2010), Il gioco degli specchi (2011), Una lama di luce (2012), Una voce di notte (2012) and the last published in Italy Un covo di vipere (2013). He has also published several collections of short stories including: Un mese con Montalbano (1998), Gli arancini di Montalbano (1999), La paura di Montalbano (2002), Storie di Montalbano (2002) y La prima indagine di Montalbano (2004).

Picador

Penguin.com (usa)

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