Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
The buzz is that the crime-writing market is about to be swept by French thriller writers, and with the inimitable Fred Vargas on the scene that could well be so. But how about Spain and its current contribution to modern thriller writing? Spain can boast Jason Webster’s outstanding Max Cámara novels and now another remarkable thriller writer in Antonio Hill, born and bred in Barcelona.
The Good Suicides is Hill’s second novel, set in his native B and starring Inspector Héctor Salgado. The first, The Summer of Dead Toys, published last year was well received and this is a very good follow-up. Salgado’s wife Ruth has disappeared, the police hunt has been unsuccessful and the case is now closed. Their son Guillermo silently grieves for her but Héctor is engrossed in another case that takes all his attention.
A woman has committed suicide by throwing herself under a metro train, and there seems nothing in her life that could have given her reason for this. The last message she received on her phone carried a sinister photo of a tree with three dogs hung from it. In another suicide case a man has murdered his wife and child and then killed himself. The two suicides have in common that they worked for Alemany Cosmetics, and Héctor focuses his investigation on unravelling its secrets. Ruth is not forgotten however, and Héctor’s sergeant, Leire Castro, who is on maternity leave, takes up the hunt without official permission.
I felt its pace was unnecessarily slowed by seeing too little of Héctor and too much of subsidiary characters and that the cliffhanger was irritating rather than appetite-whetting, but these are small factors set beside the overall readability of this well written novel. The Good Suicides is a worthy contribution to what I hope will be a long running career for Inspector Salgado.