Why is Enrique Alvarez’s clearance rate the lowest in Majorca? Maybe it’s because the homicide rate is so stratospheric.
Things couldn’t be more idyllic for Inspector Alvarez. A new alcohol tax initiative has been defeated, the weather is warm for October and his nemesis, Superior Chief Salas, is on vacation. His satisfaction marks a sad contrast with the travails of Laura Ashton. First, her husband Charles has been drowned while the two of them were sailing his yacht, then a second body that washes ashore is identified as that of Colin Kerr, a mysterious visitor to the Son Dragó, the Ashtons’ villa. Worse, a postmortem exam indicates that Kerr didn’t drown but was poisoned by prussic acid. Solicitously reluctant to intrude on the grief of a new widow who’d served as her wealthy husband’s nurse before she married him, Alvarez (Murder, Majorcan Style, 2011, etc.) can’t help noticing that the grounds of Son Dragó are studded with almond trees whose fruit could easily have yielded the poison that killed Kerr. Questions abound. Why would an unattached visitor to the island have rented a marginal cottage for a month? What connected Charles Ashton to his downscale visitor? What are the terms of Ashton’s will, and why are both his servants and his wife so clearly uneasy about the disposition of his estate? When will Alvarez’s cousin Dolores stop nagging her husband and stick to cooking the ambrosial fare that keeps her extended family on an even keel?
Slight but charming as ever, with an unusually tart conclusion that insures that Alvarez’s well-earned reputation for incompetence will continue undimmed.