Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Death in Valencia-Jason Webster

A Death in Valencia

Jason Webster

Minotaur, Sep 18 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312581848

Someone murders highly regarded paella chef Pep Roures. As the cops pull Chef Pep’s battered body from the sea, Spanish National Police Chief Inspector Max Cámara is angry as he frequently dined at the victim’s La Mar restaurant on Valencia.

The autopsy proves that Chef Pep was stabbed in the kidney before drowning. Cámara looks initially at paella chef warfare, but quickly changes his mind when he finds a money angle. The deceased strongly opposed, as the last major hold-out, the city’s renovation plans in the El Cabanyal zone that included La Mar. Distractions like the Pope is coming and an abduction occur while Cámara suddenly is homeless when the entire block he lives on collapses.

The latest Valencia Spanish police procedural (see Or the Bull Kills You) is an enjoyable whodunit as the hero is a fabulous protagonist who to quote the Wide World of Sports tastes “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” The storyline is fast-paced and bleak as Cámara finds himself at odds with the city’s leaders at a time when he is overworked on the job and overwhelmed in his personal life with no home and a woman he wants (in Madrid) who seems to have moved on.

Harriet Klausner

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