Mark Rothko’s Blue [photo: artsfuse.org]
Second in the Javier Falcón series set in Seville. Santa Clara is a wealthy neighbourhood where people stay inside their elegant air-conditioned homes and don’t mix much with their neighbours. Very un-Spanish. And then people start dying.
First, a husband and wife. Was it one murder and a suicide, or a double-murder? Falcón investigates only to find, living opposite the murdered couple, the wife of his last murder victim [in The Blind Man of Seville]. And this is how Robert Wilson neatly intertwines the back story from the first novel, bringing forward the things a new reader needs to know. Falcón has moved on since then, gone are the formal suits, now he wears a shirt and chinos and seems more relaxed, more at peace with himself. But this is a detective novel, and detectives are traditionally troubled souls so it is not long before the cracks appear.
The deaths keeping coming in the 40° heat, Falcón must deal with the impending marriage of his ex-wife plus the growing suspicion that all is not well at police headquarters. There are links to characters in the first book, dodgy characters, further crimes are hinted at. Will he be allowed to continue his investigation, or will higher powers decree his case unviable? And does Javier Falcón have the mental energy left to care?
An excellent follow-up to The Blind Man of Seville, click here for my review. I read this quicker than the first, I think because of the familiarity of the character. I understand now why the books were serialised on Sky Atlantic.
Click here to find out how this second book got its name, and why Robert Wilson originally wanted to call it The Vanished Hands.
Click here to watch Robert Wilson interviewed on The Murder Room. He talks about writing crime fiction, why people want to read about criminals, and why the crime novel he most admires is George V Higgins’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
‘The Silent and the Damned’ by Robert Wilson
February 27, 2013 was the date of my first blog about our Spanish valley. I have come a long way since then, I’ve shared 12 months in our valley, four seasons, and have made lots of blogging friends. So a very big THANK YOU to everyone who has read Notes on a Spanish Valley in its first year. I clearly remember my anticipation before hitting the ‘publish’ button, that very first time.My very first post was ‘A Gift of Lemons’, to read it click here
I also blog about my life as an author. Click here to read my thoughts on being a writer, how I write, my inspiration, books I love, writers I learn from. I review other people’s books too; because as well as writing every day, I am always reading.
5 to remember
el febrero - February
la fecha – date [day, not fruit]
doce – 12
mis amigos – my friends
el primer año – the first year
Dusk is a witchy time of day, light fading, greyness all around after winter rains. Where does blue end and grey begin? At what precise time does day end and night begin? Dusk, photographed on March 16th, 2013. 5 to remember
el anochecer – dusk
una bruja – a witch
lo gris – greyness [of the sky]
exacto/a – precise
empieza - it begins
… when we are in Spain, with a basic Acer laptop and a Malm desk from Ikea at Malaga. This morning the sky is grey though rain is not forecast until the weekend. So I will take the opportunity and spend the morning sitting outside on the terrace, wrapped up in a sweater and scarf and supplied with copious mugs of tea. I’m copy-editing the manuscript of Ignoring Gravity at the moment, ready for the launch of ‘Britain’s Next Bestseller’ on March 28. I enjoy copy-editing, that must be the journalist in me. We used to proofread our pages so much that by the time the magazine was published, we didn’t want to read it ever again. It is a truth that other people’s mistakes shine out of the page, but it’s impossible to see your own errors. So I’m pleased to have other people copy-editing it too. To read more about Ignoring Gravity, click here.
After reading for a couple of hours, I’ll take a break and give my eyes a rest. I find weeding is particularly mind-clearing and is often followed by a productive writing session. The room where I write here has two windows. The smallest looks out at a fig tree where early on a summer morning I may be lucky enough to see a shy golden oriole, but not yet for this wet chilly spring has deterred them. The leaves are not fully filling the trees, and that’s where the orioles prefer to hide. The larger sliding window admits onto a small terrace ringed by pots of herbs – mint, parsley, dill, chives, basil – and lots of red geraniums, and overhung by an enormous rose bush studded with red blooms. I still find it amazing that geraniums continue to flower here, all year.
The bookshelves throughout the house are piled with fiction – read and to-be read – plus gardening books, guide books about Spain, books about birds, wild flowers, insects, reptiles, Spanish history, Spanish novels, and my Spanish language text books and notebooks which I should re-read more often than I do.
To find out more about ‘Britain’s Next Bestseller’, and how you will be able to pre-order your copy of Ignoring Gravity on March 28, click here.
5 to remember
básico/a – basic
el portátil – laptop
el escritorio – the desk
la oportunidad - opportunity
un jersey – a sweater
Plan ‘green campaign’ started as soon as we moved into the house. Although the valley was green, we realised pretty quickly that a lot of this was down to self-seeding weeds and the problem was getting worse. So, we decided to clear and re-plant. The plan was most definitely not to create a garden, rather to re-plant with native shrubs which needed little upkeep and would survive the summer drought and winter cold.
Ambitious? Yes, of course, but now we are a few years down the line and the bare slopes and hours of back-breaking weeding is over, our reward is mature shrubs, evergreen throughout the winter. After planting a few mistakes, we settled on a core collection of shrubs which through trial and error we learned would survive. By far and away the most prominent of these was the oleander. The Spanish call it adelpha, Pablo in ‘campo speak’ calls it elfa.
We planted them everywhere: red, pink, and white. At a rough guess, we planted in excess of 150 plants.All over the slope in front of the terrace [below]. Some of these were transplanted when the builders constructed the terracing, and moved back in afterwards. On the right-hand side of the orchard steps [below].
In 2010, on a steep slope below the rockery path [below]. In 2012 [below], we planted a new line along the left-hand side of the orchard steps… … and more on the bottom level, after we’d cleared the builder rubble after completion of the terracing. 5 to remember
una campaña - a campaign
las escaleras – the steps
una línea – a line
la finalización – the completion
los escombros – rubble
I confess I don’t know the difference between moss and lichen. There are a lot of both in the valley, covering live trees and dead trees, gnarled and smooth bark. The mosses: dark green, brilliant green [below]…… the lichens: a delicate pale green like pistachio ice cream. Some of it grows on oak trees [below]… and some on olive trees [below]. The moss, I think is the darkest green… … and the lichen the palest [below]. It is all beautiful.
5 to remember
la madera – the timber
la corteza – the bark [of tree]
el musgo – the moss
el liquen – the lichen
la diferencia - the difference