Ojos de agua. Domingo Villar. Debolsillo. 2009. 192 p. ISBN: 978-84-8346-495-3.
I’m most grateful to Alice at Mis Detectives Favorit@s. She recommended me this book for the European leg of Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge. I finally choose one by Alicia Giménez Bartlett instead but I was pretty sure that I was going to read Water-Blue Eyes following her advice very soon. Thanks Alice for your excellent suggestion.
Ojos de agua (2006), English title Water-Blue Eyes (2008), is Domingo Villar’s first novel. It was originally published in Gallego as Ollos de auga (2006) and translated into Spanish by the author. The action takes place in Vigo, Galicia where the body of a saxophonist is found tortured to death in his duplex at Toralla’s island. It is an unusually cruel murder. The body was tied by the wrists to the bed’s headboard bearing hideous burns across its midsection. Villar pays homage to Andrea Camilleri, The Terracotta Dog is found among the books in the bedside table of the victim.
The main characters in charge of this case are police inspector Leo Caldas and his assistant Rafael Estévez. Inspector Caldas is the son of a wine producer from whom Leo has developed a taste for local white wines and the excellent local seafood. Caldas also collaborates in a radio programme called “Patrol on the Air”. Rafael Estévez, a Saragossa native, is completely lost in Galicia where both the character of the people and their language are quite different. (The scene about the coke with ice is particularly funny).
The investigation will take them almost everywhere in Vigo, and when Caldas, following only his intuition, gets closer to untangle the case a couple of twists will keep our interest until the very end.
I have enjoyed very much reading this book. The plot is interesting but the characters are superb and it is written with a nice sense of humour. Domingo Villar is a very promising Spanish author. His second book in the series featuring the tandem Caldas-Estévez La playa de los ahogados (The Beach of the Drowned) was quite a success last year in Spain. I hope to read it soon.
Domingo Villar was born in 1971 and lives in Madrid. He is a radio food critic and frequent contributor to various periodicals and he has also written scripts for film and television. Water-blue Eyes won both the Brigada 21 Prize for best first crime novel as well as the Sintagma Prize.
There is an excellent review of Water-Blue Eyes by Glenn Harper at International Noir Fiction.