The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt – Eduardo Mendoza

Mendoza, E. El misterio de la cripta embrujada. Editorial Seix Barral. Tercera edición: diciembre 1979. 184 p. ISBN: 84-322-1380-2.

The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt (Original title: El misterio de la cripta embrujada, 1979) is a hilarious novel that has its roots in the Spanish picaresque genre. It opens with the mysterious disappearance of several teenagers from the convent school of the Lazaristas Mothers of San Gervasio in Barcelona. The investigation is narrated by an unnamed inmate from a mental hospital who is forced to help the police in order to solve the case.

The action takes place within a few days in the spring of 1977, six years after the disappearance of the first girl in the school; it has a linear structure and nineteen chapters written in chronological order. In the first two we learned what has happened; chapters three to eighteen are devoted to the investigation and in the last chapter we arrived at the solution.

More information:

Eduardo Mendoza y los laberintos de la realidad por José F. Colmeiro (in Spanish)

Eduardo Mendoza

I’m glad that Karen in her excellent blog Euro Crime had just added a new author to Euro Crime database, Eduardo Mendoza. “Telegram Books appear to be translating Eduardo Mendoza’s trilogy about a detective in a mental asylum: The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt was published in October 2008 and the follow-up, The Olive Labyrinth, is scheduled for October 2011”.

Eduardo Mendoza (Barcelona, 1943) published his first novel, La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (The Truth about the Savolta Case) in 1975 and he was awarded with the Critic Prize the next year. His best know book is probably La ciudad de los prodigios (The City of Marvels, 1986), about the social and urban evolution of Barcelona between the Universal Expositions of 1888 and 1929.

El misterio de la cripta embrujada, 1979, (The Mystery of the Enchanted Crypt), El laberinto de las aceitunas, 1982, (The Olive Labyrinth) and La aventura del tocador de señoras, 2002, (The Adventure of the Powder Room) are deliberate parodies of the dectective genre. In this three books the main character, Ceferino, is an inmate in a mental hospital. From time to time he is released to help the police solve some cases.

P.S.: The main character is unnamed, as far as I know, and not Ceferino as wrongly stated.

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