Month: March 2012

Premi L’H Confidential 2012

This year the L’H Confidential Prize was awarded to La llamada de un extraño (The Call of a Stranger) by Rafael Alcalde (Source: Blog La Bòbila).

Synopsis: The call of a stranger may surprise you. If this stranger seems to know more from you than yourself, you can become preoccupied. If the stranger calls you or your loved ones, you can become disturbed. If you can’t avoid his calls, you will despair. If the stranger is willing to reward you, you can get used to. If he decides to punish you, it will be too late to rectify, if ever you could have had the possibility to rectify. Pray for Lopez not to call you. (My free translation). Source: Roca editorial.

Semana Negra 2012 Will Be Held in Gijon

Gijón City Council has reached an agreement with the organization of  Semana Negra to celebrate the crime fiction festival this 2012. The 25th Semana Negra will be held in the grounds of Naval Gijón from 6 to 15 July. (Source: Conocer Asturias).

Forgotten Book: The Mystery of the Sintra Road (1870), by Eca de Queiroz and Ramalho Ortigão

The Mystery of the Sintra Road (original title: O Mistério da Estrada de Sintra) is considered the first detective story in Portuguese. The novel was written in 1870 by José Maria Eça de Queiroz in collaboration with Ramalho Ortigão and published first by instalments in ‘Diário de Notícias’, a Lisbon newspaper, between 24 and 27 September 1870. At the time many people believed it was a true story, as it happened in 1938 with the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles.

Two friends were kidnapped on the road to Sintra by three masked men and taken to a mysterious house. In the house there is a corpse. The usual questions arise: Who was he? How did he died? Was it a natural death or a murder? Who was the perpetrator or the instigator of the crime?

The two friends are the two narrators, Eça de Queiroz and Ramalho Ortigão, whose story was published in the form of letters to the editor recounting what happened to them.

CARTA AO EDITOR D’O Mysterio da Estrada de Cintra

“Ha quatorze annos, n’uma noite de verão no Passeio Publico, em frente de duas chavenas de café, penetrados pela tristeza da grande cidade que em torno de nós cabeceava de somno ao som de um soluçante pot-pourri dos Dois Foscaris, deliberámos reagir sobre nós mesmos e acordar tudo aquilo a berros, n’um romance tremendo, businado á baixa das alturas do Diario de Noticias.”

“Para esse fim, sem plano, sem methodo, sem escola, sem documentos, sem estylo, recolhidos á simples «torre de crystal da Imaginação», desfechámos a improvisar este livro, um em Leiria, outro em Lisboa, cada um de nós com com uma resma de papel, a sua alegria e a sua audacia.”

“Parece que Lisboa effectivamente despertou, pella sympathia ou pela curiosidade, pois que tendo lido na larga tiragem do Diario de Noticias o Mysterio da Estrada de Cintra, o comprou ainda n’uma edição em livro; e hoje manda-nos V. as provas de uma terceira edição, perguntando-nos o que pensamos da obra escripta n’esses velhos tempos, que recordamos com saudade…”

In 2007 O Mistério da Estrada de Sintra was made into a film.

At Fantastic Fiction you can see the bibliography of Eça de Queiroz available in English. El Crimen del Padre Amaro (2002), a film directed by Carlos Carrera is a free adaptation of another one of Eça de Queiroz books The Sin of Father Amaro aka The Crime of Father Amaro (1875).

Recently Added to My Priority List

Some books chase me, this is the case with Purge by Sofi Oksanen. The “novel about life on collective farms in Soviet Estonia” (as per her own summary), translated into more than twenty languages, tells a captivating tale of the difficult lives of two Estonian women of different generations in the twists and turns of history. Today, the Literary Saloon, at the complete review, brings a link to Transcript 39 Estonia devoted to Estonian literature HERE. You can also find a review of Purge by Maxine at her blog Petrona (in English) and by FAB at Golem – Memorias de lectura (in Spanish). Needless to say I’ve added this book to my Priority List. The Kindle version at Amazon.es is just € 3.46. Tempting, isn’t it?

For A Flavour of Scandinavian/Nordic Crime Fiction

During a conversation with Barry Forshaw, author of Death in a Cold Climate: A Guide to Scandinavian Crime Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) at The Rap Sheet, Ali Karim asks him: For readers who want to get a flavor of Scandinavian/Nordic crime fiction, but don’t have a lot of extra time, which five or so works would you recommend their reading?

And he goes for:

  • Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, aka Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1992), by Peter Høeg
  • The Laughing Policeman (1968), by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö
  • The Redbreast (2000), by Jo Nesbø
  • Firewall (1998), by Henning Mankell
  • Woman with Birthmark (1996), by Håkan Nesser
  • Jar City (2000), by Arnaldur Indriđason

You can read more at The Rap Sheet.

See also Maxine’s review at Petrona.