Someone just murdered the best paella chef in Valencia.
That would be Pep Roures, whose lifeless, badly mistreated body the cops are about to drag from the sea. Chief Inspector Max Cámara of the Spanish National Police watches the operation bleakly. Like most Spaniards, he takes the poetry of paella seriously and has visited La Mar, Roures’ restaurant, frequently enough to become a partisan. At first Cámara fears internecine warfare among the great paella chefs. As it turns out, however, their rivalry has less to do with the Roures homicide than the restaurant itself. Situated in El Cabanyal, once a working fishermen’s quarter, La Mar stands in the way of a huge redevelopment scheme generated in Valencia’s corridors of power. Was Roures’ murder simply a matter of his stubborn refusal to sell? As Cámara’s investigation deepens, he finds himself enmeshed in secrets, lies and long-smoldering animosities, all exacerbated by the impending visit of the pope. Meanwhile, a variety of more mundane matters clamor for his attention. He has no home, for instance. The entire block on which his flat was located has suddenly collapsed. And he has no lover. The girl in Madrid that he can’t get out of his mind apparently has far less trouble getting him out of hers.
Returning after a well-received debut (Or the Bull Kills You, 2011), CI Cámara remains a fresh and appealing protagonist whether in victory or defeat.