by Maman Sanchez

4 stars

indexSent by his father to Madrid, on a mission to close a failing magazine, Librarte, a shy young Englishman, Atticus Craftsman has gone missing. A lazy and inept policeman, Inspector Manchego is charged with finding what has happened to the young man, whilst getting deeply involved with the all-female employees of Librarte, who all seem to have something to hide.
This is a wonderfully quirky, fresh and original comedy; a light and easy read. A story led by its characters, and what a wonderfully well-drawn, eccentric bunch they are: Beta, the literary spinster and leader of the group; Gabriela, whose marriage to her Argentinian is failing under her need to conceive; the apparently staid, married Maria with her five children, whose guilty secrets threaten everyone’s security; poor fat and getting fatter Asunción, whose husband has just dumped her and run away with an sir stewardess; and beautiful, unpredictable southern spitfire Solea, who is destined to play such an important role in the disappearance of Atticus Craftsman.
The English characters are not terribly believable and more than a little cliché – the Craftsmen man all appear to have been based on Jacob Rees-Mogg – but that doesn’t really matter very much. This is a comedy, a farce, a fantasy, and a very good and enjoyable one at that.