Review: The Blackhouse by Peter May

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo.

Quercus, 2011. Paperback edition. ISBN: 978-1-84916-386-6. 502 pages.

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)

A murder has occurred in the remote Isle of Lewis off the coast of northern Scotland. The MO resembles the Leith Walk case which took place in Edinburgh a few month earlier. To assist in the investigation, Detective Fin Macleod, the investigating officer of the first murder, returns to his birthplace after eighteen years of absence. The second victim Angus Macritchie, a couple of years his senior, was from his home village. Macleod knew him from his school years. Angus together with his younger brother were the school bullies. Upon his arrival to the island, the story evolves in alternative chapters. Those that take place at present are narrated in the third person. Macleod’s childhood is narrated in the first person. The past events, as we can easily suspect, are closely linked to the murder.

I find it difficult to explain why I’ve liked this book that much. Perhaps for its excellent prose capable of transporting us to unknown and far away territories of singular beauty. Or it may be for making us feel other’s feelings like jealousy, envy or revenge. All this can be found in this book and much more, even a love story. The descriptions of life and landscape are outstanding and I’ve found fascinating the scenes related to the Guga Hunt. A book of a rare beauty that I’ve very much enjoyed.   

The Blackhouse was first published in French under the title L’Ile des chasseurs d’oiseaux at the end of 2009 after being turned down by all major British publishers, and won several prizes (Prix des Lecteurs at Le Havre’s Ancres Noires Festival in 2010, the French national literature award, and the 2011 Cezam Prix Littéraire Inter CE.) The Blackhouse is also the first book in a trilogy, and I’m looking forward to reading soon The Lewis Man, the second in the trilogy.

My rating: 5/5. 

The Blackhouse has been reviewed by Marilyn Stasio at The New York Times, Amanda C M Gillies at Euro Crime, Maxine at Petrona, at Shade Point, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, Sarah at Crime Pieces, Calum MacLeod at Shots Crime & Thriller Ezine, J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet, Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, Cathy at Kittling Books, lings, Danielle at A Work in Progress, among others.   

Peter May’s Homepage


Sterling Publishing 

Peter May speaks about “The Blackhouse”

The Guga Hunters of Ness


La isla de los cazadores de pájaros de Peter May

La isla de los cazadores de pájaros (Peter May)

Se ha cometido un asesinato en la remota Isla de Lewis frente a las costas del norte de Escocia. El modus operandi es similar al caso Leith Walk, que tuvo lugar en Edimburgo, hace algunos meses. Para ayudar en la investigación el detective Fin Macleod, el oficial encargado de investigar el primer asesinato, regresa a su ciudad natal tras dieciocho años de ausencia. La segunda víctima Angus Macritchie, un par de años mayor que él, era de su pueblo. Macleod lo conocía de sus años escolares. Angus, junto con su hermano menor eran los matones de la escuela. A su llegada a la isla, la historia se desarrolla en capítulos alternativos. Aquellos que tienen lugar en la actualidad están narrados en tercera persona. La infancia de Macleod esta narrada en primera persona. Los acontecimientos del pasado, como se puede sospechar con facilidad, están estrechamente vinculados con el asesinato.

Me resulta difícil explicar por qué me ha gustado tanto este libro. Tal vez sea por su excelente prosa capaz de transportarnos a territorios desconocidos y lejanos de singular belleza. O puede ser por hacernos sentir sentimientos ajenos, como celos, envidia o venganza. Todo esto se puede encontrar en este libro, y mucho más, incluso una historia de amor. Las descripciones de la vida y el paisaje son excepcionales y he encontrado fascinantes las escenas relacionadas con la caza de gugas (crias de albatros). Un libro de una rara belleza que he disfrutado mucho.

La isla de los cazadores de pájaros se publicó inicialmente en francés con el título L’Ile des chasseurs d’oiseaux al final de 2009 después de haber sido rechazado por las principales editoriales británicas y ganó varios premios (Prix des Lecteurs en el Festival Noires Ancres de Le Havre en 2010, el premio nacional francés de literatura y en el 2011 el Premio Cezam de literatura Inter CE.) La isla de los cazadores de pájaros es también el primer libro de una trilogía, y estoy deseando leer pronto El hombre sin pasado, el segundo en la trilogía.

Mi valoración: 5/5.

Reseña en castellano en Carmen y amig@s


Peter May (Página en español)

OT: La Granja de San Ildefonso Royal Palace

From Wikipedia: The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Spanish: Palacio Real de La Granja de San Ildefonso) is an 18th century palace in the small town of La Granja de San Ildefonso in the hills near Segovia, 80 km north of Madrid, central Spain, formerly the summer residence of the Kings of Spain since the reign of Philip V. The palace is in a restrained baroque style surrounded by extensive gardens in the French manner and sculptural fountains. It is now open to the public as a museum.

I took these pictures yesterday.






Semana Negra de Gijón 2013

The nominees in the various categories of awards at Semana Negra de Gijon (Gijon’s  Noir Week) can be found HERE.

The Festival will be held this year from the 5th to the 14th of July.

Asociación Cultural Semana Negra

Translated Crime Fiction (New Releases)

A friend of mine has asked me if I have any recommendation for next 23 April on crime fiction, published recently, translated into Spanish.

El hombre sin pasado (Peter May)


La salvación de una santa

I have not read any of this books yet, but they are all on my radar. I’m currently reading The Black House and will tackle The Lewis Man (Spanish title: El hombre sin pasado) soon. I’ll probably wait for the English translation of Larsson and Camilleri and have to decide whether I read Higashino books in order; The Devotion of Suspect X prior to Salvation of a Saint. Any suggestions?

You may click on the books for details.

Van Veeteren series by Håkan Nesser

This post was meant as a personal note, but it might be of interest to (casual or regular) readers of this blog

Following the publication in the UK of The Weeping Girl, 2013, I have put together the complete list of books in the series. Click on the book title for additional information. Please let me know if you find any errors or omissions. The action takes place in Maardam, a fictitious city in a made-up country that could be anywhere in northern Europe. It follows the murder cases investigated by Chief Inspector Van Veeteren – eventually the retired Chief Inspector – and his two crime squad protégés, Münster and Moreno.

Det grovmaskiga nätet, 1993; English translation: The Mind’s Eye, 2008 (Mind’s Eye, USA, 2008); Spanish translation: La tosca red, 2006.  

Borkmanns punkt, 1994; English translation: Borkmann’s Point, 2006

Återkomsten; 1995; English translation: The Return, 2007

Kvinna med födelsemärke, 1996; English translation: Woman with Birthmark, 2009; Spanish translation: La mujer del lunar, 2009

Kommissarien och tystnaden, 1997; English translation: The Inspector and Silence, 2010

Münsters fall, 1998; English translation: The Unlucky Lottery, 2011 (Münster’s Case, USA, 2012)

Carambole, 1999; English translation: Hour of the Wolf, 2012

Ewa Morenos fall, 2000; English translation: The Weeping Girl, 2013

Svalan, katten, rosen, döden, 2001; English translation: The Strangler’s Honeymoon, 2013

Fallet G, 2003. 

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