A Shortcut to Paradise
Bitter Lemon, Mar 1 2011, $14.95
In Barcelona, fifty something bestselling author Marina Dolc wins the Sixth Edition of the Golden Apples Fiction Award. After gracefully receiving the misshapen fruit with a bite taken out on a Thasos base prize, Marina returns to the Ritz Hotel where she always stays. A late visitor arrives who she welcomes in her room though Marina is tired. The visitor picks up the statue and hammers her in the head with it. Her assassin leaves her dead with her prize next to her; a climax that comes from one of her novels.
The Catalan police realize the victim welcomed her killer into her room. They arrest author Amadeu Cabestany, who knew the deceased and came in second for the prize. Although they insist they are not detectives, but only consultants, the brothers Eduard Martinez and Borja Masdeu are hired to prove the prime suspect is innocent. Using the same tactics they applied to solving A Not So Perfect Crime and to their usual adultery case, the siblings bluff their way from one clue to another as they improvise the script while interviewing the pretentious ostentatious literati world.
The second bumbling Martinez-Masdeu satire lampoons the cast of characters who make up the literary world though ostensibly Barcelona, but could be London, Melbourne, Singapore, New York or Toronto as well. The amusing story line is fast-paced as the siblings trip over clues while exposing the greats and the wannabes as egomaniacs without substance. Although some of the translation loses the Spanish essence of the cast, fans will enjoy this nod to Peter Falk’s Colombo while endearingly mocking the hand that feeds Teresa Solana.