Books by Sonia Soto

THE BOOK OF MURDER by Guillermo Martínez
Released: Sept. 22, 2008

"Martínez (The Oxford Murders, 2005, etc.) crafts a page-turner in which eminently believable obsession and paranoia drive dangerous behavior."
A writer becomes the reluctant arbiter in a real-life game of mortal combat. Read full book review >
THE WIND FROM THE EAST by Almudena Grandes
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

"Grandes's serenely composed, ponderous work celebrates the healing power of friendship. It's long-running, but ultimately satisfying."
A sinuous saga by Spanish novelist Grandes (The Ages of Lulu, 1994, etc.) pursues a tangle of apartment-house relationships in an Andalusian seaside town. Read full book review >
THE OXFORD MURDERS by Guillermo Martínez
Released: Oct. 17, 2005

"Soft-spoken, smart and satisfying."
An elegant, fashionable, award-winning novel mixes murder with modern mathematical theory. Read full book review >
THE ATHENIAN MURDERS by Jose Carlos Somoza
Released: June 1, 2001

"Though the plot's deliberate obscurities both intrigue and annoy, the rich, elegant writing will please all comers. Good thing, since mystery fans should be warned that Somoza is more interested in metaphysical questions and literary subtleties than traditional storytelling."
A footnote opens this playful postmodern mystery, set in ancient Greece and in the tortured mind of its fictional translator; that is, the first chapter heading carries a note in which said translator mentions a few of his dilemmas in reconstructing and translating the original Greek text, "The Cave of Ideas, written by Philotextus of Cheronnese." The translator's accelerating woes are revealed in lengthy footnotes to the text, which concerns the killing of a beautiful Athenian youth named Tramachus, a pupil of Plato's Academy. Venerable doctor Aschilos thinks the wounds suggest an attack by wolves, but questions remain (for one thing, the heart is missing). Fueled by his affection for Tramachus' mother Itys, abrasive old investigator Heracles Pontor takes the case, assisted by effete Academy teacher Diagoras and an owlish figure known only as the Decipherer. As Heracles plumbs some of the city's arcane cults, both carnal and intellectual, that translator struggles to combine what he has found of the original text with a recent, popular version by Montola, an inferior scholar he clearly envies. What does the translator's feud with his wife Helena have to do with the novel, and why is he incarcerated? The distinction between footnotes and the main text, between the fictional investigation and the "real" translation, becomes increasingly blurred, but a late appearance by Plato enlivens the proceedings considerably. Read full book review >
THE CLUB DUMAS by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

An intricate and very bookish mystery novel—set, in fact, in the rarefied world of book collecting and dealing—from the sophisticated Spanish author of The Flanders Panel (1994, not reviewed). The story begins with the hiring of professional "book- hunter" Lucas Corso by Boris Balkan, a translator and collector who seeks authentication of a handwritten manuscript chapter of Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers that has fortuitously, as they say, come into his possession. Traveling back and forth between Paris and Madrid, Corso matches wits with Liana Taillefer, whose husband's suicide was somehow connected with his ownership of the Delomelanicon, an illustrated medieval volume said to contain secret instructions for summoning the devil, and of which only two other copies are known to exist. Corso is soon involved in a byzantine international intrigue carried on by those who want, or have information about, the Dumas chapter and the infernal Delomelanicon, including: urbane and ruthless bookseller Varo Borja; an aged German baroness; a threatening man with a facial scar whom his quarry Corso bemusedly nicknames "Rochefort" (after Dumas); and a preternaturally self-possessed teenaged girl who says she's Irene Adler (this being the name of Sherlock Holmes's most infamous mystery woman). Perez-Reverte plaits all these teasing strands together with imperturbable skill, leaving the reader wondering until almost the final pages about the significance of his seductive title, and the allegation that Alexandre Dumas's narrative genius was the result of his pact with Satan. A lot happens in this novel, despite its constant recourse to prearranged meetings and extended conversations, and its enormity of detail about the nuts and bolts of book manufacture, publishing, searching, and dealing. Bibliophiles will love this witty and clever fabrication, though its very specialized content may place it just outside the range of the general reader. Read full book review >