New in Paperback

Among the new paperbacks in Spanish this month I will highlight and include in my TBR pile:

Karin Alvtegen, Engaño, English title: Betrayal, Original title: Svek (2003)

Andrea Camilleri, La luna de papel, English title: The Paper Moon, Original title: La Luna di Carta (2005)

Gianrico Carofiglio, Testigo involuntario, English title: Involuntary Witness, Original title: Testimone Inconsapevole (2002).


Cartelsamain Dorte has reminded me of Samhain or Samaín as it is called in Galicia. Samhain is a Gaelic festival held on October 31–November 1. The Irish name Samhain is derived from Old Irish and means roughly ‘summer’s end’. A harvest festival with ancient roots in Celtic polytheism, it was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and continued to be celebrated in late medieval times. Due to its date it became associated with the Christian festival All Saints’ Day, and greatly influenced modern celebration of Halloween. (From Wikipedia).

There is more information about Samhain or Samaín in Galicia in Wikipedia Spanish edition.

Samaín 2010 en Cedeira and for more information about Cedeira click HERE.

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Thanks to my participation in The Typically British Reading Challenge 2010 I finally got a chance to read Raven Black. It was sitting on my TBR shelves for quite some time, perhaps due to the perverse habit of reading ‘last in first out’, as it has been wisely coined by Bernadette.

The action takes place in the Shetland Islands. The early hours of New Year’s Day two sixteen year old girls, Sally and Catherine, make a visit to Magnus Tiat, a foolish old man who lives alone, just for fun. A few days after the body of one of the girls, Catherine Ross, is found lying in the snow at Ravenswick, probably strangled by her own scarf. The corpse was found by Fran Hunter, a single mother who has returned to live in the islands with her daughter Cassie. The investigation is first conducted by the local DI Jimmy Perez, until reinforcements from Inverness arrive. Then Roy Taylor, a DI who despite having the same rank as Perez has more experience takes charge. Everyone is convinced that Magnus Tait has killed the girl. They were both together in the bus from Lerwick the previous evening and Magnus had been a prime suspect in the disappearance of an eleven years old girl, Catriona Bruce, a while ago. But Catriona’s body was not found and Magnus was never charged. Both Taylor and Perez do not want to jump into conclusions. The evidence against Magnus is only circumstantial and their responsibility is to obtain a conviction, not just to bring a suspect in front of a judge. The investigation is centre then on the environment of the victim, her behaviour the days prior to her death, her relationship with her father and her schoolmates, particularly with her best friend Sally Henry. Possible ‘boyfriends’ like Robert Isbister and Jonathan Gale, and her relationship with her English teacher David Scott. The investigation takes an unexpected turn when the body of Catriona Bruce is discovered by Fran Hunter again and…..

What it looks first like a police procedural turns after into a psychological thriller. The events are told form multiple points of view, Magnus Tait, Sally Henry, Fran Hunter, Jimmy Perez…. The atmosphere of an enclosed community where everybody knows everybody is vividly captured. The plot is well structured and the reading runs smoothly. The reader’s attention is caught by the characters drawn and the sense of place. One can even feel the cold weather in which the action evolves. I have really enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to read White Nights, the next instalment in the series.

Raven Black (2006) won the first Crime Writers’ Association Duncan Lawrie Dagger. It is the first book in a series, The Shetland Quartet, followed by White Nights (2008), Red Bones (2009) and Blue Lightning (2010). This is also the first book by Ann Cleeves that I’ve read and I do not expect it to be the last one.

Read other reviews by Maxine at Euro Crime, Sunnie Gill at Euro Crime, Margaret at Books Please, Dorte at DJ’S Krimiblog, and It’s a Crime! (or a Mystery…) among others.

Raven Black at the author’s website and the publisher’s ( website.

Search inside this book HERE.

Ann Cleeves

Raven Black (2006)

Pan Books 2006

Number of pages: 392

ISBN. 978-0-330-4411-4-8

Black Shadow (Negra Sombra) by Rosalía de Castro

The original poem in Spanish (Galician) reads:

Cando penso que te fuches,
negra sombra que me asombras,
ó pé dos meus cabezales
tornas facéndome mofa.

Cando maxino que es ida,
no mesmo sol te me amostras,
i eres a estrela que brila,
i eres o vento que zoa.

Si cantan, es ti que cantas,
si choran, es ti que choras,
i es o marmurio do río
i es a noite i es a aurora.

En todo estás e ti es todo,
pra min i en min mesma moras,
nin me abandonarás nunca,
sombra que sempre me asombras.

It was written in 1880 (Follas Novas) by Rosalía de Castro

You can read here the English translation that I’ve found in the Internet:

When I think that you have parted,
Black shadow that overshades me,
At the foot of my head pillows
You return making fun of me.

When I fancy that you’ve gone,
From the very sun you taunt me
And you are the star that shines
And you are the wind that moans.

If there’s singing it’s you who sings,
If there’s weeping it’s you who weeps,
And you are the river’s rumour
And the night—and the dawn.

Everywhere you are in every thing,
For and within me you live
Nor will you ever leave me,
Shadow that always shades me.

Theme: The poem reflects Rosalía’s apprehension at the recurrence of sudden misfortune in her life.

Historical background: ‘Negra Sombra’ was probably written shortly after the death of two of her babies, twenty-month-old Adrian who died from a fall in November of 1876 and Valentina who was stillborn three months later (Marina Mayoral: ‘Biografía de Rosalía de Castro.’ Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes).

Musical adaptation: The Provincial Museum of Lugo holds the score of the musical adaptation of ‘Negra Sombra’; the sheet of music dates from 1890-1892. Its author was Juan Montes Capón (b. 1840, d. 1899) who composed twenty other pieces, among them another adaptation of a Rosalian poem, Doce Sono (Benigno Lázare: ‘La partitura de Negra Sombra.’ La Voz de Galicia. A Mariña. November 11, 2006).

This poem, ‘Negra Sombra,’ became one of the most emblematic Galician ballads ever when composer Xoán Montés Capón (b. 1840, d. 1899) fused it with an alalá written down in Cruz do Incio (Lugo). The musical arrangement had its debut in Havana’s Grand Theatre in 1892. The ballad is arguably one of the most beautiful and principal in the Galician repertoire; its lyrics so blend with the melody that it is no longer possible to conceive them apart.

Taken from: http://www.rosalia–de–

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