CHRISTMAS RISING by David Serafin

CHRISTMAS RISING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Serafin (Saturday of Glory) seems to have only one basic plot idea for Madrid's middle-aged Inspector Bernal: rightwing conspiracies to topple Spain's new government. Still, if one doesn't mind this lack of mystery or personal motivation, one can enjoy the atmospheric, convincing details of Bernal's sleuthing. Again, the conspiracy is a surprisingly un-secret one: coded messages have been appearing in a militaristic newspaper, with a scenario for actions against King Juan Carlos' royal residence--starting with a cutoff of electricity. So Bernal & Co. put a spy at the newspaper and investigate the palace attacks--which lead them to the bodies of two dead conspirators (one was a monk who tried to expose the plot) and to full knowledge of the church/military underground. But, though Bernal's son is briefly kidnapped, the resolution is a tame one: the King stands his ground in a strong speech; the coup fizzles. And the pleasures here are stolid and modest--like the mild comedy of Senora Bernal's obsessive religiosity or the sturdy, police-procedural legwork in assorted locales.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's