A little more intrigue and a little less mystery in 1940 Spain.
Carlos Tejada (Death of a Nationalist, Feb. 2003) has been promoted to lieutenant in the Guardia Civil and sent to Salamanca, where his superior officer assigns him to overseeing the weekly report-in of parolees. When one of these disappears after no one, including his wife, brother-in-law, and job supervisor, has seen him for the past week, Tejada begins investigating and learns that the former professor, who with four others lost their academic posts when they protested the treatment of university rector Miguel de Unamuno, has been murdered. In doping out whodunit and why, Tejada collides with another mystery. Elena Fernandez, a schoolteacher to whom he was drawn in Madrid, is now visiting her family in Salamanca but illegally crossing borders to appear in Biarritz with an elderly German she tries to pass off as her father. Are the murder and the deception related? Tejada must put his safety on the line to get the trio back to Salamanca and untangle the grueling ordeal of a nationless German Jew and the vile manipulation of a patriot’s Swiss bank account.
Politics and wartime inquisitions notwithstanding, romance rules the day.