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by Robert Wilson

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-15-100841-8
Publisher: Harcourt

Suicide is as baleful as homicide in this second case for Seville’s Chief Inspector Javier Falcón.

Apart from the swiftness and violence of their deaths, there might seem nothing untoward about the demise of Rafael Vega (poisoned with drain cleaner) and his wife Lucía (smothered). From the beginning, however, Falcón is skeptical of the murder/suicide story the scene suggests. The Vegas’ neighbors—an American architect and his sexy younger wife, a well-known actor whose son is doing time for kidnapping, and Consuelo Jiménez, who was abruptly widowed in The Blind Man of Seville (2003)—can give no reason why the wealthy builder would have killed his wife and himself, and forensic evidence suggests that they were both murdered. Though the suspects’ privileged enclave seems the perfect setting for a decorous whodunit, readers familiar with Wilson’s thrillers (The Big Killing, 2003, etc.) won’t be surprised by hints of something bigger and more ambitious, something that yokes a vicious ring of pedophiles, the Russian mafia, an American intelligence agency, a rash of further suicides and a cryptic reference to 9/11. But they’re bound to be impressed by the surgical sureness with which Wilson proceeds from a quiet double fatality to lay bare the secrets of every suspect and every public institution.

Wilson continues his bold inversion of the classic detective story, in which trifles conceal monstrous evil and every single character really is as guilty as he or she looks.