Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
A return visit from the Barcelona Two, the non-identical twin detectives Borja and Eduard, previously encountered in A Short Cut to Paradise and A Not So Perfect Crime. Solana’s Catalan tales are fables of the absurd as much as they are crime stories; in this one Solana herself is a character, hiring the hapless pair to do some research for her next novel (this one, presumably).
Having stepped out in previous stories to uncover the darker – or, in truth, more curious – sides of the art and literary worlds in Barcelona, this time the two set out to immerse themselves, on her behalf, in the Other Worlds of alternative therapies and quasi spirituality.
It doesn’t help the detective duo that, when she hires them, their own office has just been trashed, causing them to conduct the hiring interview in a borrowed flat, in which – just before she arrived – they have discovered a decomposing body which they choose to hide from their prospective client, though what can you hide from Solana when she’s the one who wrote the story? After a start like that, don’t expect a straightforward development.