Monday, October 6, 2008

A Dead Man in Barcelona-Michael Pearce

A Dead Man in Barcelona
Michael Pearce
Soho, Dec 2008, $25.00
ISBN: 9781569475379

In 1910 riots broke out in Barcelona when reservist units refused to be deployed in Spanish Morocco. During the deadly confrontation that left many dead and more in jail, someone murders English businessman Sam Lockhart while he was locked in a prison.

Two years later Scotland Yard sends Special Branch Detective Sandor Seymour to Spain to investigate the homicide of the English citizen during “Tragic Week”. The background information is sketchy at best starting with why the Gibraltar based business man was in Barcelona and the lack of a motive makes it even more difficult. Still not understanding the terrain especially the local populace who have deep qualms about strangers and police, and needing to move around freely, Seymour hooks up with his girlfriend Chantale de Lissac, who is half-Arab and half-French. As they investigate, the case takes strange twists through a city still living in fear.

The latest “Dead Man in” pre-WWI thriller (see A DEAD MAN IN ISTANBUL, A DEAD MAN IN ATHENS and A DEAD MAN IN TANGIER) once again provides the audience a deep look at a new location, this time Barcelona just after riots devastated the city. The story line is action-packed and never slows down as Sandor conducts his investigation into the cold case homicide of the English citizen. Although the whodunit is clever and well written, as is the case in all of Michael Pearce’s tales (see also the Mamur Zapt Egyptian historical saga), the sense of time and place is outstanding.

Harriet Klausner