Ojos de agua (Water-Blue Eyes) – Domingo Villar


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).Ojos de agua

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.

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9 thoughts on “Ojos de agua (Water-Blue Eyes) – Domingo Villar

  1. >Me alegra mucho que te haya gustado. No hay ninguna persona a la que haya recomendado o regalado el libro que no se haya rendido, como dices, a sus personajes y su sentido del humor.(Mi nivel de inglés es suficiente para entenderte pero no para contestarte :))

  2. >I fully agree with both of you. I read it in Spanish and I was very satisfied to have purchased it and more later on when was published in Italian so that I could suggested it to my friends.Another book I suggested (when was published in Italian) was the one of Juan Manuel de Prada – La Tempestad, describing a mystery Venice and recalling a 1977 film with D. Sutherland and J Christie (title: A Venezia un dicembre rosso shocking) Book and film were not bound but same atmosphereas far away from the town turistic sidesWondering if someone of you either read the book or saw the film.

  3. >Oh, great review, Jose, and I am so much looking forward to reading this book. I have a copy…..Thank you for a lovely account, Jose. I think the title sounds much better in Spanish.The publisher, Arcadia, has some fantastic books on its current list, with novels by Gunnar Staalesen (Norway), Fuentes (Spain), Manotti (France), Davidsen (Denmark), and the guy whose name begins with M – Che Committed Suicide – (Greece) – what a collection. Superb!

  4. >Alice muchas gracias por tu comentario.Nela, I have not read the book neither I've seen the film. Will make a note out of it.Maxine I look forward to read your review and certainly Arcadia has a great selection.

  5. >The UK title of that film is Don't Look Now, based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier. A horribly chilling film – I saw it in the cinema years and years ago, and it still gives me the shivers. One of those rare films that is better than the book (though the book is just a short story, so the film makers had opportuntity to improvise). Director Nic (Nicolas) Roeg. (If you like the film, check out "Bad Timing" by the same director.)

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