Soho, Dec 2008, $25.00
In 1947 in Diva, Spain near Grenada, the villagers are stunned by the murder of beautiful vivacious graduate student Leila Mahfouz, who was writing her thesis on the impact of the Spanish Civil War on this village. Scottish-Spanish Sub-Inspector Max Romero, who serves as the police liaison to the large Muslim community, helps the local cops investigate the homicide since the prime suspect has ties to the Muslims.
However, politicians see an opportunity to seize more power since a Muslim is involved; more so when the prime suspect commits suicide. They launch a controversial inquiry into the "European Training Centre for Young Muslim Entrepreneurs". Romero also must cope with affluent influential antiterrorists who want the Muslim center closed and its leaders locked away using the Mahfouz murder as a conveniet excuse. He also believes the homicide is more likely tied to her research into mid 1930s Diva; perhaps even the death of poet Federico García Lorca over a decade ago.
This is not an easy read as there are so many subplots and threads that go in various directions, which eloquently but sprawling brings to life time and place. The fully developed characters also enhance the feelings that the reader is in 1947 in a small village in Spain comprehending life after WWII under the reign of the only surviving Fascist dictator. Fans who appreciate an interesting historical police procedural will want to read this engaging look at an official investigation during Franco’s reign.